Christian singer and rapper Stephen Thomas, whose stage name is Steve-O, is working on his third album and preparing for an upcoming performance on national television.
"I do this 24/7," the 19-year-old Charleston resident said of his musical career. "The grind doesn't stop. If I'm not doing anything, I'm thinking about how I can be a better minister and a better part of entertainment."
He said he loves what he does because music is his passion and he hopes to have a positive impact on youth.
Thomas will perform at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on Total Christian Television Network. To view the show on demand, go to www.tct.tv/demand.php, scroll down and click the "I'm Just Sayin' " icon. On DirecTV, it's channel 377. The show was taped in Chicago in October.
Thomas has spent the last four months on tour performing at venues in North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia and West Virginia. He has performed everywhere from churches and theaters to fashion shows and youth conferences.
"I'm hoping to hit arenas next year," he said. "I'd like to go big. I'm a dreamer."
Thomas grew up on Charleston's West Side and was one of three children born to Freda and Stephen Thomas, two of his biggest fans. In fact, his mother is his "road manager." Another manager, Corretta Allison, is based in California. His publicist, Bonita Bellamy, played a role in his upcoming appearance on national television.
For Thomas, it all began with his Christian upbringing.
"I grew up in a nondenominational church, and my mother raised me to be Bible based," he said.
He now attends All Nations Revival Center in Institute, where Pastor Frederick Hightower is his spiritual mentor along with elder Bruce Purnell.
He is quick to say he did not make it this far alone and rattles off a list of people who have offered advice and encouragement along the way. Among these is Jermaine Robinson, of Shackles Free Entertainment, who is a producer and "like a brother."
"I am grateful to all friends and family who have prayed for me and been there when I needed them," he said.