Dayna Steele: Find Your Inner Rock Star

Written by: Frank Iacono


Dayna Steele is a radio and television personality, Texas Radio Hall-of-Famer, book author, an entrepreneur, business speaker, media strategist, a blogger, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, a mother of three children, the wife of a longtime NASA pilot Charles Justiz, and she calls many of the world’s top rock stars her friends!

As one of the top Rock DJ’s in the country, Dayna learned a lot from her famous rock star friends. She learned that the best of them have what she calls “Rock Star Principles of Success” that propel them to the top of their craft and ensure that they remain there. In fact, she learned so much that she shared those principles in her first book entitled “Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success From The World’s Greatest Rock Stars”.

As a speaker, Dayna creates custom success strategies for student leaders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders across industries to help them build their stage for success. In fact, Readers’ Digest Magazine calls her “one of the 35 people who inspire us” and AOL says she is “one of the foremost experts on career networking”. Audiences consistently rate her as one of the best speakers they have ever seen.

As an entrepreneur, Dayna created the world’s most successful NASA space store and e-commerce operation, recorded hundreds of voice-overs for corporate clients and advised clients on their media, and established Smart Girls Rock and Operation National Anthem.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with Dayna Steele and asking her a few questions about what first got her into the radio business, her prestigious career as the “First Lady of Rock,” her keynote speaking engagements, her overall passion for success, and her three books.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: After graduating from John Foster Dulles High School you enrolled at Texas A&M University to study pre-med so what got you interested in a career in radio?

Dayna Steele: I graduated early from Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas at the young age of 16 and enrolled in Texas A&M University to study pre-med but soon realized it wasn’t for me so I changed my major to theater. On a dare from a disc jockey from Bryan, Texas, I tried out for the new student run radio station at Texas A&M University, KAMU-FM (90.9 FM), and thus began my radio career in 1977. After a few months, I moved to Top 40 WGAW in Bryan. Then in 1978, I left Texas A&M University early to pursue a career as a major market radio DJ. Over the next twenty-two years my name became synonymous with Houston radio.


TCS: During your illustrious career in radio, where you were best known as the “The First Lady of Rock ‘n Roll,” who was your favorite rock star and why?

DS: Sammy Hagar, for a myriad of reasons. He was always a great interview, funny, well-read, informed, he could talk about more than just himself, his show and his new CD. His manager became my go-to mentor early on and I learned so much about the business side of rock and roll. Both taught me much of what I use today in business – fulfilling the passions of the fans, continuing to learn and do my homework, networking and doing for others and, last but not least, always showing appreciation to everyone.


TCS: Where are some of the honors and awards that you received during your overall career?

DS: In 1988 I was named one of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts” by Talkers Magazine, in 1996 I was nominated as “Local Radio Personality of the Year” by Billboard Magazine, Readers’ Digest Magazine said I was one of the “35 People Who Inspire Us,” Successful Meetings Magazine called my presentations “A Pep Talk from the Deejay Booth,” and AOL Business described me as “One of the Foremost Experts on Career Networking.” These are all great honors and awards.

TCS: How thrilling was it to be inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame?

DS: In November of 2011, I was inducted into the prestigious Texas Radio Hall of Fame honoring the years of achievement I had while rocking out on Houston radio. It was truly a thrilling experience.


TCS: Give us an overview of your first book published in 2008 entitled Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars and tell us about how you got Gene Simmons, the co-founder of the legendary band KISS and your friend, to write the book’s Foreword?

DS: I spent years traveling the globe and interviewing countless bands and rock stars like Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, Bono, Billy Idol, and ZZ Top, …to name a few. From the great music and insights bestowed upon me by these rock legends were what inspired Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars. The book features great lessons and great stories. Minus a few I’ll never tell . . . or can’t remember. It was the ’80s after all!

As for Gene I love his reality show, and he’s really successful at what he does. So when I thought about doing this book, which combines business with rock and roll, I knew he had to do it.


TCS: When we met during the Vocus User Conference 2012 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland you spoke about four principles that every rock star in any business all share in common so for the benefit of The Creative Spotlight readers can you please elaborate on them by sharing some examples citing real-life rock stars?

