With additional support from her sister Arianna, her achievements include: American Idol semi-finalist; recording artist and national touring artist; volunteer for numerous charitable causes; national anthem singer for the Philadelphia 76ers; Division 1 basketball player; and national news correspondent for The Early Show on CBS.
From a young age, Ayla wanted to be in the spotlight, but she understood it was important to receive a college education. "When I was on Idol, there were many kids my age who decided that school wasn't the right fit for them," she says. "I think an education is one of the most important gifts anyone can receive in their lifetime."
After her departure from American Idol, Ayla laced up her sneakers for a career on the basketball court. For four years she served as a starter on the Boston College Women's Basketball team while earning a Bachelor's Degree in Communications.
Upon graduation from Boston College in 2010, Ayla packed up her car and moved to Nashville in February 2011. She's since released two albums — her self-titled debut and a patriotic-inspired follow-up, Heroes and Hometowns. A portion of every CD sale from her second album benefits a military non-profit based out of Massachusetts called Hugs for Heroes, Inc.
As a little girl, Ayla was never one to keep a diary of thoughts or songs. "I am one of those people who discovered writing songs much later in life than anticipated," she says. "Being so hard-nosed with sports, I thought it was 'weak' to share your emotions. But when I moved down to Nashville I realized that it was actually okay to share your feelings (sometimes with complete strangers) for the benefit of pulling out the best songs from your soul. I am so lucky in that sense to call Nashville my home."
Ayla made her Grand Ole Opry debut on May 25, 2013. "I will never forget my Opry debut on Memorial Day weekend," she says. "It gives me chills every time I think about who stood on that stage before me, and all of the musicians who will stand on that legendary circle in the future."
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