written by Michela Sardinas, Class of 2019
photography by Adrian Van Stee, Class of 2019
Grant McKenzie always had one thing in mind – music. With the strum of a guitar, the tsk of a drum, the rhythm, the beat, the sound – Grant has always been fascinated by music.
His love for music began at a young age when he rambled songs and tapped away on the piano. But the piano wasn’t for him. Perfectly fitting into his hands, he strummed on the guitar for his brother’s band, Nearsighted, in 8th grade.
“I’m the most comfortable on the guitar for sure,” Grant says.
But he wanted to further his musical talent. Freshman year came and it was the perfect opportunity to create a band. With the help of Myah Lobatos, a Timothy student, the idea of a band started when she reached out to Grant over social media.
“One of my goals going into Timothy was to start a band before I even went there,” Grant states.
The two whipped up a group of friends and made their first band, Modern Envy. There was one problem – the instruments banged and clinked with no flow. Grant didn’t give up.
Then came Grant’s second semester of freshman year. Finally, a band pieced together.
The drums banged, the guitars strummed, and the voices harmonized. There was a flow. A band formed – Luke Penning (drummer), Justin (bassist) and Tyler Voss (guitarist), Grant McKenzie (lead vocalist), and Myah Lobatos (extra vocalist).
The band was official.
The name turns heads and raises eyebrows, which is exactly what Grant wanted for a band name. Before the band, he came across the magazine Celebrity Juicy Gossip at a Dominick’s grocery store. It was a sarcastic idea of a band name with a catchy hook that stuck. He ran the name by the band and they loved it. It fit.
“Part of the reason I liked it was because it’s in your face in a way,” he exclaims.
Now officially Juicy Gossip, their goal since the beginning was to perform in the variety show. The opportunity arose and they took it.
“Before the sign ups went out, we had been practicing for a month,” Grant says.
With the pluck of the guitars and bright spotlight, the band performed Grant’s original song “Celluloid.” Their adrenaline rushed through their veins and into their music. The experience was unexpected as they played as a unit.
“Part of the reason the band is what it is,” Grant claims, “is the fact that Timothy has such a strong community and the people care.”
“Song writing comes naturally and I think it is truly a gift from God,” says Grant. His style of singing and music writing comes from the influence of artists he likes – the Beatles and the Pixies. Even with a few voice lessons, he is self-taught from these inspired artists. “A lot to being an interesting singer is being your genuine self,” Grant explains.
Even after 12-15 performances between school, block parties, and other public areas, the variety show is Grant’s favorite.
But their performances at Timothy didn’t end there. Last year they played for Timothy’s middle school chapel. Their musical talent caught Mr. Wiener’s attention, who is the Bible teacher and is in charge of chapel. He asked if they’d be interested in being the high school’s chapel band the next year. Juicy Gossip, (Juicy Gospel for chapel band), happily obliged.
After being in the band for a few years, Grant’s interest and passion for music has grown stronger.
“A goal of mine,” says Grant, “is to be able to do music full-time because it’s probably my favorite thing to do. I don’t think I realized that until God and Timothy showed me that.”
Michela is a senior at Timothy and hopes to major in marketing or journalism. She enjoys reading, writing, and photography during her free time. Michela was new to Timothy her freshman year and is thinking of going to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.