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Spring has arrived

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Marion County’s own Layla Spring achieves lifelong dream of competing on American Idol and she’s thirsty for more

By Emily LaForme

Layla Spring has become the talk of Kentucky as a popular contestant on American Idol, and a star in the making. 

But, who is she, really? 

And, how did she end up on the American Idol stage?

Layla and her family stopped by at The Lebanon Enterprise to open up about her journey from a young child singer who blossomed into the young woman gracing our television screens, her stint on American Idol, and what’s next for her. 

“I knew I could pursue my dream when I was seven years old because my mom started to help push me toward that direction,” said Layla. “For the longest time, she thought my younger sister Jaycee was the singer, but it was me. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and a singer, like a music teacher.” 

Layla, 16, grew up in Lebanon, and was raised by mom Chasity Wright with her sisters, Jaycee River, 14, and Dyxie Bay, 7. 

“Spring is my middle name. That’s something no one knows about me,” Layla said. “They think my name is fake and I made it up. I’m named after Tanya Tucker. Everyone thinks my name - all of our names - aren’t real. I just wanted to be Layla Spring. It’s my name and it’s really catchy.” 

Layla’s mother said she grew up loving singer Tanya Tucker. 

“I knew I was going to name her ‘Spring’,” said Chasity. “As a little girl, I loved Tanya Tucker, and she had a song out called ‘Spring.’ So, my whole life I knew I was going to name my little girl ‘Spring.’ And then me and mom went to a Tanya Tucker concert. I was probably eight months pregnant, and she brought out her little girl, whose name was Layla. Me and mom looked at each other and I knew I was going to name her Layla Spring. People who hear her name never forget it.” 

While Chasity and her mother, Cindy Anderson, recognized that the little girl showed promise in her singing talent, it took a little longer for Layla to come to the same conclusion. 

“I definitely did not think a year ago that I was going to be on American Idol. I never dreamed of it,” Layla said. “I’ve always been confident, but not always with that kind of confidence.”

Cindy believed Layla needed to prove to herself that she was as talented as everyone else believed she was. 

“I think she was trying to prove herself with all those competitions,” said Cindy. “Prove to herself, even if she didn’t place or struggled to sing different things, that she could do it.”

According to Chasity, Layla always showed great tenacity in her desire to grow as a singer, insisting on singing “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston at a young age, and practicing in public. 

“I noticed every time we went to the store, she was always asking to go and check out every bathroom,” said Chasity. “I always thought she just wanted to go in and play and wash her hands. I finally figured out she just wanted to hear herself sing. She could hear herself singing with the echo in there.” 

Chasity then decided to enroll Layla in singing lessons, where Layla met a vocal coach and began to enter into competitions.

“I thought I would end up in Nashville singing,” said Layla. “I thought I was going to move to Nashville. That’s what I saw myself doing. But, now I don’t see that. I see more, especially with American Idol, it’s opened so many doors already.”

With American Idol came new experiences, new lessons, and new opportunities that may have never come otherwise. 

“I love going around to visit different schools, that’s probably my favorite,” said Layla. “American Idol has done more than just help me just become a better singer, it’s made me a better person. I have made lifelong friends from all across the world.”

One thing that might surprise people about Layla is that she never rehearses for her performances. She thinks she’s more likely to mess up if she’s thinking about her next move.

“Nothing can be rehearsed. It’s all spontaneous. What happens, happens,” said Layla. “I don’t think about what to say, I just feel it.”

However, some would say her ability to be spontaneous and real is what draws people in.

“I feel like her personality plays a big part in her success,” Chasity said. “She’s just really humble, lovable, kind, thoughtful… she just sincerely wants to touch lives. She’s a people pleaser.” 

Since performing on American Idol, Layla has come home to Marion County and performed for fans at watch parties and at schools in the area.

“She’s been to a lot of places singing, but there is no place she would rather sing than in her hometown. That makes her the happiest,” said Cindy.

While she didn’t make it to the finals of American Idol, Layla was able to reach a lifelong dream of making it on the show. 

“I just want to say thank you to everybody. I can’t believe my dreams are coming true,” said Layla. “American Idol has been my dream forever. It really has. But, I never thought I would get to be on the show.”

Despite coming home, it’s not over for Layla, who still has big dreams for herself.

“I want to sell out Madison Square Garden. That’s been my dream for a really long time,” said Layla. “It’s written down on paper.”