When Kyla Moffitt arrived at GC in the fall of 2022, she didn’t think that music would be so important to her college experience.Now, a couple months away from the end of the school year, it has become something people know her for across campus.
Moffit is a freshman film production major who sings in the Queen Singers, a group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women.
She has also performed individually at open mic nights and convocation — most recently at the Black Student Union convocation in February, where she sang “I Know Where I’ve Been” by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. She received a standing ovation.
“She was able to just be so present and giving and in charge,” said Roz Woll, assistant professor of music. “She has a number of musical gifts, she has a good ear [and] has something to say as an artist.”
The song was a familiar one for her — it was a part of the Hairspray soundtrack, a musical she participated in as a fifth grader.
Moffitt started singing as a toddler in church and preschool choir and from then on it has been important to her.
“I feel like my body physically likes the release and my mind likes the performance,” Moffitt said, “I feel like my heart just likes the feeling … It’s kind of like when people just feel the need to scream, sometimes I’ll just sing.”
Although she spent most of her life singing in choirs, she has tried to branch out into spaces where she doesn’t need to be as formal and has more creative power.
One night in the fall semester, Moffitt ran into two friends who wanted to do karaoke, Aysia Adkins and Fatima Rhana, and immediately jumped at the opportunity.
“I was like ‘guys … I have a whole setup,’” she said, “and so I got my microphones, my little karaoke machine and I went downstairs and we sang karaoke for like three hours … People would just keep passing by and joining in.”
Adkins and Rhana have also performed with Moffit as members of the Queen Singers.
Outside of her performances, however, Moffitt’s love of music doesn’t stop.
She listens to a wide range of artists, many of whom have similar backgrounds to her own or messages that resonate with her.
Among these artists are Solange and Willow Smith, who also inspired her to learn the guitar.
“Man, it would be so cool to just rock out on the guitar like [Smith] does,” she said.
In her younger teenage years, she fell in love with Tori Kelly, an American singer-songwriter who has appeared on American Idol.
“Her voice is so insane,” Moffitt said. “She can play guitar, she can play the drums [and] she can play the piano …”
For Moffit’s parents and grandparents, their plan for her was that she was “not not gonna sing.”
She noted that her grandmother had a particularly strong singing voice.
Although music is a big aspect of Moffitt’s life, it has also come with challenges.
In her senior year of high school, Moffitt struggled to return to singing after the pandemic — her depression and anxiety kept her from participating in her last concerts.
She took a gap year after graduation and sang alone to develop her voice. During this period, music became an outlet to express herself.
“I just want music in my life in any way shape or form,” Moffitt said.