A Star is Born:
Kayla Erhardt is 18 years old and is beginning to shine through her music. Music Forward Foundation first met Kayla in 2016 when she participated in Bringing Down the House (BDTH) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Through workshops and performances, she says the organization has “helped me become a more comfortable musician as far as performance aspects…taken me under their wing and helped me develop myself overall as a musician.”
In an effort to provide additional opportunities to young musicians, Music Forward partners with other leading music industry organizations, such as VocalizeU. For over 20 years, VocalizeU has offered a 10-day Artist Development Intensive program for students to train with music icons, vocal experts, and industry executives. Since 2018, they have offered a scholarship to a Music Forward alumni, and this year Kayla was awarded the opportunity. When she found out that she would be training in such a comprehensive and unique program, she was overjoyed. In her statement of purpose, she said, “the same way a flower is given life and continues to grow, music watered me. Between the good and the bad, the stage gave me a home when I had no home. The melody gave me a voice. The lyrics gave me meaning.” Kayla understands what it is like to not have a home. As a young girl, she moved around the foster care system and in her mid-teens was homeless for a period of time.
Kayla states that this 10-day Intensive has been the “best week of my life.” When asked what she was most excited about before attending the program, she said, “I was most excited to meet and collaborate with other musicians that were my age.” And she got to do just that! “Within the workshops, I have been able to gain a knowledgeable perspective behind the logistics of what it means to be a musician… Overall, I have learned to collaborate with other artists and write music together, while having to adapt to different personalities.”
“Being given this scholarship through Music Forward from VocalizeU has been an opportunity of a lifetime – I have never experienced anything like this before!” Kayla’s light will continue to shine as she starts Berklee School of Music this fall. Shine on, Kayla!
Written by Mariam Boyadjian