“Austin Peay has helped push me to be better and push for bigger and better things. I think Austin Peay has a great music department for that.”
Major: Music Performance
Graduation Year: 2022
Campus Involvement: Chi Alpha, P.O.P., APSU Music Department
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Zoe Johnson has a love for music that has not only shaped her life but her time at Austin Peay.
“I grew up in a musical family. My mom was a piano teacher, my dad was in a band in college and my brother is a Christian rapper,” she said. “I came to love the violin in the sixth grade.”
Zoe loves playing her violin for others, and she even started her own gig service this past fall.
“Coming here to college has definitely helped me build a bigger platform for playing the violin,” she said. She has played in a couple of weddings and a funeral.
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Not only does Zoe play in-person gigs, but she also uses her social media channels to her advantage. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person gigs have been limited. Zoe’s social media handle is quite clever and reflects her passion for the violin. You can find her at, “@avidviolin.”
“I kind of just came up with it, and I’ve actually had it since my senior year of high school,” she said. “I wanted something very original for me, and I just stuck by it and now I’m glad I did.”
Zoe was not big on social media before.
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“It was kind of dormant for me,” she said. “One day my brother brought it to my attention that Canton Jones, a gospel artist I love, had a challenge on Instagram where you did a cover of your favorite song and if he likes it, he’ll repost it.”
Canton Jones reposted Zoe’s cover, which gave her inspiration to further her musical career.
“I thought, ‘Hey, if I could get this sort of attention, why not keep doing it every week,’” she said.
Zoe has had various artists repost her work and given her encouraging words.
Not only does Zoe host IGTV or Facebook Live videos, but she also posts videos of her playing with a green screen.
“Austin Peay has this really awesome festival they do for high schoolers, and I went all four years, so it was a very obvious choice. Everyone is kind and encouraging to each other, and it’s kind of like a working together experience when it comes to all the instrumentalists and vocalists.”
“I definitely think the green screen works because it gives people something to focus on and also sort of imagine it in a world,” she said. “I definitely want people to enjoy the music more than anything. I want them to just be encouraged and enjoy the music as it uplifts them.”
Over Christmas break in 2020, Zoe had a moment in the spotlight with her musical talent. At her hometown Kroger in Memphis, Zoe played Christmas music between her shifts to spread holiday cheer. Her playing became popular, and Fox 13 picked up the story.
“People were very generous with their donations and encouraging words,” she said. “My whole thing was just to spread Christmas cheer, and I really hope people got that.”
Zoe had her eyes set on Austin Peay when applying to colleges.
“Austin Peay has this really awesome festival they do for high schoolers, and I went all four years, so it was a very obvious choice,” she said. “Everyone is kind and encouraging to each other, and it’s kind of like a working together experience when it comes to all the instrumentalists and vocalists.”
“Austin Peay has helped push me to be better and push for bigger and better things. Austin Peay has a great music department for that,” she said. “I plan on being a teacher for violin one of these days. I’m also trying to make a job out of it definitely.”
To learn more
For more about Austin Peay’s Department of Music, Click here