Don’t remember Malaya Watson from the long parade of Hollywood-bound singers we met in the Detroit episode?
Just think tuba.
Yep, Malaya is the 16-year-old junior from Southfield, Mich., who plays tuba in her high school band.
“When people see me with the tuba, they’re like, ‘Ain’t that thing heavy? You’re so little. How do you carry that?’,” Malaya told Idol during her audition clip. “I just look at them and say, ‘It’s just what I do.'”
Malaya was also one of the most relaxed singers when she landed in the audition room.
Then she launched into a version of “Ain’t No Way” that showed off a big voice with nice control. Keith Urban said he loved it; Harry Connick Jr. thanked her for delivering such a great audition.
During a web show called “B in the City,” Milaya tells us she comes from a family of musicians.
And she’s not just a singer who plays tuba. She plays piano and has also played drums.
As for musical influences, Milaya says she’s a big fan of Beyonce.
During her Road to Hollywood video, she also points to her dad (“a wonderful guitar player”) and her grandfathers.
What will set her apart on Idol?
“I hear a lot that I have this soul and it touches people,” she says. “I feel as though since I’m young and have such an old style with the soul — I think that makes me way unique.”
I’ve embedded videos from Milaya’s YouTube page below.
“Body Party” (Ciara cover)
“Diamonds/Don’t Judge Me” (cover)
“Through the Fire”