DS: What I discovered being around some of the top rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, KISS, and Def Leppard, I noticed that the rock stars in any business share four Rock Star Principles of Success. It is so much more than talent than makes you a rock star in anything you do. You must have these four principles:

  1. Passion – You must have a true passion for what you are doing.
  2. Knowledge – You must strive to learn and educate yourself.
  3. Networking – you must build relationships. Relationships are everything. Listen and do things for others unconditionally.
  4. Appreciation – You must be gracious in everything that you do. Reward others for a job well-done.

TCS: What is the one message you want to convey to someone attending your public speaking engagements?

DS: Everyone and anyone can be a rock star at whatever you do in whatever industry. You just have to do the work it takes to be a rock star. And most people don’t want to do that. That’s why rock stars stand out.


TCS: Tell us about Dayna Steele’s Eleven Rules Of Business?

DS: My eleven rules of business are:

  1. Always let people know what you want or need, they can’t read minds.
  2. Failure is not the end, it’s a learning opportunity.
  3. Read everything you can get your hands on.
  4. Have a mentor.
  5. Google yourself or your product / company on a regular basis.
  6. Be able to say what you do in one compelling sentence.
  7. Return emails and calls promptly even if it’s just to say you are busy and will get back at a later date.
  8. Send handwritten thank you notes.
  9. You can’t spend it if you’re dead, take care of yourself.
  10. Give leads to others without expecting something in return.
  11. Whatever you do, do it because you love it, not for the money. The money will follow…

TCS: Tell us how someone can learn how to pitch their idea in just 10 seconds?

DS: Let him or her know what is in it for them, how you will do just that and what qualifies you. “A company with excellent customer service will succeed.” I show these companies how the world’s greatest rock stars do this after watching them up close for over twenty years.

TCS: Tell us about the concept behind your second book released in July 2012 entitled 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities For Success Every Day?

DS: Essentially, the search for success is similar to the quest for the elusive Holy Grail: many want it but don’t know where to find it, how to achieve it, or even where to start. In 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities For Success Every Day, I provide useful and motivating tips to help people get started on everyday success with simple everyday activities. Your success story begins with setting a strong foundation and creating a personal brand. You create or start both by habit, consistency, reliability, and creativity every day. Tips include such habits as waking up early, paying attention to the news, stretching, eating a good breakfast, dressing for the job you want, having a plan for the day, and picking one thing you want to accomplish each day. This inspiring and easy-to-follow guide provides the tools people need to become the success they envision.

To start changing your life…one tip at a time, please visit:

TCS: What is your website address and have you embraced Social Media to promote your business; your books, your appearances, and yourself?

DS: My website address is And, yes I’ve embraced all avenues of digital media in order to develop and shape my brand as well as promote the business, books, and speaking engagements.

To discover more, please visit the following:

Dayna Steele Website

TCS: In today’s highly competitive marketplace how important do you think Social Media is from a personal success perspective?

DS: If you are not using Social Media today, it is considered the new form of illiteracy. Seriously!

TCS: Nowadays what does an average workday for Dayna Steele consist of?

DS: An average workday consists of the following:

  • Write Success Tip
  • Give a Student a Computer
  • Work on Book
  • Speak
  • Play Golf
  • Cook
  • Drink Wine
  • Love Family
  • Fall Asleep
  • Start Over

TCS: Tell us about your latest book released in October 2013 entitled On the Golf Course: 101 Ways to Rock Your World?

DS: On the Golf Course: 101 Ways to Rock Your World, co-authored with PGA Pro Aram Hudson and Cathy Arroyo, offers great tips, quotes, and advice for golfers of all levels to improve their game immediately. The book is filled with humorous anecdotes, illustrations by Tim Griggs, and snappy narrative. It encourages future golfers, helps build confidence in new golfers, and reminds seasoned players that golf is, above all, a game-and a fun one!

TCS: In your career, you’ve been a radio host, entrepreneur, and a public speaker. So how did you find the transition to writing? Was it difficult to write?

DS: I am an anal-retentive list maker. So I started with a list of what stories I wanted to tell and what lessons I learned from those stories. Then I just set aside time each day to write. Some days, I couldn’t type fast enough. Other days, I just stared at the screen or organized my notes. Once it started to take shape, the excitement and desire grew.


TCS: Share with us some of the background details surrounding your give-back initiative called Smart Girls Rock that you created in 2002?

