MARION COUNTY, Ky. — Three years after first competing on American Idol, Layla Spring is still following her dream of finding a career in music. She says the pandemic has slowed her success but she isn't ready to give up.
Spring stole America’s heart on ABC's reboot of American Idol back in 2018. The Marion County native describes herself as a small town girl from the “heart of Kentucky”. Her little sister ‘Dyxie’ became a fan favorite as well.
"That audition aired one night and I woke up and it was a whole different thing- my life was different," Spring remembered.
Her big voice shocked the judges and scored her the ultimate Idol gift -- a golden ticket to Hollywood.
"The main thing I wanted to do on American Idol was just get this- I wanted to win but that wasn't reachable to me at the time," Spring said. "I just didn’t' believe it. I just didn't believe that I could do it. When I got this golden ticket- the whole thing just changed."
She soared through the early rounds of auditions and made it to the live show, before facing elimination.
"Whenever I got off of Idol I was up here, I was on Cloud 9, I was living my dream and you know I still am its just not as close to me it seems, it seems a little bit further away, it was in the palm of my hand when I got off of idol," Spring said.
A lot has happened in the three years since Layla left Hollywood. She told WHAS all about it from a hammock in her hometown bedroom.
Talking about the past few years, you can't help but hear it in her voice, its been hard. She missed the last two years of high school following her music career, poured her heart into a record and said the producers let her down.
"I spent a lot of money and it was a fail. I didn't get anything from it. I didn’t get to use any of the songs. I spent two or three weeks in Nashville recording all these songs and it was just a big epic fail," Spring described.
She said she had hoped for a tour and music videos but nothing materialized. Next, she recorded a single on her own called "Another You."
"It was such a dream come true to finally get my music out and tell my own story", but she said, "'Another You' didn't really go as a planned either. And then American Idol reached out to me -- again."
Country Singer and American Idol Judge Luke Bryan called Spring back to the Idol stage, saying on the show in 2019, "When I met Layla Spring two years I couldn’t believe a voice that was that incredible could come from a girl who was only 16. Now she's back for a second chance to sing for your vote."
As you might already know, Spring didn't win that season either. Instead she got back to work at home on a farm in Marion County -- a place she loves but someday hopes to leave.
"I definitely have big goals, big dream because I don’t want to stay right here for sure, that's for sure I don't want to stay in the same spot I've been."
Down the road from her childhood home, Spring showed us her "workspace". Its a music studio and the space she uses for social media. Spring has hundreds of thousands of followers across her social network.
She said social media has always been the best way to connect with her fans but this past year it became the only way, as the pandemic slowed her career to crawl. Her performances, like everyone's, were pulled from the stage and put onto screens.
Spring said, "This pandemic taught me that -- do what you love. You only get one life. Why spend it doing something that you don’t really love? You only get one life. If you can do what you love, do what you really love."
And Layla Spring loves to sing.
"I'm the kind of person who I just don’t really -- I talk about all this believe in yourself, believe in yourself, believe in yourself but before American Idol I didn't believe in myself. I didn't believe I had it. But American Idol has changed my life forever. And I will forever be so grateful for it."
Spring's goal is to be playing a sold out show at Madison Square Garden in five years but in the short term she's just excited to be getting back on stage. Her next show is planned for her hometown later this year.