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Ayla Brown: lady of many labels -  American Idol contestant, basketball star, senator's daughter (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Six to Remember: Ayla Brown

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By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff
Published: May 12, 2010
Ayla Brown

Wrentham, Mass.

Major: Communications

Notable activities: Four-year member of women's basketball team; community outreach through BC's Help Educate Through Athletic Responsibility program and with Franciscan Hospital; performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at dozens of campus, community and national events; recorded and released three albums, "Forward," "Ayla Brown Live" and "Circles" and contributed two songs to "American Christmas," a compilation by past contestants on Fox TVs "American Idol," which she appeared in as a high school senior in 2006; volunteer for US Senate campaign of her father, Scott Brown, BC Law '85.

Post-graduation plans: Currently a correspondent on CBS's "The Early Show"; will continue her singing, songwriting and recording career.

Overview: Ayla Brown may be the consummate multi-tasker: Between her studies and logging long hours as a member of the women's basketball team, she launched a professional singing and recording career that has taken her to various national events, and played a high-profile role in the successful US Senate campaign of her father, Scott Brown, BC Law '85. Seemingly always in the spotlight, Brown's next star turn takes place on CBS's "The Early Show."

Q:You arrived on campus best known for your appearance on Fox TV's "American Idol." Did that make it easier or more difficult to adjust to college life?
It was a hard transition freshman year. Everywhere I went, I heard people whispering, "That's the 'American Idol' girl." It kind of forced me to stay in my room. I didn't want to make any mistakes. I didn't want to do something to hurt my name, or "American Idol" or being a member of the women's basketball team. But it got better over time. Over the years, the attention has died down. That's been nice, in a way. But then it happened again after my dad's election.

Q:Which BC courses have had the greatest influence on you?

The classes I've most enjoyed - and my friends even make fun of me for this - are the three dance classes I've taken at BC. I saw them in the course catalogue and stepped outside my comfort zone and took a dance class and it ended up being the most exciting thing I've ever done. It was beginning of junior year and it was an eye-opening experience for me. It's a way to express myself and dance can be a great workout.

Q:Given your demanding schedule, is there a place on campus where you find some quiet time?

The ceramics room off-campus is where I go to escape. It's an escape from the pressures and the hectic lifestyle I've been living this past year. It's a way to express myself artistically and make pieces that I care about. I actually sold some of my pieces for a fundraiser for a group of nuns I've worked with since high school. It didn't bring in a lot of money, but it felt good to use my artistic abilities to give back.

Q:How has your decision to attend Boston College shaped your life?
I think you don't know that until you face the real world. You always appreciate where you came from after the fact. I know that months or years down the road I will say that it's because I went to BC that I'm the person I am today.

Q:Describe the Songs of Love Foundation and explain your role in helping the organization?

Songs of Love Foundation receives profiles of children with cancer. Musicians take all the information and write a song for a specific child. It's an awesome, totally personalized approach and each one is different. I have adopted them as a charity. As a student athlete, you can't endorse a group or charitable cause. But I had such a great experience writing a song for Hannah, a girl with cancer, that I decided to do more to help them. I'm going to be singing at a Songs of Love Foundation benefit in Nashville this summer. I'll be singing a song that I wrote for Hannah. It's a great way to give back.

Q:Despite the many labels - American Idol contestant, basketball star, senator's daughter, "the anthem girl" - that have been applied to you, how do you define yourself?

All of those things are part of who I am. "Anthem girl" I got because I love to sing the national anthem. It's a great way to show pride for your country. That doesn't bother me at all. It's a great opportunity.  The other labels: I was on American Idol, I am the senator's daughter now and I was a basketball player. These are all things I can't hide from. But at heart, I love to connect with other people, especially young kids and more importantly young girls. I feel like there aren't many positive role models out there today. What I hope people can see is that I like to give back and I like to help people. This is who I am.

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