Were you brought up with music?
Music was always in the house: mum was always Teddy Pendergrass and Luther Vandross… Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, a bit of Gloria Estefan, a lot of ballad-y stuff. I remember going to school with the radio on everyday, always surrounded by music. My love for it just grew, no one in my family really made me musical but we all love it. In college I found all this new-soul music, from D’Angelo, Musiq Soulchild, Raphael Saadiq and Jill Scott. Then I went back more and found Prince and David Bowie and was just like oh my god I need this in my life, I need more. I found a lot of who I am then.
What has inspired you through that?
I think just a drive to be the best artist I can be. I look at Bowie and I look at Prince and I see artists who are themselves and who are celebrated for that. That’s what makes me want to do it more and to be more myself. When I see those artists, and they don’t have to be soul or a specific genre, they’ve just got to be real and influential. I want to bridge the point of completely being myself to where people recognise that, and can say “hey that’s Joel”.