Allayna Hight (‘20) has been singing “ever since [she] can remember.” She and her siblings come from a musical family; they formed a band as children called A+, all of their names starting with A, and her parents are musicians as well. Her father is the leader of M6-West, the band Allayna has recently joined over the summer to help get over her stage fright. The band features a saxophonist, a trumpeter, two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, keyboardists, and several vocalists. Allayna’s dad and sister are lead vocalists. She loves being in a band with her family because it allows her to bond with them. Allayna, as their newest vocalist, has previously only sung backup. At their next performance, however, she has two solo songs: “Love the Way You Love Me” by Karen White and “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan.
This Saturday, September 21, M6-West will be performing at the African American Festival at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Grand Rapids. The festival is to meant to celebrate African American music, which Allayna believes is a big part of the culture.“You don’t have to be African American to celebrate it or enjoy it,” she says. The band performs from 4 to 5 p.m., although many other African American artists will be performing throughout the day.
The band has previously performed at the Grand Rapids Jazz Festival, Frederik Meijer Gardens, and Allayna’s favorite: the Grand Rapids Art Festival. She commented, “everyone got up and danced… It was my first big performance with the band… It was really fun.” M6-West also performs at the Candied Yam once a month, their next performance being October 3rd.
While she loves performing with the band, she does not know if she will pursue singing in the future. If she remains in Grand Rapids for college, she would love to stay with the band because of the lively atmosphere and talented group. “It’s much better to perform locally… I don’t see it as a career, more of a hobby.” She hopes performing with the band will help her charisma, as she plans to be more outgoing in the vocal world by auditioning for solos and shows. She encourages everyone to come and support her at the African American Festival on September 21st and enjoy an amazing band.