South East London born Joel Culpepper (Pronounced KUHL-PEPPER) is among a fresh crop of emerging acts breaking the mould. With a distinctive style inspired by British fashion and modern culture, Joel has been described as ‘the UK’s answer to Andre 3000 and Frank Ocean‘.
Since 2009 and the release of Joel’s first music project, ‘The Adventures of Pensmith’ (Mixtape), he has continued to impress with his distinguishing sound and strong stage presence. In 2011, Joel released his second Mixtape, ‘Joel Culpepper Meets J. Dilla’, tribute project to the late, great producer. The release generated considerable interest amongst bloggers and music fans, successfully showcasing Joel’s strong song-writing skills and quirky vocal style.
Joel’s debut EP, ‘Skydive’ was released independently in 2012. With ‘Skydive’, Joel for the first time garnered attention from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra in terms of radio airplay, interviews and interaction via social media. George Ergatoudis, (then Head of Music, BBC Radio 1) tweeted: “UK’s answer to Frank Ocean?” The project takes listeners on a storyteller’s journey of love and life’s lessons. It continues to generate fresh interest and has received support from DJs such as, DJ Target, Trevor Nelson, Annie Mac, Charlie Sloth and Toddla T.
In 2014, Joel was selected as BBC Introducing artist of the week for one week in June and also invited to perform on the BBC Introducing stage at Bestival. Joel has performed at renowned venues and festivals such as: Sydney Opera House, Palais Theatre Melbourne, QPAC Theatre Brisbane, Hammersmith Apollo, Jools Holland’s Boisdale, Cargo, XOYO, Village Underground, Jazz Cafe, Boomtown festival, Bestival and Glastonbury.
His band, ‘The Transformers’, provide the musical backdrop for his shows, which push boundaries and offer audiences an intense and energetic set of music. Living up to their name, each musician plays at least two instruments – ‘transforming’ during Joel’s dynamic live performances.
In May 2015, Joel had the honour of joining Paloma Faith on her Australian tour as the main support act. Performing in packed venues, including the iconic Sydney Opera House, Joel gained new fans and praise from the Australian media for his notable performances.
“Plenty of similar talents have gone before and failed, but Culpepper, possessing perhaps the best British male voice since Omar – no lie – deserves to sell albums.” – The Brag magazine (Australia)
In 2016, Joel was among a select few acts to receive coveted support towards his latest EP, ‘Tortoise’, from The Momentum Music Fund – a partnership between the PRS Foundation and Arts Council England, in association with Spotify.
On 13 January 2017 ‘ Tortoise EP’ was released via Pledge Music. It features production by Grammy award winning producer Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, James Bay); Morgan Nicholls (Gorillaz, Muse) and Rich De Rosa (Rita Ora, Example); American producer Roy Davis Jr (Mary J Blige,Seal); Swindle (Little Dragon); Kay Young (produced B.I.G on Skydive); Jools Holland’s Musical Director Phil Veacock, scored and arranged strings and horns.
Tortoise creatively represents another milestone in Joel Culpepper’s growing music career. It points to the timeless lesson of the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ story, which listeners can identify with and find inspiration for their own journeys. “If I can interpret the very core of someone’s heart in song to the point of them singing it back to me, it’s probably the coolest thing I could ever do“– Joel Culpepper
“This guy’s going to be massive” – Jamie East, Virgin Radio