Making The Cabin her home


Familiar tunes, as well as new ones, could be heard from The Cabin in UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Center Friday evening, as a singer younger than most college students took the stage.

Kenzie Joy has performed in numerous cafes and other venues around the area, including the Twin Cities. What sets Joy apart from the crowd is that she is only a senior in high school, and has been playing guitar since the age of 13.

“I read online that she’s a 17-year-old from Menominee so I didn’t have high expectations, but then she started singing,” Ross Christianson, a sixth-year senior studying music education, said after hearing the first half of Joy’s performance.

The young artist played a total of 27 songs in two hours, taking one break and covering many popular songs including Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” Anna Kendrick’s “Cups,” as well as classics such as The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” Joy also writes many of her own songs, and performed a few of those as well.

Joy said she played Guitar Hero a lot when she was younger, and one day decided she should start playing for real. She began performing for an audience as a 14-year-old, and her first CD came out that same year.

Because she plays many different songs across varying genres, Joy said it is hard for her to pick a favorite song to perform. It depends on the audience and her mood the day of the concert. On Friday, her favorite song to play was Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” she said, because it’s one of her favorite songs to listen to.

While Joy admitted to feeling a little nervous before the show, she said once she gets on the stage she has her own strategy for staying calm.

“I just imagine I’m in my room or in my yard playing, so it’s really peaceful,” she said.

Her young age doesn’t intimidate her, once she gets on stage she becomes just another performer, she said.

Sophomore James Halverson said he enjoyed the performance.

“She is a very talented artist and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen so far,” he said.

Joy currently has three albums under her belt, two of them with another band from her hometown, but on her most recent release, she performs alone.

The Cabin, known for its appeal to local artists, has housed many musicians before, during, and after they become bigger names in the music industry. Some Eau Claire students have even found their favorite bands here, including Abby Nygaard, a senior psychology major who attended Kenzie Joy’s performance on Friday.

Last year, Nygaard said she attended The Cabin to watch a band called Farewell Milwaukee perform.  Afterwards, she downloaded all of their songs and even followed them to Minnesota this summer for a CD release party.  She even asked the
UAC Cabin Committee to host them again
this year.

Nygaard, Halverson, and Christianson all said they would like to see Joy perform at the Cabin again in the coming years.

Joy said that’s something she’d be interested in doing. After she graduates from high school this year, she is strongly considering attending Eau Claire, and hopes to play in The Cabin again.

Joy said she plans to major in music education in college, she said. That is, if the whole music career doesn’t work out.