Joy Anna: Prairie Popstar


Photograph courtesy of Brooks Crawford

The city of Chicago has routinely managed to churn out highly acclaimed music artists throughout the last century. Now, the UIS community is getting an up-close look at an artist with vast potential who truly demonstrates the talent that spawns from up north.

            Joy Anna, a biology major who is minoring in music, has gained attention on campus following the release of her original song “Made It This Far”. The song was released as part of the University of Illinois system’s “Songs of Hope” project, initiated by President Tim Killeen. “Songs of Hope,” a program which began this past summer, aims to uplift and inspire students during the harrowing COVID-19 pandemic.

            By virtue of Joy’s powerful performance on “Made It This Far,” Anna was awarded the UIS Music Merit Award. When asked how it felt to receive this acknowledgement, Joy says, “I didn’t even know I was getting an award for it but I was very excited for the recognition.”

            Although Joy has been singing for a while, primarily around friends and family, her love for music has largely been seen as something of a hobby. Anna has been able to acquire a large following on social media through videos showcasing her rare, awe-inspiring talent. “Made It This Far” is the first song Joy has ever released but is scheduled to drop her first project, Chapter XX: The EP on November 6. Joy teased this upcoming project, saying, ”I went through a tough time earlier this year, so I used that as inspiration. In a way, it’s me talking to me.”

            Joy Anna was raised in a single-parent household by her mother, who has become her most significant inspiration in both life and music. On account of her mother’s involvement with the church, Joy followed a similar path. Joy Anna tries to follow the virtues she learned in her upbringing. “My name describes me perfectly. I am a very happy and joyous person.”

            Joy became enthralled with music due to her love for the 2000s pop genre. She says that her musical influences predominantly include artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Keyisha Cole. It is easy to see how these artists impacted the way Joy approaches music. For music simply being a “hobby,” Joy Anna is a striking young talent who seems to have found her niche at the very start of a promising career.

All of Joy Anna’s music is and will be available on Apple Music, Spotify and the Google Play store.