DS: It was originally started to encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Recently, I realized many high school students are giving up when they have to access technology at home – something many of us take for granted. And the lines are usually too long at the school library to wait to access a computer. A Google Chromebook is only $215 including tax and shipping. I literally know hundreds of people who can afford to donate one of these. In just the first two weeks, we had ten Chromebooks to give to students.

To learn more about the Smart Girls Rock initiative, please visit:

TCS: If you weren’t a radio and television personality, entrepreneur, business author, and keynote speaker, what would you most like to be?

DS: Golfer 🙂

Books by Dayna Steele


Why Should Your Company Hire Dayna Steele?

Rock and roll spans generations and industries, and Dayna Steele’s presentations resonate with any audience at any level. Dayna takes your desired objectives and combines them with her personal pictures and stories from the greatest rock stars in the world to provide the audience with lasting and entertaining takeaways that will help grow your businesses.

Dayna’s event topics include:

  • Branding
  • Business Communications
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Motivation
  • Networking
  • Social Media
  • Small Business
  • Performance
  • Inspiration
  • Great Achievers
  • Emcee/Host

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Nigel Bennett: Lead Rock Guitarist

Written by: Frank Iacono


The acclaimed London-based rock guitarist, Nigel Bennett is best known as a lead guitarist who recorded and toured with the UK punk bands The Members and The Vibrators. The self-taught guitarist has long been considered by music fans to be the best lead guitarist on the punk music circuit, both past and present. After 30 years of being a respected guitar player and sideman, Nigel stepped into center stage as a solo performer and front man.

In 2012, Nigel released his debut album entitled Truth or Consequences on Zip Records/Sony Red in North America, South America, and Europe. Truth or Consequences features 13 tracks that highlight Bennett’s appreciation for styles ranging from country-tinged melodies to hard rock instrumentals to reggae. The album, produced by Pat Collier (The Wonder Stuff, Katrina and the Waves), truly culminates his lifelong desire to create songs on his own terms.

Over the years, Nigel’s guitar virtuosity has caught the ear of many respected musicians, producers, and journalists. Recently, he was featured in Guitar Player magazine for his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” a radio-friendly, buzz-making track on Truth or Consequences.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with Nigel Bennett and asking him a few questions about what first got him into music, his musical inspirations, his career in The Members and The Vibrators, his debut solo release of Truth or Consequences, and his tour schedule.

Q&A Session

TCS: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and what was the first song you learned how to play?

Nigel Bennett: I suppose I was 12 when I decided that I wanted to be a musician for a living. I started playing guitar at age 7 and piano at age 3. However, I can’t remember the first song I played because I started playing so long ago.


TCS: Do you have a formal music education?

NB: No formal training. I taught myself.

TCS: How would you describe your current musical genre and overall sound?

NB: I’m a blues-band rock guitarist.

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and describe the impact they had on shaping your music style and song writing as well as your overall career?

NB: Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Pink Floyd. There are so many. I’ve always listened to music with good guitar playing and that’s influenced my work.


TCS: Has your approach to music changed since you’ve transitioned from a lead guitarist and side man in a band to being a solo performer and front man? If yes, please explain how?

NB: Yes. The main difference is that I now decide what I want to play.

TCS: What are your thoughts about the past, present, and future of punk music?

NB: It was significant at the time but it wasn’t long lived. As far as the future, for me it’s cabaret.

TCS: Describe for us the background to the hit single you wrote when you played lead guitar for The Members entitled “Radio”?

NB: I wrote it because I wanted a song to be played on the radio. I thought if the song was called “Radio” it would be. And it worked. It was a big surprise.

TCS: Speaking of the hit song “Radio” tells us about Duck Sauce?

NB: Duck Sauce, the crazy coupling of superstar DJs A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, released a single called “Radio Stereo” which samples the classic “Radio” song I wrote with The Members.

TCS: Tell us about your career as the touring and recording guitarist for The Vibrators and why you decided to leave in December 2012?

NB: It was fun being the touring and recording guitarist for The Vibrators. However, in December 2012 it was time for me to leave and focus on my solo career.


TCS: Which aspects of the album did you find most troublesome to put together and which were the least problematic?

NB: No aspects were troublesome or problematic. I had to record it very quickly because I was in between gigs with The Vibrators then. Some of the recordings were completed in one take, like “Both Sides Now,” which turned into a favorite on the CD.

