Known as a member of Christian group Newsboys, Phil Joel is releasing a new solo project on Jan. 22. The six-song EP, Better Than I Found It, was written, recorded and produced entirely by Joel with some help from his family and a few friends in an old carriage house-turned home studio on his property during last year’s quarantine, and is available for pre-order now.
Kicking off with the Beatles-esque title cut—a plea to leave our world better than we found it—the collection finds Joel reflecting on timely topics, including the embrace of a simpler life; seeking unity in a divided nation; offering comfort for the hurting; and mending broken relationships. Highlights of Better Than I Found It include “Sailing Speed,” an ode to the pursuit of life’s simple joys, and EP-closer “Alright,” an impassioned call to unity showcasing spoken word interludes from President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I’d felt for quite a while that I needed to take some time and musically get back to simply making art, but I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen,” Joel said. “Well, 2020 made it happen for me. In March, we got word that touring was off until further notice, so I went home and locked myself away in my studio. It put me in a position to have to make production decisions alone and create a sound that’s truly me.”
Auckland, New Zealand native Joel first arrived in the United States in 1994 to join one of Christian music’s most iconic bands, Newsboys. During his 12-year tenure in the Platinum-selling group, Joel was featured on such seminal albums as Take Me To Your Leader and Step Up To The Microphone. Rejoining Newsboys in 2018, along with founding member Peter Furler, the supergroup has since played hundreds of shows around the country and released Newsboys United in 2019. In addition, Joel has seven solo albums to his credit, he founded and fronted the acclaimed worship band Zealand, and his first book, Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are, a collection of personal stories and truths learned from his life and musical journey, was published in 2019 by Thomas Nelson’s Emanate Books.
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