INTRODUCTIONS: Meet Laiken Williams, The Siren of the Lowcountry

Updated October 11, 2022 at 9:18 p.m.

Straight out of Coffee County, Laiken Williams left her small town of Nicholls became “Laiken Love,” and never looked back. 

Nicknamed “The Siren of the Lowcountry,” she got her start singing in the bars of downtown Savannah 16 years ago.

“My hometown is about 1200 people. Big rural farming community. Nothing there, a one-stoplight town. Everybody’s related. And it’s like, Okay, I can’t stay here. I have to go,” said Williams.

Growing up in the Baptist church, she sang in the choir with her mother. From there Williams joined show choir in fifth grade and continued through high school. Too nervous and shy to sing alone in front of people, she said she enjoyed singing in choirs.

“I got my first solo in eighth grade and another one in high school, and I thought I was just going to drop dead,” said Williams.

She has been in Savannah since 2004, when she moved to the area to attend Armstrong, and study political science.

“Originally, I wanted to go to NYU, but that price was very expensive, and I would not have survived New York City, and then somehow an ad came up for Armstrong, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is great. It’s not too big. It’s not too small,’  but I can’t lie, when I first moved to Savannah, I almost went home because I thought Savannah was too big,” said Williams.

She ended up dropping out, trying to figure out life. Then the recession hit and she worked at a pharmacy for ten years, doing karaoke for fun on the weekends. From there, she started building a network of people.

She started doing open mics at Wild Wing Cafe downtown, every Wednesday. She got picked up by the band Voodoo Soup, and played with a few other bands before she decided to try it on her own.

“I started renting my gear because I couldn’t afford anything, but after that, once I was able to buy my stuff, we started slowly growing,” said Williams. “I got to do one of the fundraiser events for The Savannah Philharmonic, which gave us a lot of exposure to a lot of people we needed to meet. And from there, we grew more,” said Williams.

Williams credits growing up in a small town to her success and to keeping her humble and grounded as she progresses in her career.

“Growing up and coming from small beginnings, not coming from much, was a part of me being able to grow and to flourish into who I am. It helped shape me, it’s helped me be able to navigate with different people, I don’t meet a stranger. I just treat everyone the same, so it keeps me very grounded. And I love being able to be a good steward toward my community. I love Savannah. And I love anytime I get a chance to work with other creatives or work with other organizations to give more highlight to Savannah, I’m down for it,” said Williams.

A defining moment in Williams’ career came in 2012 when she got to sing for Phil the Park. She met Eddie Wilson, her mentor, who was a staple in Savannah during that time. He took her under his wing, teaching her to learn Savannah and what Savannah was to her.

“I took his advice, and then I got invited to do Phil in the Park. I just kind of walked on that stage, and it’s probably 12,000-15,000 people in the park, and my legs buckled. I was like this is it, I’m gonna die right here. Seeing the crowd, and feeling the energy from the crowd, made me say this is it. I’ve been looking my whole life to figure out where I fit in this life,” said Williams.

Her career progressed, resulting in the founding of Laiken Love and the Fellowship of Love in 2012. Williams and her band do jazz, funk, pop, and a little bit of everything.

“I ended up doing the one thing I said I wasn’t going to do, which is music. I ended up doing it and I would not change it for anything in the world,” said Williams.

“My band has a huge variety of people. I use a great variety of different artists or musicians from Charleston. Savannah, and Jacksonville for bigger bands, depending on the event, what group I want to get there,” said Williams.

On Oct. 14., Laiken Love, and her band will perform at “A Night in The Garden,” the fashion experience and masquerade ball hosted by Connect Savannah.

“I’m coming out. I’m going to do a disco tribute, that is my attire. I have a sequined jumpsuit and feathers. I don’t know if I’m going to wear a face mask or not, but it’s gonna be very gaudy. The first song I sing, the one that’s going to open the fashion show, is going to be the Donna Summer song, “I Feel Love.” From there, we’ll probably do more disco during our set. Continuing throughout the night, depending on the mood of the audience, I will play whatever feels right during the event,” said Williams.

She largely plays for weddings, among other events throughout the Lowcountry. Locally she plays at Arco on Wednesdays and Good Times Jazz on Thursdays.

For more information about The Siren of the Lowcountry, go to laikenlove.com or buy a ticket to “A Night in the Garden,” Friday, Oct. 14!

Published October 11, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

     
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