Friday, December 18, 2009

Love and Hope: The Joel Simpson Interview

Joel Simpson is this weeks spotlight not only for his ability to sing, but for his unique talent. He brings to music a combination of Folk, Rock, and Christian Rock into one without making the listener feel like he is preaching too heavily.

Songs like "Don't Believe that Lie" and "Will you Save Me" showcase Joel's talent with the perfect balance of harmony, music, and emotional lyrics will you compelled to close your eyes and subconsciously nod your head to the catchy beats.

I spoke to Joel and this was our conversation:
So, you just released your first CD on December 1, what motivated you to produce a record on your own?
My heart really pushed me to record my own album. I really want to make a living being a singer/songwriter and I have played over 150 shows having nothing to sell. People liked me, but once they went home they forgot all about me. I have also played percussion for a lot of people's cd's and live shows. My girlfriend told me to stop being in the back all the time so now I'm starting to be in the front.How long did you work on this album?
It took me from June 2009 until November 2009 to finish my album. The lack of Money and summer vacation made the process really long but it ended up working out in the end. With the constant breaks in my recording schedule I had time to contemplate on what I had to work on and got to practice the details of things before I went back to the studio.What is the overall theme or message you want your listeners to get from your music?
I want them to understand that life is fun and adventurous. I wrote a lot about love ( I don't know how I ended up writing about love a lot. Maybe it is because of all the pop music I listen too) and how fun, confusing and quirky it could be.I noticed that you have a religious background. Does God play an important role in your music?
God is the only reason why I am able to sing or play music. I pray to God every night to help open those doors for me and to lead me down the right path. The only reason I am in California is because of the grace of God, the only reason I can play a lot of instruments is because of him, the people I got to help me with the CD was only by the grace of God, and when I finally get famous it is going to be all God.Do you feel that it’s your faith that has pushed you to reach your dreams as a musician?
Yes it has. Too many doors have been opening to tarnish my faith. Even when doors start to close, the more I believe in God and his will for me, the better the outcome of my music will be.Did your parents also play an important part of your musical career?
YES!!!!! They have played the MOST important part. I wanted to be a lawyer. I am from Virginia and I was all about going to Washington D.C and studying law and being involved in politics. My junior year of high school my parents sat me down and told me that they did not want me to be a lawyer anymore and to go into performing. Performing sounded way more fun so I did not argue with them. They are very proud of me and support every decision I make.
Without my family and friends I will be nothing. They support me way too much. I started to realize that my music may be somewhat good after my 20th show and all my same friends were still coming out to support me.
How long have you been performing?
I have been a solo artist for a year. However, I have been performing since the 4th grade. I have been in many musicals, choirs, plays, and have had many solos throughout the years. I am definitely a show choir geek, so that really helped me become a better performer.Besides the guitar, what other instruments do you play?
I play ALL percussion instruments. I play the accordion, harmonica, and the drums proficiently. However, I CANNOT PLAY PIANO. I suck. Accordion is fun! That is the only reason why I click with it.Do you perform all the instruments in your music?
I perform the acoustic guitar, accordion, djembe, cajon, shaker, harmonica, and tambourine on the cd. In actual performances I do the whole Bob Dylan guitar and harmonica thing. I also play with Accordion and harmonica to switch it up. For example my, "Time of Our Lives" song.Who are your major influences?
My influences are: Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Daniel Beddinfield, and Bob Dylan.I hear you play sports?
I am a football/rugby player. I played football all the way until my Sophomore year of College. I played one year at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. And for the past 3 years I have been on the rugby team here at Azusa Pacific University. Playing these sports help me cope with all the music I deal with throughout the week as a music major.Who is apart of your band?
Electric Guitar in the CD was Shawn Morones. Electric Guitar for live performances is David Banks. David is also my percussionist for acoustic sets. Bass is Josiah Mory, 1st piano is Austin Cross, second Piano is Nathan Fennell, CD Drums/Producer is Robbie Delong, and Drums for live performances is Justin CowdenYou also play for the indie folk band, “Go Indigo,” is that right? Aren’t they a band based out of Virginia? How does that work out for you?
It works pretty well. I am the only one outside of the state so I just join the band on summer and winter breaks. We usually have two to three shows every time I come down. We started in high school and have taken many breaks. We have all changed a lot and we hope to bring our new talents and thoughts back to the recording studio sometime.So, what is the future of Joel Simpson?
Joel Simpson will be able to make a living as a singer/songwriter. I will be influential to somebody. I will be an inspiration and a model for people that just want to be themselves. I will succeed. I will be a part of something great. I cannot wait until those doors open.
Are you looking for a record deal?
I have been looking for a record deal since I was 16-years-old. I WOULD LOVE A RECORD DEAL. It is hard being an indie artist. Even though records deals get a bad rap sometimes, they HELP OUT A LOT! They are who get you out there. I need that boost and I need that support from them. I would love to be on MTV and BET. I would love to be able to entertain thousands of people at a time. It is my dream and it will forever be my dream.
What can fans expect from you in the coming months? A tour perhaps?
I will have a show every month from January until July in 2010. I will be going on a tour in the summer. I have not set all the dates up yet. I am really hoping doors will open up that I won't have to go super broke on the tour.

From the new album, “Breathless” listen to this special 5-track preview with a special introduction by Joel himself on
To find more information about this artist, go to Joel Simpson's MySpace. Purchase his album on CDbaby

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