July 21, 2016 – CLEVELAND, OH
Country music singer, Ayla Brown, took the stage to sing the National Anthem at the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH.
Read Ayla’s Column in the Boston Herald here:
I am currently at the airport, on my way to sing at one of the biggest events of my singing career.
Since my time on “American Idol” 10 years ago, I’ve had some unforgettable performance opportunities. From my Grand Ole Opry debut, my many tours overseas singing for our troops, numerous national anthem performances before sporting and political events, and, of course, singing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, I feel as though all of those moments have led me to this: singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
When I was 12 years old, I sang my first national anthem at a King Philip High School girls basketball game. Still to this day I remember what I was wearing and how nervous I was to sing in front of people who were not my family.
After I finished singing, the announcer handed me a check for $12. I ran to my mom with a huge smile on my face and said, “Mom, I just got paid to sing! Maybe this could be my job someday!”
My incredibly supportive mother responded, “Ayla, if you work hard enough, maybe someday this could be your job.”
Fast forward 15 years later, and I can’t believe I’m saying it, but singing is my job. I wake up every morning and feel so blessed to be doing what I love.
As I make my way to the RNC and take the stage on Thursday night, I am going to remember that moment when I was 12, holding a microphone for the first time in front of 75 people.
Thursday, however, will be one of my largest audiences in my singing career. Delegates from each state will fill the bottom level of the convention floor. Secret Service will be in every corner of the room. Personal security will be escorting me to and from the hotel and to the stage. And my parents will be in the audience, beaming with pride. The same pride they felt when I was 12 and singing for the first time.
And as I hold my hand on my heart, I will think about the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to enable me to sing our country’s national anthem. I salute and dedicate this “Star-Spangled Banner” to you.