Seventeen-year-old local rocker to perform at Riviera

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Seventeen-year-old local rocker to perform at Riviera

Three Rivers Commercial News | Samantha May, Staff Writer

THREE RIVERS – Get ready, 17-year-old Megan Happel is bringing a few tricks and treats to her performance at the Riviera Theatre on Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.

Happel, a senior at Mendon High School, plans to perform classic and more contemporary rock-n-roll songs aimed to please the crowd, as well as “spookier, gravelly, and bluesy” original songs that are inspired by the Halloween season.

Happel said she grew up listening to the same rock-n-roll and blues music as her father did and “it just stuck”. Happel’s low, raspy voice adds a personal flair when performing covers of Nirvana, Johnny Cash, and Jet songs.

“I have trouble singing in the octaves that normal teenage girls sing in so I basically sing in the same voice as I talk in, but with an added flair so it’s like an alto type thing,” Happel said. “I don’t really have a high voice so when I try to sing those popular songs it just sounds like a dying cat, so I tend to gravitate towards songs that are sung by male artists and females with lower voices.”

Happel said she’s shocked crowds when she’s played those familiar rock songs with a raspy voice and a single guitar.

“Most of the time people don’t expect what I sing and how I sound to come out of me, so I will sit down and their faces will light up like ‘oh my gosh, that is my favorite song’ or that kind of thing,” Happel said. “I played anything from 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford which is from the 50s or 60s, so that one elderly person in the audience will be like, ‘oh my gosh I love you’, it is pretty fun. Even if there is a pretty even mix of people in the audience, I have a couple of songs to please everybody.”

Happel said she has history playing in front of crowds. She played in a “family band” in the Upper Peninsula until her sister left for college three years ago, and now she tends to perform at local venues’ open-mic-nights.

She said her first performance was the most memorable. At PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp in Hancock, Michigan, she played her first live performance in front of a crowd of 11,000 people.

“I got over my nerves real quick.”

Since then, she has been toying around with music events and local clubs such as Kalamazoo Academy of Rock and the Art Walk in Elkhart, Ind.

Happel is dual enrolled in Mendon High School and Glen Oaks Community College, so in addition to earning her diploma, she’ll also graduate with an associate’s degree from Glen Oaks at the end of the school year.

Happel said she plans to further her education in engineering at Michigan State University, but she will keep playing music as a hobby.

Friday’s show will start at 8 p.m. and admission is free.