Tonya Lewis-Taylor. a gifted teacher, singer, songwriter and award winning philanthropist. This multi-faceted woman of excellence sits as CEO of Forever Loved Entertainment, Inc. a music publicity/marketing firm, and as Co-founder and Executive Director of Entertainers 4 Education Alliance / I WILL GRADUATE Youth Development Program, a non-profit drop-out prevention organization. As a former celebrity publicist and marketing executive in the music industry for over 15 years, and as the head of a non-profit organization she co-founded with her husband, TLT is ready to start a new chapter in her life. "I have contributed to the careers of some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry and I have worked to keep our youth in school. It is my time to come from behind the scenes and share my musical gifts with the world,” exclaims TLT. Her time to shine has finally come with the release of her debut album, “Delayed But Not Denied.”
Recorded live in NYC’s famed MSR Studio, TLT’s Delayed But Not Denied is the story of her life. "I wanted to record this album 20 years ago, but family, work, fear, doubt and my insecurities delayed my musical journey.” The overarching testimony of the album speaks to a dream deferred but not forgotten, Tonya is an example that it’s never too late to rise up to touch one’s destiny.
Since the release of her debut album Tonya's single "Thank You" has soared to #15 on the Gospel Billboard Charts. She has been afforded opportunities that emerging artist rarely receive, most notably as the official opening act on the 32-city 2014 Festival of Praise Tour with Fred Hammond and Donnie McClurklin. She has been featured on TBN with Clifton Davis, and in concert on TBN’s 15th Street Live. Tonya has also appeared on Bobby Jones Gospel, ABC’s Here & Now, MSNBC’s Melissa Perry Show to name a few. Tonya Lewis Taylor is building a worldwide fan base, inspiring people who connect to the message in her music. In the last year, Tonya’s musical ministry has seen incredible growth and momentum, blazing up radio airwaves across the country and steadily rising up the Billboard Charts.
Born into a musical family, and the daughter of a Pastor, Tonya was singing by age 12 and directing the church choir’s community and college choirs. Even at that young age, Tonya was actively writing, directing and utilizing her musical gifts. Upon graduating college, Tonya pursued a professional music career where she toured and performed in over 45 countries around the world, singing backup for notables Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige, as well as performing in the off Broadway play Mama I Want to Sing.
After making some head way into the music industry, she was “burned out” from touring, but chance meeting with Bobby Dash would lead to a position working behind the scenes as a publicist at Roc-a-fella Records. "I found out that I had gift for organizing events and for public relations.” What was to be a short stint behind the scenes turned into a career, eventually to the formation of her own event publicity/marketing firm with a client rooster including Jay Z, Kanye West, Swizz Beats, Bow Wow, Russell Simmons, Jamie Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Lifebeat: The Music Industry Fights Aids, Universal Records, Bad Boy Records, and Sony Records.
In 2005, while attending a school visit she organized for one of her celebrity clients, TLT was horrified to learn that less than 50% students in New York did not graduate from high school. Along with her husband J.P. Taylor, Tonya formed Entertainers 4 Education Alliance Inc, summoning support from entertainment luminaries Russell Simmons, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Bow Wow, New York Knicks Legend John Starks, Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons, L. Londell McMillan (Celebrity Entertainment Attorney) Tyreese Gibson, Susan Taylor (Essence Magazine). Soon corporate sponsors including Verizon, Audi, Coca-Cola, Educate Online, Southpole and media conglomerates such as MTV, BET and Time Warner Cable started lending their brands to help the movement
Since that time TLT, and her organization have done tremendous work, from awarding grants to public school students to help pay for college, to founding afterschool programs, to hosting empowerment seminars and developing public service announcements. Entertainers 4 Education Alliance and the I WILL GRADUATE Program has given so many students the motivation and support to excel in school and beyond.
Tonya was awarded several accolades by New York City’s Mayor De Blasio, former Mayor Bloomberg, as well as from New York Governor’s Cuomo and Patterson. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former New York State Governor David Paterson issued official proclamations recognizing the outstanding service in which they declared I WILL GRADUATE DAY an official day of observance for both the city and state of New York. Tonya was named one of New York City’s Great People by New York Daily News and MSNBC’s Street Soldier. Tonya currently works closely with the Mayor’s office in NYC and was tapped by Mayor Bloomberg to sit on his '“Interagency Task force on Truancy and Chronic Absenteeism” whose mandate is to combat City of New York reduce its dropout rate. Tonya Lewis Taylor says “Entertainers 4 Education Alliance / I WILL GRADUATE Program is an extension of my calling as the Youth Pastor and Minister of Music at my church, First Step Ministry in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, where I oversee the spiritual and creative growth of the youth entrusted in my care.”
Tonya Lewis-Taylor is anointed to sing praise and worship, teaching others and inspiring their spiritual rejuvenation by merging spirituality with the practicality of everyday life. Her candid and revealing approach has engaged people across the country and beyond, inspiring them to pursue a lifestyle of success and excellence. Wherever Tonya Lewis-Taylor goes, she engages, encourages and empowers people to reach their full potential in their personal, entrepreneurial and spiritual lives. God has fueled this woman with tremendous passion to help heal broken people and build a character of fortitude in our youth. She is a worshiper that loves God and has answered his call to service in order to help them live the lives God envisions for them, in excellence.
Tonya Lewis-Taylor is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she earned a BS (cum laude) degree in Criminal Psychology. She resides in Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn with her husband Junior, and 4 children, Jamiah, Jaila, Jahna and Jaden.
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