Laila was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Her father was from Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Her early music training was done when her family lived in Karachi Federal B area in 1960. Ustad Qader, later known as Piya Rang, was her teacher. Runa started learning classical music at a very early age, and received vigorous training from Ustad Habibiddin Khan. She made her first public debut as a singer at the age of six and cut her first disc for a Pakistani film called "Jugnu" at the age of twelve. Runa's carrier as a singer came by accident.