Born in Grand Gedeh County in the eastern portion of the West African nation of Liberia, Kayla lost her father at the tender age of two. Her grandmother told her that, after her father’s death, her maternal family took her mother away from Grand Gedeh to Monrovia to live with her cousin, leaving Kayla with her paternal grandmother.
Kayla was raised by her grandmother until age seven when she was abducted from the only home she knew by her great grand uncle who tricked her grandmother into leaving the house and, once she was out, they went in and packed all of Kayla’s belongings. The next thing Kayla knew, she was in a car, crying. When she arrived in Monrovia, everything was strange. She was in a strange place with a mother she didn’t know and brothers she had never met. Kayla cried everyday for her grandma but never saw her again. In 1990, due to war in Liberia, Kayla, her mother and brothers fled to Cote D’Ivoire where they lived until 1992. That is when the rebels attacked their village.
Kayla’s mother and stepfather were both killed that day, another tragedy in her life. Her life was like a nightmare. One day she was loved and cherished and the next, everyone was gone and Kayla was left alone with nobody to care for her. Not allowed to go to school and often hungry, she was also molested and abused by a family member from ages 10-15 years. At one of the lowest points of her life, she didn’t know how to make the pain go away. That’s when she began to take refuge in music. Listening to music would make Kayla feel better. In Abidjan, the capital city of Cote D’Ivoire, she began singing backup vocals for Bathelemy Inabo Zouzoua at Balafon Studio. Finding the experience amazing and beneficial, Kayla worked there from 1993-95, when she met a man who took her under his wing and introduced her to many music industry professionals and stars. She was happy until she began to suspect that he, like many before, was seeking to take advantage of her rather than help. Kayla left and, in 2003, met a producer named Jonas Pamenah who was a genuinely good human being.
After hearing Kayla sing one time, he offered to produce her first album without asking for any “shady favors”. They recorded the album but have not yet released it because Kayla soon left there for the USA, having been accepted on a refugee visa. She has since become a naturalized United States citizen and, most recently, has been performing and recording in Arizona, where she now lives. Jonas Pamenah and Kayla remain steadfast friends, corresponding often and still intending to work together if she returns to Africa. Music has been the only consistent thing in her life. Kayla has come a long way and she credits music for saving her life. Through the times that she didn’t want to live, music gave hope that there would be better times coming and today she knows she was right. Now, those days are behind her; her first single will be out soon. The title “SAUVONS L’AFRIQUE” means “save Africa, save the children”. These days Kayla is no longer hungry, afraid of going home or to bed fearful of abusers. Now, she looks forward to telling her story through her songs. As for her grandmother, Kayla knows she will see her again, someday.