student profile: Up close and personal

Joey Hill

The talents of UMKC’s students are never limited to their majors. One of the most defining examples of this is Erica Freiert, also known as Erica Joy, having most recently opened for souls singer ZZ Ward at her Tuesday concert.

Her opening act performance was not Joy’s first time on stage, though it was incredibly exciting for her when she found out ZZ Ward chose her among the various applicants.

“I’ve played coffee shops and other random places but it was the first time in that kind of a setting,” she said. “I went to North Carolina this summer and hung out with some pirates, like at a pirate festival, so I was a pirate for a weekend, and I got to play my guitar with them for the show and I would randomly just burst out with songs because I also love writing on the spot.”

She started learning the guitar only four years ago by learning to play chords by watching YouTube tutorials in her dorm room.

“I came to UMKC on a cross country scholarship and so I said ‘I’ll just take 12 credits,’ but that wasn’t enough credits for what I was doing, so I had a lot of down time in the dorms and my parents got me this guitar and I never picked it up and I had a lot of time on my hands and just needed something to do,” she said.

It was from these early dorm-room practice sessions that Joy would later write “Come On Home” a beautiful piece consisting of merely two chords. When writing lyrics, Joy builds her work from an equally tranquil place.

“Honestly the first song I did was when I was giving a Facebook message to one of my friends and the words just kind of came out of me,” she said. “A lot of times that’s what will happen. I’ll be playing two or three chords and I’ll get a chorus licked that’s catchy and that makes sense to me and that expresses what I’m feeling, and then I’ll try to build verses and a story around that.”

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