If you haven’t had the chance to see one of Champaign-Urbana’s hardest working singer/song-writers, Kayla Brown, perform—you’re truly doing yourself a disservice. Stop reading this and go google her now, or as Kerry would say… Go to The Google. Whether Kayla is playing solo, with a friend or two, or with the band We the Animals—she’s captivating the audience and stealing its collective heart, one beat at a time. She’s incredibly charming like that.


photo by Rachel Snow Ingram

photo by Rachel Snow Ingram

What are you grateful for today?
Today I’m grateful for second chances and the absence of absolutes, being able to come to a state of understanding that no feeling is permanent and the way we think and feel will change as we grow over time. Having this understanding has significantly decreased any feelings of discouragement I may come across in a given day and reminds me that when the shit hits the fan… hey, this isn’t forever, it’s just for now.

Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
I met Tierney Smith when I was 17. She is the most brazenly honest, intelligent, and real person I’ve ever met. In a time when my life could have gone in a pretty dark and empty direction, I met Tierney and my whole world changed forever. She was and still is never afraid to tell me when I’m not doing enough to be the very best version of myself. She is a loving mother and wife, an educator, an advocate, a natural athlete, a loyal friend, and an outright badass. She expresses inspiring passion in every aspect of her life and her conviction is contagious. There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t feel humbled with gratitude for having her in my life.

Describe one of the best days of your life.
For Valentine’s Day this year I went on the best date a girl could ask for… to a concert with my grandpa. My grandpa is the coolest guy I know. He loves music and is a big fan of the band Shovels & Rope which he had never seen live before, so we drove down to Nashville, Tennessee to see them play at the Ryman Auditorium. The show was awesome and my grandpa is just a blast to be around. It felt so awesome to get such quality time with him. That is a day I will cherish forever.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
I had a couple pretty amazing grandmothers. Both were so talented, resourceful, selfless, wise, and full of love. I will never in my lifetime understand what it means to work as hard as they had to their whole lives, all to make sure everyone else was raised right, loved, happy, and comfortable. They showed me what hard work and true compassion does for the soul and the world around you. I sure do miss those two.

We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
I love to draw. I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like, but I’m usually pretty happy with what falls out of my brain when given the opportunity. I like to create hybrid creatures like a fly with machine gun hands or an anatomical heart with spider legs. My brain goes is these weird directions all day and it’s nice to be able to translate them onto paper.

What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
Being kind to one another and being kind to ourselves.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I would audition for a play. I have always wanted to be in a play, but I have this intense and undying fear of speaking in front of people which has kept me from doing this for ages.

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