top of page

Interview: Joel Culpepper talks to us about new music, his YouTube 'Colors' performance, and

On Friday 28th September funky R&B performer Joel Culpepper will be playing his debut headline show at The Jazz Cafe, supported by Jaz Karis - buy tickets here.

We caught up with the musician ahead of his London show...

© Tim Cubitt - Source: Twitter

Having loved your support set for The Cuban Brothers, and then throughly enjoying your debut EP Tortoise, we are very excited for your next release - what direction and style can we expect on the new album?

Just a bit more funk, a bit more psychedelic, a bit more me. It’s sort of taking a life on its own which I’m really proud of.

Will you be touring the new record anytime soon? If so, which venues or festivals are you particularly hoping to perform at?

No tour dates as of yet but I would love to do Coachella, New Zealand’s Splore, Fuji Rock Festival in Japan would be cool and Glastonbury.

The track 'Far From Your Average', off of Tortoise, feels like a strong pitch to the James Bond production team, is this something you are working towards? We'd love to hear a new Bond theme take this type of direction.

Haha to quote Idris, “No”.

However, if the opportunity ever came I’d be ready to take it. It was a total accident. Once we had heard back what we'd done, we realised it had a Bond vibe. It’s a nice nod. I grew up watching repeats of Bond - Roger Moore is my guy!

As an upcoming artist already making waves in the music industry, who are your biggest influences?

I still loop The Doobie Brothers, I’m a Michael McDonald fan...Prince, The Beach Boys, Curtis Mayfield.

Mummy played Anita Baker a lot, and Diana Washington, but I found Stevie. I was also really into neo soul and learned a lot from those philly sounds.

Your performance of 'Woman' for the Colors channel has gained nearly 4 million views on YouTube, has this opened more doors for you? Do you have any plans for further YouTube performances, such as the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts?

If they call I’ll be answering.

Colors has been a great break for me and I am extremely thankful for the platform. Hopefully we can just keep showing what we've got as live performers.

Your physical performance style is extremely expressive and unique (highlighted in your Colors video) - does this come naturally to you or have you developed your performance through dance skills and other training?

I think my live stage performance was built by just doing it - the training ground really for any musician. Having a band and just getting the stage time really helped to know what I want to deliver. Seeing Prince live at Ronnie Scott’s changed me forever too.

Do you have any non-musical inspiration for both your writing and composition?

Real life BS, relationships, love, pain... it’s all there as inspiration to put in the music.

Having worked with renowned producers on Tortoise (such as grammy award winner Jimmy Hogarth, Morgan Nicholls, and Roy Davis Jr) who are your dream collaborations? Be that producers or musicians?

Well I'm currently working with one of them. Guy Chambers and I had a jam once at a random party and we became fast friends. He knows music inside out and taught me a lot in the studio. I’d love to also work with Thundercat, Joseph Mount from Metronomy, Tom Misch, Paul Epworth, and Flying lotus to name a few.

You can buy tickets here for Joel Culpepper's show at The Jazz Cafe on Friday 28th September.

© Ryan Taylor & Trouve la Groove

bottom of page