Her voice keeps her star rising

Savannah Leighton’s big break came on “The Voice.”

Sherry Kughn

At age 2, Savannah Leighton sang at church. As she grew up, she added performances in front of her mirror. A couple of years ago, she appeared on the television show, The Voice. Now, with her first recording contract in hand, the 16-year-old looks back on her big break. After qualifying on The Voice, she chose Gwen Stefani as her coach. Another break in her career: Celine Dion coached her too, and referred to herself as Savannah’s grandmother.

Recently, Savannah sat in the back area of Paul’s Pawn Shop in Piedmont. It belongs to her stepfather Paul Byers, a supporter and fan of this former Spring Garden High School student. She decided to be home-schooled to allow for more flexibility in her schedule. Her mother is Theresa Walsh and is, of course, another fan and supporter, as are her brothers, Lucas, 15, and Brodie, 11.

“Her mama and I are going to do everything we can,” Paul said, “to help her.”

Savannah, also a guitarist, has written the songs on the CD due out this week. Her first single, which is creating excitement among fans, will also be available online is called “Nobody Does It Like You.” Co-writer is John Roberson of Rome.

“There was an open mic contest at Brew House in Rome, Ga., and I made a contact with one of the ladies there,” Savannah said. “I met with representatives of Bigfoot Music and Outdoors’s BBM, a new label; and they signed me to be their flagship artist.”

Savannah’s achievement follows a few years of excitement in Spring Garden about her singing career. Friends, classmates, and family members have supported her and wore t-shirts with a “Savannah” logo on them.

She is pretty enough to be a beauty contestant, with a ready smile and long, dark hair. It is singing, though, that has captured her interest. She performs two to three times a weekend throughout the Southeast.

“I love being onstage,” she said. “I am going to San Diego in February to sing and help raise awareness for families that are affected by violence.”

She said the friends she met during The Voice competition stay in touch, and one of them is hosting the fundraiser.

“None of this seems real,” Savannah said. “These things are all I have wanted since I was a little girl. I am taking it a day at a time and studying. I hope to go to college at Belmont University in Nashville or New York University.”

Byers said he is glad to see Savannah getting the dream she wants.

Email Sherry at sherrykug@hotmail.com