Here at The Mom Shopping Network we still take pride in showcasing and promoting moms, in business and other ventures, every chance we get. That's why I'm so excited and honored to share with you this interview with Mom Entrepreneur Turned Christian Artist Dea Viola! You'll find the entire interview below, enjoy and please leave any questions or comments for Dea below.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a Brazilian born, 50 year old, mother of 5, who loves God and my family so much! I am a Christian singer songwriter and I love music and I love people. I own a small home based business, The Baby Flamingo Co., which is an on line company that sells an award winning product “The Mama Taco Towel ™ “. In 2010 my company and product won the 15,000.00 Huggies® MomInspired ™ Grant Award. I also sit on the Board of Directors of Humanity Healing International, an organization that focus on providing sustainable and immediate solutions for communities who have little or have lost hope. I am the New Jersey Commander for the philanthropic Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and in 2013 I was awarded a Companionate of Merit Award Medal as well a President’s Call to Service Award from President Barack Obama and the Corporation for National and Community Service for doing global giving with Humanity Healing International.
How did you get started on this journey?
I have always been very spiritual and I think that all of my experiences in life have led me to this. All of my struggles and triumphs and also the fact that I have always been a performer and have been working with a classic and country rock band for 8 years. One day I was asked why was I not writing songs of praise. To be quite honest, I had never thought of doing so, simply because I was always so busy and I also didn’t feel like I had been “called” to do it. I didn’t know even where to start. To me I needed to be farther ahead spiritually, I guess? As it turns out I was in some way deepening my love for God and my relationship with Him each and every day, and after a whole year of prayer, it happened. I got up in the middle of the night and sang my first song. Yes, I sang it, I didn’t write it, it just came out. I walked to the piano and very primitively played the piano, I was shocked because I had never played the piano before.
When did you know you could sing (or that singing is what you wanted to do)?
I grew up around music and I started playing the guitar and writing music at a very young age. I moved to USA when I was 19 years old on scholarship with The Joffrey Ballet and later with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and later I started my singing training because I was then dancing professionally and I was going to a lot of auditions that sometimes had a part for someone who “moved well” but that also could sing well. So I started taking voice lessons just to have that skill under my belt.
What is the most exciting part about following your dream to pursue a singing career?
The most exciting is to simply know I am capable of great things, as well as being capable of being open for a plan that is not my own. I have big dreams but I am excited for what God has in store for me.
And the scariest?
There is no fear at this time, only a great connection with what I am doing at the moment, serving an amazing God with “My Sound of Praise” ( the name of my album). I feel a great sense of purpose with this. I love my life and this new direction and it is not an accident. I definitely feel I was “called” to do this.
What kind of support do you have in place from family and friends?
My husband is very supportive and so are my children, who all love music, and are encouraging me to continue on this journey and to not give up. My friends are awesome, I have so much encouragement and support from everyone who knows me! It has been a beautiful experience to share with those I know. They understand that it has a great spiritual meaning in my life and that it is part of my journey. And last but not least, the support of an amazing team of producers who are the translators of my vision, Joe Arminio from Arminio Studios and Tom Jacobson. Also Ryan Unis, our drum technician, John Bertone, our percussionist and my older son John Baab (from The John Baab Trio), who is the guitarist on many of the tracks.
If you could give other moms any advice about pursuing their dreams, what would it be?
Just to keep in mind that whatever the dream is for them, that by pursuing it, they are teaching their children and those around them to pursue theirs. I love the example I am giving my children, by choice and because I am living it! I also know how happy that makes them.
Have you had other experiences in your life that have helped prepare you for this one?
Oh yes, surprisingly it wasn’t an easy experience to go through but looking back “I Believe” it had all to do with where I am spiritually today. My life has been uneventful for the most part, and I mean that in a good way. I have always been very grateful and strong spiritually and emotionally, in spite of some challenges that I have gone thru in my life. But nothing prepared me for what happened one day, when my faith was truly put to the test.
Almost 10 years ago, when I was pregnant with my fourth child, I received bad news about my baby’s health thru an amniocentesis test result. Supposedly she was missing 17% of her X chromosomes and it was possible she was going to die during the pregnancy. And if she lived, possibly have many serious health issues or at the very least, not be able to ever conceive a child of her own. In the end and after so many struggles emotionally, I understood that I had been chosen to be her mom, to bring her into this world, and not change the outcome of her life here on Earth. You see, I had been adopted at the age of 5 months from an orphanage in Brazil, and gravely ill, and all because my mom could not have children of her own due to a hysterectomy in her early twenties. Somehow I felt it was time to pay it forward. What a great tribute to the woman to saved my life and life of my twin sister by adopting us together. We spent a month in the hospital after our adoption and if it had not been for her, we would have died. I thought if my daughter couldn’t conceive, she might adopt a child someday and save him/her with the same kind of unconditional love my sister and I were given. In the end, my baby was born %100 healthy and I was truly in awe of God although at the time while going to this difficult pregnancy, I thought He had forgotten all about me.
I wrote this story when my daughter was 2, she is now almost 10. Our journey has been featured in the OM Times Magazine (an e-zine) and in a book that was released in 2013 titled “Miracles and Moments of Grace – Inspiring Stories by Moms” by Nancy B. Kennedy. I was recently a special guest on Actress/Producer and Evangelist Lee Benton’s Victory Road Show from CBS Studios in California, where I shared my journey “out of faith” and “back into” God’s arms. I am now 100% certain that my pain had a purpose and I would love to share my story with others to inspire them to trust in Him. I prayed on my knees every day for a perfect baby, and I did not come close to whom my Giuliana Sofia is today. Science said one thing but God knew otherwise. In spite of my fears, I remained in God’s grace and surrendered to Him thru prayer. My life is forever changed and I love “my miracle” because it keeps bringing “moments of grace” into my life.
What's your number one goal for yourself right now?
My goal is to follow a path that is aligned with whom God created me to be. Without a specific description, because I think there are many things yet to be learned and discovered through Him.
I know you give back in a big way. Tell us a little about that.
I sponsor and manufacture the GLY (God Loves You) Feminine Cloth Pads to help keep young girls in school for the “Pads for Schoolgirls in Africa Project.” Working with Humanity Healing International has been an amazing gift and I am so honored to have been invited into their amazing team of sponsors and supporters. I created a tutorial video “how to make your own feminine cloth pads” to encourage others to learn to make them and to donate the pads if they were not able to make a monetary donation. We currently have over 52,000 views on You Tube! I also started working with young ladies in my surrounding communities teaching them how to make the pads, cutting fabric and helping them learn about this global issue. Hygiene in poverty stricken countries is a huge problem. Hygiene is a privilege when it should be a right to all.
What one thing would you like readers to take away from this interview?
That God’s timing is absolutely perfect. We may want things now and we can become disappointed when they don’t come to pass. But the truth is, down the road we may see that it was best His way. God protects us from the things that are not good for us and He gives us what we need at the right time. I am living proof of His divine grace and power. When I thought God had abandoned me , He was preparing me for something much greater than I imagined. Now I get to share His light with others with the gifts He has given me. What perfect love that is!
Where can we find you?
My new single “I Believe” already out on bandcamp, very soon will be available on all music platforms such as iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon and many more. Stay tuned for the second song release coming up this October! All announcements will be made on my social media pages listed below.
Be sure to connect with Mom Entrepreneur Turned Christian Artist Dea Viola on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also feel free to visit her websites The Baby Flamingo Co., Humanity Healing, and Christian Artist Dea (coming soon!).
A big thank you to Dea Viola! Please leave your comments for Dea below, and tell us what your dream is!