Remember the one about the small-town girl who makes it in the big city? It’s not just the stuff of Hollywood fiction. Laura Bryna grew up in tiny Mount Airy, MD ("Turn left at the cow," she says, "make a right at the church and keep on going"). Yet out of that rural upbringing near the Mason-Dixon Line emerged a singer-songwriter of depth and heart. With her 2009 debut album, "Trying to Be Me," having established her country chops, Laura continues her westward trek, dividing her time between Nashville and Los Angeles, where she’s now wrapping up a new album that takes her in striking new directions.
Working with noted producer Robb Boldt (Fergie, Paula Abdul, J.C. Chasez, N’SYNC), Laura has begun exploring a jazzier, bluesier side of her personality. Those new tracks put a twist on 50's and 60's classics, as well as several Bryna originals. On the flip side, Laura is simultaneously crafting a second project, one that will define a new vision of Southern rock uniquely Laura. "It’s been great to have our worlds collide," Laura says of her collaboration with Boldt. "I was coming from a country scenario, while he’s got the rock thing down. It’s a neat musical marriage we have."
Laura hasn’t left country behind, as she still teams up with her Nashville songwriting partners. But this latest move is yet another way Laura says yes to her adventurous spirit. Exhibit A: After arriving in L.A., she began performing for the World Boxing Council and at other martial arts events. This inspired a writing session with Nashville writers Charlie Allen and Dane Bryant, which gave birth to the song, "Bring It On," which, appropriately enough for kickboxing, kicks ass.
She’s even branched into broadcasting with the 2013 debut of "Serving Your Country," a nationally syndicated weekly radio show she co-hosts with Ramblin’ Ray Stevens. The show offers family and friends of active duty military personnel the chance to send messages and dedicate songs to their loved ones, wherever they may be stationed. "Loving your country and being able to live your dream is because of these amazing people," Laura says. "My grandfather was in Navy, my dad was in the Coast Guard. Everyone knows someone in military. This is one thing everyone can get behind."
Her dedication to the men and women in uniform doesn’t end there. Laura is also a national spokesperson for the Air National Guard, for whom she co-wrote and recorded the powerful musical tribute, "Hometown Heroes." Recalling her first ride in an F-16 fighter with an Air National Guard pilot, she says, "His call sign was Killer and mine was Lil’ Thunder. I remember him saying ‘Thank you so much for what you do for us,’ and I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ It’s my honor to go out and tell people what these heroes are doing. They were the ones who brought the blankets, pillows and emergency supplies in Hurricane Katrina."
Laura’s musical journey began back in Mount Airy, where she remembers plenty of weekend nights, putting on living room shows with her sisters and charging family members 25 cents a ticket. In high school, she was selected to join the Kennedy Center’s Summer Drama Workshop, where she had the opportunity to perform with South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo. From there, she attended Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. All along, her family had her back. "I’m so blessed to have come from a great town, with wonderful parents," she says. "They always told me to live your dream."
Following college graduation, she took their advice, heading to Nashville to pursue a recording career. It didn’t take her long to find success. With the release of Trying to Be Me, she hopped on a national tour opening for Clint Black, as well as performing with Tim McGraw, Sugarland, Emmylou Harris and Taylor Swift among many others. Songs like "I Don’t Have a Thing to Wear", "Life is Good" and the heartrending "Make a Wish" (which she co-wrote and recorded for the Make-A-Wish Foundation) showcased Laura’s emotional range.
A self-confessed "girly- girl," Laura is a true fashion guru, favoring the couture of Roberto Cavalli, Claudio Milano and J. Girard Designs. She’s even done fashion blogging for the e-Zine, Urban Darling. One more passion in her life, her parrots Tyler and Harmony, and her cockatoo Snuggles, who happens to be the main character in a children’s book she is writing, "Snuggles Goes to Hollywood." Needless to say, it’s a true story.
Just as true a story is Laura Bryna’s passion for music and entertaining. She’s been doing it her way from Mount Airy to Los Angeles, and unfailingly with a masterful touch. "I always wanted to make people smile and touch their hearts," she says. "I love the work I do, and I love giving back with a song."