Beyonce drummer and WNY native Joy the Drummer plays the Academy Awards

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) From a gig as Beyonce’s drummer to the halls of the White House, Lockport’s own Venzella Joy, or Joy the Drummer as she’s known, has made some major moves in her career. The latest took her to the stage of the Academy Awards.

“I listened to the music and was like wow this singer is really dope, and additionally I never played the Oscar stage. So between those two things I was ecstatic to do it.”

Joy, along with Buffalo native Zuri Appleby, performed a soulful ballad with UK artist Celeste.

“During the actual experience, I’m so focused on doing a great job, sometimes I can get a little lost in the logistics but once I really sit and just think about what the Lord has blessed me to do including the Oscars, it really just uplifts my spirit and puts me in a space of gratitude.”

From those early days playing in Buffalo to multiple tours with Queen Bey herself, Joy’s talents have given her many magical moments. She credits her start in the church for honing her skills and love for music.

” I started playing drums at 10-years-old. I was playing in the church and I was also playing at Roosevelt Academy. In school I learned theory, reading music, and such but church is where I developed my soul and the feel of drums,” Joy said.

Joy says her next step is focusing on production. She released a new EP and is currently selling merchandise, including replicas of her iconic whistle from “Homecoming”, online. She says she looks forward to the next phase in her career and while she’s been blessed in her journey, says that anyone can achieve it with hard work, discipline, and a little faith.

“Envision yourself successfully doing what it is you want to do and speak those things into your life. Get your affirmations together, get your words up as my pastor would say. Speak positively over your life, work just as hard as you believe and I believe any young lady can achieve what she wants to.”

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.



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