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Exclusive Interview with Gary (With Da Tea) From The Rickey Smiley Morning Show

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So Monday, I was at Souper Salad and I ran across Gary Hayes AKA Gary “With Da Tea” from The Rickey Smiley Morning show which is like the top Urban Morning Show in America right now.

Gary is known for his celebrity gossip, his fondness of Beyonce Knowles and his fashion segment called the “Colour of the Day.” I was kind of hesitant about approaching him because he was on the phone and I didn’t want to seem star struck or whatever.

So after sitting down for a minute, I finally decided to approach him and we ended up having a cool conversation about his background, growing up in Port Arthur, TX and his time spent living in Houston.

Gary agreed to do an interview with me on Tuesday and here are the results.

How did you get started in radio?
I got started in radio by calling into The Russ Parr Morning Show when I first moved to Dallas around 1989-1990. I called the radio station one day, and Russ answered the phone and I started talking shi* to him. I can’t remember what I said, but it must have sparked an interest.

So was it one phone call or a series of phone calls?
Yes, It was a series of phone calls and I would go out and meet him during remotes. You know? I would go out to the remotes were he was at and just hang out with him. One thing led to another, and eventually I started working at the radio station as an associate producer.

Was radio something you always wanted to do or were you just having fun?
Well, I was just having fun then because I always wanted to be a movie star. The call-ins led to me working with Russ Parr, and eventually I landed a few movie roles once Russ started producing.

What movies were you in?
I was in ‘The Last Dance’ where I played the lover to Darrin Henson and I did a few other movies as well.

How did The Rickey Smiley Morning show happen for you?
When Russ left Steve Harvey came, and when Steve Harvey left I just transitioned to The Rickey Smiley Show. If you would have been listening to the radio show last Friday, you would of heard Steve talk about the story and the whole transition! Since you didn’t listen, I won’t elaborate on that I’ll just say it was a transition…

What were some challenges you were facing as you were trying to break into radio?
I didn’t have any challenges really, because being a radio personality was never really my goal. I was working in the medical field and radio was just a part-time thing, Kelland. It just happened.

What type of advice would you give someone trying to break into radio?
Do whatever you have to do to get in. I got in doing call-ins, but I worked in promotions, I was a phone operator and I use to drive up in down the highway in a cargo truck promoting the station. Don’t expect to make millions of dollars as soon as you get in, because it doesn’t work that way. Also it’s who you know and not what you know.

How does your alternative lifestyle affect the way you move in the entertainment industry?
You know, I talk about that Kelland but I don’t make it an issue. I don’t waive the flag. The thing that people have to realize is you that you have to be yourself. When I worked with Steve Harvey, he said the reason he hired me is because I was true to the game.

I get paid to be me. If you listen to the radio, I don’t bring up my sexuality but other people may bring it up just to be funny. I’m not gonna sit up and talk about the type of man I like. My thing is you have to be yourself, and if you respect yourself others will respect you. I’m not trying to hide who I am, but I’m not trying to put it out there like that. You have to be yourself, because the person you are trying to be is already taken.

What’s the most exciting part of what you do?
Really, it’s just the job itself. Getting up early in the morning and delivering the celebrity gossip is my passion. When I get a real juicy story, I can’t wait to get up in the morning and deliver it.

Does it take a while to develop the inside connection to get those stories?
It’s already out in the public. The thing about it is it’s not the story it’s the delivery. My delivery is different from everyone else. Most people deliver like a journalist, but I give it to people like they want to hear it.

What can we expect from you in the future?
Everything. The Sky is the Limit!