A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Spring Hope teen headed to Apollo stage

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Fourteen-year-old Layla Jenkins of Spring Hope will compete in Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater and will be featured on “Showtime at the Apollo” on June 26.

Jenkins’ dream is to minister people all over the world through her singing and she recalls having a love for singing at just 2 years old. Last August, she came closer to fulfilling her goals when she auditioned at a local Apollo competition, winning a paid trip to New York to audition in the upcoming “Showtime at the Apollo” in June.

“There were 200 people there to audition on that day,” Jenkins said. “Before auditioning, we were told that the judges would contact everyone via email or phone after the audition to let us know if we made it. After walking down off the stage that day, one of the judges called me over to the judges’ table and immediately told me that I made the show. That was one of the greatest moments in my life!”

Jenkins said that never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d have the chance to sing on the Apollo stage as many renowned artists, such as Billie Holiday, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix have done.

Jenkins said she considers the excitement and support from her family a blessing.

“I have so many family members who are going to New York to support me that we’ve had to charter a bus,” she said. “My parents, my siblings and my grandparents are always there to support me whenever I sing. That really makes me feel special.”

In addition to singing, Jenkins also participates on her church’s praise dance team and plays the piano, serving as director and church musician.

Jenkins said she plans to represent her hometown of Spring Hope and the southern Nash community with dignity, proving that some of the best talent comes from small towns.

“I’m praying to come back home as a winner on June 26,” Jenkins said. “Even if I don’t win, I’m going to have fun using the gift that God has given me, which is my voice.”