I love me some Miss Jaila. Yes, I do. She’s has a voice as big as Texas and just loves the kids.
Recently, a member of my Twitterfam (who’s is that close to being taken of the list) made a snide remark about never having heard of Miss Jaila. I was about to go the dark side after reading that tweet, but I held it together…
Oh, you don’t who Miss Jaila is either?…Oh, okay…Well, she’s Jaila Simms of Chicago, IL, one of the singers vying for a spot as a background vocalist for Diddy’s touring band on the MTV series, Making His Band (Saturdays, 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific).
Miss Jaila caught my attention during the first episode when she surprised us with her amazing vocal range and one other thing…the revelation that she is a pre-op transexual. More importantly, it was her self-confidence, spirited countenance, and sense of humor that won my heart and turned me into a fan.
I was blessed to talk to Miss Jaila about Making His Band and on how she became, well, the Miss Jaila who I have come to know and love.
Ready for Her Close Up
When her boyfriend told her about the Chicago auditions, Jaila, a longtime, avid viewer of the Making the Band franchise, jumped at what she viewed as a “chance of a lifetime.
When I asked Jaila if she was nervous about having to reveal her sexual orientation to the judges, she said no. “The auditioning process can be intimidating.” and proved more so than the issue of her sexual orientation. “[I dealt] with being a transsexual for years. I’m comfortable in my own skin.”
What was “scary” was knowing that she would have to perform in front of Diddy, a man who, she said, has been responsible for creating so many musical legends. Surprisingly, Jaila said she loves” being scared” and even described it as being “fun”.
“When you are passionate about what you do, you enjoy every second of [the experience].”
Out the Mouth of Babes
Miss Jaila’s story of how she began singing is the stuff of legends. When Jaila was 4 years old, she and her grandmother were watching The Color Purple when Jaila started singing one of the songs from the movie. Recognizing her baby had talent, Grandma took it upon herself to have Jaila sing at every opportunity.
Later, Jaila studied musical theater and upon receiving her degree, she moved to New York City where she performed Off-Broadway, as well in concert performances of Broadway songs. She then sang background vocals for various artists which led her back to hip hop where she “started in the first place.” Jaila decided to become “classically trained” because, she said, “I’m all about preserving my voice, so I had to go back to school and get training.” and musical theater caught her interest because of the performance of it includes both singing and dancing.
The MHB House: Where the Living Ain’t Exactly Easy
Me, I can barely stand living with myself, so I can’t imagine living in a house with 40 musicians and singers. Just the thought of it makes me break out in a cold sweat. Jaila described her experience in the MHB house as “colorful” and likened it to living in a college dorm times 40. Prior to entering the house, she thought,”Oh my God. Do these people clean up after themselves?” and “I hope I don’t have to go off on nobody.” While living in the house, Jaila said, she refused to get caught up in the drama and “focused on what she came to do.”
Swagger Like Jaila
The one thing that most amazes me about Jaila is her confidence. “Honestly, the confidence comes from God,” said Jaila. “I grew up in church.” When she went through her “transition”, there weren’t many people Jaila could count on for understanding. During those times, she prayed for guidance, for direction, for a path to happiness. “[God’s] with me no matter what happens…This gives me all the confidence in the world.”
A Message for the Kids
Finally, I asked Miss Jaila if she has any message for the kids. She said that you need to “slay whatever you do” and you must believe in yourself despite adversity. “When you love something, it feeds you and it’s never going to stop bugging you until you actually do it.”
“Stand tall. Know you have a gift from God,” she said. “If you are feeling discouraged look towards the end of the tunnel. You are going to get what you desire in life if you never give up.”
To check out Jaila Simms on MySpace, click here
To follow Miss Jaila on Twitter, click here.
It was announced on the season finale that Miss Jaila was selected as a background singer for Diddy’s band.