City Journal: Everybody's All-American

Idol star Ayla Brown benches the music to make her college hardwood debut.

Ayla Brown loves a good challenge. Not only did the Wrentham native beat the odds to reach the doorstep of the American Idol finals last spring, but she also landed a record deal and then cranked out a debut album, Forward, in only two weeks—wrapping the recording sessions just in time for her first day at Boston College.

Promoting the disc is made tricky by what she’s up to this winter: launching a college basketball career (the NCAA frowns on student-athletes making money as pop stars). So while Brown won’t be doing the record-store circuit, Eagles fans are thrilled to finally welcome her to Conte Forum. The two-time Massachusetts player of the year had colleges wooing her since eighth grade; she committed to BC at 15. “I’ve been building up to this point for years,” she says. “Now it’s rise or fall.”