Laiken Marcia Williams was born in 1986 and raised in the small Coffee County city of Douglas, which she describes as “sleepy.” She grew up in the church and performed as a child in both gospel and school choirs. Many of her relatives had musical inclinations and most of them sing to this day in their church and at nearby funeral home services. Williams may be the only professional vocalist in her extended family.
Williams credits moving to Savannah and having friends who persuaded her to spend countless nights singing karaoke at the iconic downtown bar McDonough’s with “opening her up” to the possibility of making music at least a part-time career.
After regularly honing her vocal skills at open mic nights, Williams was invited by local singing bassist and bandleader Eric “Big E” Moore to join his acclaimed funk-soul collective known as VooDoo Soup. She wound up performing with that group at a variety of bar and restaurants, as well as numerous private functions.
She began going by the nickname Laiken Love in college, and it now serves as her stage name in the numerous locally-based musical projects she either fronts or takes part in. Those include the funk-pop-dance combo Fellowship of Love, Love Jones, a jazz-soul-standards duo with pianist Eric Jones, Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band tribute act Charlie Fog, and the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus.
When not holding down her day job as iffice and sales manager for Michael Gaster and Associates, she performs publicly approximately 10 times per month at venues such as Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant, Bohemian Hotel’s Rocks on the Roof, Savannah Westin and Jazz’d Tapas Bar. She invites folks to keep up with her live dates and recordings via LaikenLove.com and through Facebook and Instagram.
1. One album everyone should hear at least once? “‘Frank’ by Amy Winehouse.”
2. Three vocalists whose styles you’ve incorporated into your own? “Etta James, Amy Winehouse and Sarah Vaughn.”
3. Four musical artists folks might be surprised to learn you adore? “Janis Joplin, Kenny Loggins, Vulfpeck and Elton John.”
4. Real books or books on tape? “Real books.”
5. One style of music you’d especially love to become proficient at performing? “Jazz. I can bring my classical training and soul together and make magic.”
6. One song you don’t have the nerve to attempt singing in public? “OOH! ‘I Have Nothing’ by Whitney Houston.”
7. Cooking at home or dining out? “Cooking at home. Sadly, I rarely have the time!”
8. Boxing or bowling? “Bowling. I've taken boxing classes and I forget to block my head.”
9. The most fun you’ve ever had performing? “There are so many! Earlier this month we played at Prohibition Kitchen in St. Augustine, Florida.”
10. One gig you’d give anything to do over, and why? “The ‘Stevie Wonder Cabaret.’ Stevie is a musical genius.”
11. Card games or board games? “Both.”
12. Do you have a specific regimen for protecting your vocal cords? “Yes! I have been taking voice lessons for years. I also try to avoid alcohol while on a gig.”
13. Favorite pizza toppings? “Onions, green peppers, olives, Italian sausage.”
14. Favorite movie, TV show and stage musical? “Movie: 'The Conjuring' universe. I’m a horror movie fanatic. TV shows, ‘Bob’s Burgers' and stage musical ‘Hair.’”
15. The single most emotionally affecting musical concert you’ve attended? “I recently went to see Emily King in D.C. for my birthday. She blessed my soul.”
16. Fog machines or lasers? “Lasers.”
17. One song you’d be fine with never having to sing again? “‘Wagon Wheel!’”
18. George Carlin or Dave Chappelle? “Dave Chappelle.”
19. Most underrated musical act in our area? (Gives the *Kanye Shrug*)
20. First thing you would do as mayor of Savannah? “Provide discounted parking for locals and offer affordable yearly parking passes for service industry workers.”