I can’t believe this month is almost done! Well I mean I can, because February IS the shortest month, but still lol.
So what’s on tap for today? A brand new Artist Spotlight! :D Today I want to introduce you guys to a talented writer and all around creative being, Joel!
I began following Joel on twitter, early last year I believe, after seeing some of his beautifully inspiring tweets! I appreciated that he consistently had a positive tone and often had something upbuilding to say- and if you are on twitter, you know that that is not often the case lol.
So rewind to a few months back- Joel made a trip down to DC for his photo session and interview and we had a great time! I will forever love linking up with fellow creatives who are passionate about what they do and will continue to share them with you :)
So without further ado, meet Joel!
What is your name?
My full name is Joel Daniels. I go by Joel. Some folks call me MaG (my old artist name). Some call me J, or Joey…I call myself blessed though.
Where are you located?
I am located in the birthplace of Hip-Hop: Bronx, NY. It’s where I was born and raised.
What do you do?
Well, that’s a tricky question. My daytime 9-5 is that of a Discharge Planner for a nonprofit organization in New York City. Formerly incarcerated individuals who suffer from psychiatric disorders are referred to my office following their release from jail. It’s my job to connect and link them to other services within their respective communities.
But, what I REALLY do is make art. I act, I write, I rap…art over everything.
How long have you been a writer?
I guess I’ve been a writer for as long as I knew what putting words together to form a thought on paper actually meant. I was writing poetry around the 2nd grade. I was freestyling in my mama’s bedroom at around the age of 5. I used to write for the sports section of my elementary school’s newspaper. I had a rhyme/poetry journal by the end of 5th grade. I’ve never known anything else but writing; anything else other than rhyming words together.
How did you become interested in writing and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of your passion?
I guess it started very early on when my mom made sure I had a book in my hands. I always loved words. I was ordering books from Scholastic since kindergarten. My mom would buy me comic books and such. There is so much beauty in language.
I can honestly say that writing as an actual career didn’t seem like an option until 2013 when I won the Bronx Council of the Arts BRIO grant in poetry. I felt like that gave me credentials, and solidified that I could actual make money off of something I’d do if I was sleeping in a cardboard box.
Rapping didn’t really become a career choice until after college when I came back from school and realized fully that theater and acting wasn’t where I wanted to be at the time, and decided to throw myself into the music scene – showcases, recording, collaborating, and learning the ropes of the business. The DIY process of the music industry taught me A LOT about myself.
Who are some of your influences/inspirations?
D’Angelo, Nas, Yasiin Bey, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Newman, Stevie Wonder, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Toni Morisson, Junot Diaz, Sam Cooke, Gil Scott-Heron, Jay Z, Andre 3000…I’m just a big ass fan of art and lovers of art culture, also, those who can tell their stories through their mediums.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?
By far it’s my latest musical release (that dropped January 10th 2015 aka my birthday. Shameless artist and birthday plug! Go me!!!), “songs for charles”. It serves as sort of an ode to my father, as well as a depiction of where I am in my life currently. I think that project best reflects my growth as an artist, a Black man, and a human being.
What other types of creative work do you do?
Well, I’ve done some voiceover and commercial work. I’ve also done some modeling. I emcee different events in NYC. I’ve been doing more public speaking at middle and high schools in 2014 about creativity and finding your voice through your creativity. Wrapped up shooting in a short film I was acting in; did some theater stuff at the NYU Gallatin School earlier in this year. I just try and go where the art is.
What inspires you?
Life inspires me. Love inspires me. The world around me inspires me. Women inspire me. Other artists and their art inspire me. My mother inspires me. I’m in a constant search for inspiration wherever I may go, at all times. I try to keep my eyes open as much as I possibly can.
What keeps you motivated?
My purpose keeps me motivated. Knowing that I have a higher calling and that my source, which is love, is the catalyst for the all the art I attempt to create. My desire is to help create and shape a better, newer, world for ourselves and future generations. So that alone is enough to keep the blood pumping and juice flowing on a daily basis.
Any advice to fellow creatives (in your industry or otherwise)?
Be patient with yourself and your craft. Trust yourself. If you don’t see what it is you want in the marketplace, create it. Don’t sit on your ideas, you’ll think of new ones. Fail often and repeatedly, learn from those failures, and move forward. Be honest with yourself about the intentions behind whatever it is you’re creating. And share your art. Anything created and not shared is still a hobby; some folks say if you’re not making money, then your art is your hobby. BS. If you’re TRYING to make money off of your art, it ain’t a hobby no more.
Any other fun tidbits we should know about you?
Well, I love to read, and eat food. I really love me some naps. I like walking, A LOT. I meditate, I have a life coach, I shoot content for Beardbrand.com’s YouTube page and write for the Postbadbeard’s website. I’m also single, and like eating mangos.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Joel a little better! Please be sure to keep up with him on social media and go listen to his music- you will enjoy it :) I did! My slight contribution to Black History Month was doing an Artist Spotlight every week this month :) But I don’t want you to get used to this being a weekly feature lol. I will keep it regular, but it will end up being monthly or bi-monthly so stay tuned for the next talented creative next month!
Have a great Wednesday!