Layla's 'Nashville' Transformation Will Bring A "Soulful" Sound, Star Aubrey Peeples Reveals

Suffice it to say that Layla Grant has experienced the worst luck of any character on Nashville. I mean, I thought that Deacon Claybourne was the resident tragic hero, but Layla’s life has not been easy, y’all. Aubrey Peeples, who plays Layla on Nashville , has felt her character's pain, and tells Bustle that things are going to change a lot for Layla when Nashville Season 4 returns to ABC on Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Layla may have the worst luck on the show, but that's also helped her to become one of its most interesting characters. She began her stint as a runner-up on an American Idol­-esque contest and quickly moved into a sham marriage, songwriting struggles, and the death of her boyfriend. “To get to change over the course of the years is so wonderful," Peeples says of Layla's transformation. "It offers a chance as an actor that I’ve really savored, because if you have to stay the same, it’s a little suffocating. I feel so lucky that I’ve gotten to be presented with something new every episode.”

With Layla’s transformation as a person has definitely come a change in her music, which I’m sure all country music fans appreciate (her first anthems were straight-up pop). “Her songs have gotten darker and more real,” Peeples says. “They’re not, you know, poppy and tweeny like they were in the beginning … There will definitely be new music for Layla … [the songs] are super grooving and soulful, which I’m excited to do.”

Peeples is a talented singer herself, and says that Layla’s new musical direction has actually influenced her own recordings and style. “I’ve never had any real musical opportunities until I moved to Nashville, and getting to be on the show and in the town has helped me learn so much about the industry. It’s completely shaped what I write. Layla’s own transformation into her music has helped shape what I want to do,” she says.

And while she can't reveal whether Layla has any exciting collaborations coming up on Nashville, Peeples has duet wishlist. “I always wanted to be able to sing with Jonathan [Jackson, who plays Avery]. That may happen — you’ll just have to stay tuned. I would also love to sing with Sam [Palladio]. It would be cool if Layla and Gunnar got to perform together.” These are also my musical dream pairings, so I hope they come true.

Music aside, Peeples also hopes that Layla finds the right kind of love this season. “I would really like to see a love interest treat Layla right … I think it would help her to grow so much as a person,” she says. “Jeff challenged her in good and bad ways ... It was her first time experiencing love that she thought was reciprocated, and I think Jeff did love her but not in the same way.”

Wherever Layla’s road goes, Peeples is certainly along for the ride on Nashville — and the tunes. “Music is what Nashville is all about,” she says. “Just the fact I’ve gotten the chance to be creative and explore my music and Layla’s music is amazing. I’ve been very lucky.”

Images: Mark Levine/ABC; Giphy (2)