It’s always hard work and fun at the same time. For me the best bit is playing the guitar.


TCS: How did you land on Truth or Consequences (Zip Records) as the title of your debut solo album?

NB: I was on tour with The Vibrators driving up a small highway in New Mexico and I saw an exit sign that said “Truth or Consequences” and I thought that would be a great title for my album. I haven’t been to the town of Truth or Consequences, but it’s on my list.

TCS: Tell us about the day you spent in New York City shooting your album cover followed by meeting some new friends in Haddonfield, New Jersey?

NB: The photographer was my dear friend, Brooke Ismach, and it was so much fun to work with her and my manager, Cheryl Squadrito of Media Friendly Public Relations, who helped with art direction. It was hot summer day in New York City and the backdrop was perfect. I love New York, who doesn’t?


Cheryl organized a party for me in her hometown of Haddonfield. I met so many great people and some press. I’ve been to Philly and New Jersey, and I hadn’t been to Haddonfield before. It has a great feel to it.

TCS: Tell us about your in-studio experience in working with producer Pat Collier on this album?

NB: Working with Pat is fantastic as we really understand each other. He was The Vibrators original bass player and then the producer for The Vibrators. He was the obvious choice because he’s a great guy and a great producer. We work really well together.

TCS: Can you share with us who did the video production for the song “Scarborough Fair”?

NB: A big thanks goes out to the five Temple University students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who storyboarded, photographed, edited, and produced the video for “Scarborough Fair.”

TCS: On the album you feature a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” so tell us how you put your unique take on the classic tune?

NB: I’ve never been familiar with her music, but I heard that song on the radio and it was great. In my mind, it’s pointless to cover a brilliant song the same way. You should interpret it and make it your own.

I thought, since she plays an acoustic guitar and has soft voice, I would do a powerful version with big chords like The Who. And that’s what I came up with.

TCS: Is there one song in particular of the 13 tracks off of Truth or Consequences that you’ve recorded that stands out above the rest from a musical and/or lyrical perspective that you felt really connected with you personally? And, did this song connect as you thought it would with your audience?

NB: Yes, the song “Melody.” I like that piece of music. It came out better than I thought. Listeners seem to really enjoy it, which makes it worthwhile.

TCS: How do you plan to market your new album, songs, merchandise, appearances, and etc.?

NB: I plan to market the new album, songs, merchandise, and appearances through the following avenues:

TCS: Share with us your experience in touring with Julian Lennon?

NB: We had some laughs and we still keep in touch. He’s great guy.


TCS: Can you describe the first time you stepped onstage to perform and tell us how does it compare to being on stage now?

NB: My first performance was playing the piano at a school recital at age 9. A lot has happened since then.

TCS: During your illustrious career you’ve been primarily a London-based performer. With that, how would you compare audiences in Europe to the audiences in the United States from a love of music perspective?

NB: I found audiences enthusiastic the world over. The Americans and the Germans particularly appreciate guitar playing.

Some of my favorite cities to visit are New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


TCS: Please share where fans of Nigel Bennett can go to learn more about you, your music, and your tour schedule?

NB: To learn more about me, my music, and upcoming tour information, I invite you to visit the following links or you can email Cheryl at

Additionally, I’m touring the UK and Europe with The Members now, so you can find the dates listed at:

TCS: What’s the most unusual venue that you’ve ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

NB: The most unusual place I played was the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona on tour with the Vibrators in 2012. The audience was into it.


TCS: Is there a particular venue that you’ve always wanted to play? And, what other entertainer and/or entertainers would you most like to have play alongside you on that stage?

NB: I’ve always wanted to play Madison Square Garden. I’ve always wanted to play with Wishbone Ash.

TCS: What specific advice would you give young artists wanting to become singers, songwriters, guitarists, and/or performers?

NB: Keep going no matter what. And they’ll be a lot of “what’s.” My motto to myself is to never give up!

Song List on Truth or Consequences (2012)


  1. Another Day
  2. Truth or Consequences
  3. In My Dreams
  4. Rubidoux
  5. The Edge
  6. Breezy
  7. Melody
  8. Both Sides Now
  9. Scarborough Fair
  10. Miss You
  11. Truth or Consequences, Pt. 2
  12. New Mexico
  13. In a Heartbeat

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.