Submitted by Betsy Church — Correspondent
Kayla Brianna is no stranger to fame. As the daughter of Kenny The Jet Smith, a TNT NBA/NCAA analyst and former UNC basketball star, she has grown up in the spotlight.
Now the spunky 18-year-old from Los Angeles is forging her own path in the entertainment industry as a recording artist. Her debut album is set to come out at the end of this year and will feature tracks that are a blend of R&B and pop. Kayla Brianna is spending her summer on tour as the opening act for boy band Mindless Behavior, and theyre rocking the Triangle Thursday. You can catch the show at the PNC Arena in Raleigh Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Heres a sneak peek in my seven questions with Kayla Brianna:
Q: How did you decide to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Its funny because I was so shy when I was little, but when I watched award shows and other singers I was so inspired by what they could do through performing. I realized that I really wanted to do it as a career when I was about 12. I went through a few girl groups at first to kind of get the hang of things and then eventually went into a solo career. I really love where I am right now. Its been amazing.
Q: To be on tour at age 18 must be so thrilling. What is it like to see your music videos all over the Internet and to be working on your own album?
Its crazy, just the fact that people know my songs and actually sing along night after night. Even after the concerts people are meeting me and saying how they really love the performances. I dont think Ill ever get used to it!
Q: Where has been your favorite place to perform so far?
I really enjoyed the first night on the tour in Virginia. It really set the stage for the whole tour and the audience was just going crazy. It was fun because they were kind of more my age and I felt like I could really let loose. It was like performing in front of friends.
Q: Youre in school at UCLA, right? What do you do when youre not performing?
Well now its summer break, but during the year when Im not performing Im doing schoolwork and then going to the studio. It means long days but I definitely am able to fit everything in. Im still just a normal teenager.
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge in being a young artist? What sets you apart from the others?
I think definitely just trying to prove yourself and make a mark in the industry is hard in itself for any artist, but when youre a new artist and so young you worry that people might not take you as seriously. But if you work hard so consistently and put the work in its going to show regardless. Ive done that and Ive gotten to see the results in this past week in the tour its been so great to finally see all my hard work paying off.
Q: Tell me about traveling with Mindless Behavior. How has the tour been?
Its been a lot of fun so far. Were still getting to know each other and Im the only girl on the tour. Theyre still four boys at the end of the day. Theyre still silly and crazy and want to play pranks.
Q: Your debut album is coming out this year. Is there a set date yet? What can fans expect from it?
Theres no set date yet but definitely by the end of this year. There will be a lot more music coming out at the end of the tour and I will be shooting a video after we are done touring for people to see a preview of the music. I call it transitional music because Im still growing up and figuring out who I am. There are songs about heartbreak, trying to fall in love and also just going out and having fun with friends. Its a little something for everyone.