Davis just getting started in Mitchell
Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Jacki M...
Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Jacki Miskimins at 996-1140.
It was a broken heart that introduced Joey Davis to his way with words.
After a high school breakup, he began writing love poems about his ex-girlfriend; a practice in rhythm and rhyming that helped him develop a personal style. Not long after, a friend encouraged him to try rapping; and not long after that, on a visit to Chicago to meet his biological family, he recorded his first song. Seven years later, he petitioned the Mitchell City Council to allow him to host a rap show at Hitchcock Park - an event that drew a crowd of nearly 200. And Joey, 24, feels like he's just getting started.
Born in Chicago, Davis was placed into foster care as a baby. His biological mom struggled with drugs, and his three older siblings had already been removed from her care. His foster mom, already caring for one of his sisters, adopted them both, and a few years later, after a violent crime too close to home, insisted they move from the city.
"Dad came home from work one day, and the car, the house, everything was packed up - we were moving right then," Davis said.
The family settled in Tyndall, where Joey spent the remainder of his childhood before graduating from Tyndall High School in 2009.
Interested in architecture and the rationale of building design, Davis enrolled in Mitchell Technical Institute that fall to study Architectural Design & Building Construction.
"After my first year, I knew it wasn't the right fit for me - but I wanted to finish what I started, get the degree, so I stuck it out for the second year," Davis said.
After graduating in 2011, he worked in construction for a year. Then, a friend suggested he put his gift with words to work and try sales. He joined Cellular Only (now BeMobile Verizon Wireless) in 2012.
It was a natural fit.
"I'm customer service all day long. I can talk to literally anybody," Davis said. "I love meeting people - hearing their stories, telling them stories. Working in wireless, that's what it is - just talking to people. I love it. I love this job."
More than the job, though, Joey also found he loved the people in Mitchell.
"Especially in sales, I know I could have gone other places. But the people here - that's why I stayed. The people at MTI, the people around Mitchell. I like knowing everybody, and everybody knows me," Davis said. "And, people might not think about this, but being black - I've never had an issue with race in Mitchell. I hear about it in other places, I've seen it in other places, even in South Dakota. But not in Mitchell."
Mitchell has also proven to be a great place to raise his daughter Lily, 2.
"We go to the park, we go to the pool in the summer, but in the winter we mostly just chill inside and watch Mickey Mouse," he said. "So we're really excited about an indoor pool. Knowing I'm raising her in a place that's safe - that's everything."
Aside from his daughter, Joey's love lies in creating music and finding new ways to share it with others.
"Being on stage and making people smile, that is my favorite thing," he said.
As he developed his lyrical style and performance chops, it occurred to him that he was missing a huge opportunity.
"I was driving an hour to perform for 15 minutes, then turning around and driving an hour home," he explained. "That didn't make sense, so I started putting on my own shows in Mitchell. And it just took off from there."
Those shows led up to the performance at Hitchcock Park last summer, a show Davis is proud to have brought to Mitchell. Ultimately, he hopes to help bring more events and activities to town to help entertain young adults in the community.
"I want to see Mitchell 'pop' more. We have the Corn Palace, and it is absolutely gorgeous. And Mitchell's not the biggest place, but we have all the towns around us," Davis said. "So I think there's a lot of opportunity to really bring creative stuff. That's what I want to do. And music is my way of doing that."
If he's successful, the community will have a broken heart to thank.