orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Entertainment

April 13, 2013

Young country starlet raises Alzheimer’s awareness with music

BEAUMONT — An aspiring musician is looking to share her music and a message with fans in Southeast Texas.

Kayla Conn, a 15-year-old country musician from Cypress, Texas, will serve as the opening act for comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, at Ford Arena in Beaumont. Tickets are still available for $28.50 - $58.50 at the Ford Park box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com.

Kayla may be young in age, but she has spent much of her life playing music and is ready for Sunday’s concert in Beaumont.

“My dad used to be in a band, and he played guitar around the house a lot,” Kayla said in a telephone interview. “He has always loved country music, so I grew up listening to that and fell in love with it too. It was only a matter of time before I started playing guitar.”

Kayla loves modern country artists like Miranda Lambert and “new fave” Florida Georgia Line, but she is also influenced by non-country acts The Frey and Cold Play. Those influences, combined with her own natural talent, can be heard on her debut, self-titled EP which drops on Tuesday, April 16 at iTunes.

“I’ve been working really hard on this and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it,” she added. “I’ve been traveling back and forth to Nashville for over a year, whenever I have free time from school, to get this done and to add songs to my catalog.”

Kayla’s excursions to Nashville have proven fruitful as she has worked with several award winning co-writers like Brian White, Billy Dean, Karyn Williams, Kyle Hutton and others. In fact, it is the song “Memory of Two,” which was co-written with Brian White and Karyn Williams, that she recently made a music video for and which is very personal to Kayla.

“It’s a song about my grandpa who died of Alzheimer’s and it’s a tribute to him and to my grandma,” Kayla explained. “It’s about what it did to him and the effect it had on her. I remember how it changed him and how difficult it was on my grandma during all that. He passed away in December. It’s hard to see how it really affects everyone.”

Kayla knows other people have loved ones who battle this dreaded disease and she hopes the song will increase awareness about Alzheimer’s, which Sunday’s showcase with the Foxworthy, Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy will help do.

“Whenever I play this song at a show, I always have people send me messages or tweets about how they can relate to it or how it touched them,” Kayla continued. “That means a lot.”

Kayla said her set during Sunday’s event at Ford Park Arena in Beaumont will only last between 30-to-40 minutes, but that is plenty of time for her to get her message across and hopefully, in the process, gain some new fans.

“We’re going to play all of the songs that are on the EP, and another song which isn’t, and we’ll cover a song by the Eli Young Band too,” Kayla stated. “I’m really looking forward to being in Beaumont on Sunday and playing for everyone.”

To learn more about this young musician, visit www.kaylaconn.com.

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