While on my basketball duties during NBA All-Star Weekend I happened to get connected with the daughter of former Houston Rocket’s guard and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith. Her name is Kayla Brianna and she just so happens to sing.
Kayla Brianna’s music is an R&B/Hip-Hop mash-up, a style of music created by Mary J. Blige and made famous by artists like the late Aaliyah. Kayla Brianna was recently signed to Interscope Records and released the single, “If You Love Me”. The single is a re-make of the Brownstone song and uses the same sample Run-DMC made famous on Peter Piper.
I spoke to Kayla Brianna immediately after her performance at All-Star Weekend and found her to be a warm, delightful, and humble person—a rarity in the music biz. I asked Kayla about her new single, If You Love Me, growing up with Kenny Smith as a father, her musical inspirations, and her goals in the music business.
SS: How has All-Star Weekend been for you so far?
Kayla Brianna: It’s been really fun. Usually I’m here just watching the games and now that I’m performing it’s like, whoa!
SS: How do you feel your performance went?
Kayla Brianna: I thought it was good. I fed off the audience and had a lot of adrenaline so I was just excited to finally perform.
SS: Tell me about the single “If You Love Me”.
Kayla Brianna: The single If You Love Me is a re-make of Brownstone’s If You Love Me. I really think the message is universal and something that everyone can relate to. For that to be the first song that we put out I thought that was a good choice.
SS: Everyone knows you as Kenny Smith’s daughter. What’s it like having Kenny Smith as a dad?
Kayla Brianna: I don’t know! He’s been my dad all my life so I’m not used to having anything different. He’s just a normal dad to me. I don’t know, I just chill and hang out with him just like anyone else would hang out with their dad.
SS: He seems very supportive of you regarding your music career.
Kayla Brianna: Yes! He is. He is very supportive. I just make sure I show my work ethic in how I perform and make sure I involve all of that in my music and everything that I do.
SS: Can he really rap? They always show the clip of him rapping on Rap City’s The Basement.
Kayla Brianna: I know! The thing is, that was a long time ago. I just say stick to analyzing basketball.
SS: How would you classify your musical sound?
Kayla Brianna: I think it’s very personable and relatable music. I sing R&B/Hip-Hop and all of the messages in my songs are universal and relatable. It’s easy to listen to.
SS: Who inspired you musically?
Kayla Brianna: Definitely Aaliyah. When I was younger I would always listen to her after school. In the car “Try Again” would always be on the radio and that was the first song I learned and tried to perform on my own. Definitely Aaliyah!
SS: What are your overall goals in the music industry?
Kayla Brianna: I definitely want to win some Grammy’s. I want to have a lot of personable and relatable music and I want to inspire people.
SS: What’s up next for Kayla Brianna?
Kayla Brianna: A lot of performances. You can look out for my album and hopefully some more music will be coming out soon.