A Glimpse of Leah Orlikowski

Written By: Khadeeja Coonrod

I met someone truly stunning a few months ago in Key West, Florida Her name is, Leah Orlikowski. I stumbled into an open mic night at a coffee shop called, Sippin’ and kind of slunked into a chair. I watched different artists get up and do everything from sing, to perform poetry, or showcase their skills on an instrument. The vibe was very diverse and was very welcoming. The set up called for a more intimate portrayal of how open mics should be, it was like stepping into an Unplugged show, with all eyes on whoever decides to share.

When Leah’s turn was up, she was sipping on a cup of coffee; she had such a classic beauty to her, very elegant and was wearing a hippie/bohemian ensemble, with a flowing skirt, a tank top and an island-style necklace. Her short curly hair was half tied up, and half falling out with loose curly pieces hanging out. She went up, grabbed a guitar, and started playing a song she wrote with a sense of passion that would’ve stopped anyone in the street to come take a listen; and listen they should, because to hear Leah is a gift that should be received with open ears.

Leah finished one song and suddenly someone requested for her to do “Across the Universe” by The Beatles. “Um, I think I’m gonna do a song I wrote because I never sing my own songs and I think it’d be good practice for me.” Leah responded and she mentioned how she had written the song years ago, and wasn’t sure if it was any good. She let loose as she belted out the words and strummed the guitar. With every power chord was her voice to match the notes and with every soft note, was an awe of silence coming from the audience. There wasn’t one person in the room who wasn’t taken by her talent.

I was lucky enough to meet her the next time I went to Sippin’. She was very welcoming and asked if I was an artist. I said I was a writer and she tried to persuade me into reading from a notebook I had in my hand. I declined since I was shy, and had never performed my poetry in front of an audience. She told me how she was going to be leaving Key West to go to Ohio since she had a job lined up at a bar somewhere to sing. I was impressed by this. I also found out she sang a few nights a week on Duval Street in Key West and I saw her a few times whenever I passed by on my way to work or getting off work and she’d either be singing or watching someone else performing while beaming proudly for whomever was on the microphone and dance away in her chair or on the floor in front of the stage.

At Sippin’, you meet many talented artists who do music or poetry and sometimes; both. Most of them are wanderers and adventurers who always migrate somewhere else like birds do when the seasons change. I was lucky enough to have captured some wonderful moments with most of them and Leah is one of them. I found her on Facebook after searching for her and told her I wanted to write an article on her and had some questions for her. I said I would appreciate it if she could answer them to the best of her ability. This is what she sent in return:

“Wow! I feel so honored! Ok… so… I’ve been singing since I very young and I’ve always wanted to. As far as wanting to pursue it as a career, probably since I was 17; before that I sort of saw it as something people only do to become famous, very superficial and unreal to me. Then I realized that it isn’t about becoming a “star,” the media just makes it appear that way. It’s about sharing what you are blessed with to inspire your fellow human beings. I started performing on my own at the 16th street mall in Denver, Colorado, street busking. Then I would get random shows through friends at small venues in Denver. My first steady gig was at Willy T’s on Duval Street in Key West. I hope that was extensive enough.”

Leah Orlikowski is an artist to look out for, wherever she may end up since she’s constantly off and about in the midst of those fortunate enough to be able to be in her presence.

Check out Leah’s live performance on CWG TV

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