Dream Records is proud to announce the signing of Joel Vaughn. Nominated by NewReleaseToday.com's We Love Christian Music Awards as The Next Big Thing, Joel first stepped into the music scene with his self-titled EP which included a song, "Don't Lose Hope" which was written by Jordan Feliz. Joel also gained recognition after his song "In This World" was remixed by famed producer, Unikron and then selected by Dude Perfect to be featured in their video which garnered 10 Million views.
Kinetic will be the artist's first studio album on Dream Records and features the radio single "Wide Awake" which in just a couple of weeks is New And Active on the Billboard Christian Hot AC / CHR chart. The album was produced and co-written by David Thulin with two tracks (March On / Hysteria) also co-written by Jonathan Thulin. The album is full of introspective lyrics with brilliant melodies.
Hallels: Thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself, who is Joel Vaughn?
Thank you for having me!
To start, I am a singer, songwriter, & worship leader based out of Amarillo, Texas. I have been married to my lovely wife for 10 years and we have two children. One of those children is a newborn so we have our hands full.
Hallels: Prior to your new EP "Kinetic," you have released three independent albums, which were more rock based while "Kinetic" has a more pop feel. Why did you change your musical focus for this new EP?
That question has more depth than I have space in a paragraph to answer but I will do my best! I have always wanted to venture into the pop genre. It actually comes naturally to me because it's the first genre I remember listening to as a kid and really gravitating toward it. My last three albums were heavily influenced by the fact that I lead worship in various churches so over the years I have spent most of my time playing and writing on the guitar. I didn't really know how to get the pop sounds I was chasing from an instrument that naturally lends itself to rock. The only collaboration I have had in my state is with artists who were doing the same thing. At the same time I was seeing a pattern with every place I performed at outside of Texas. I have always written about God's love for us and how he views us as his children and while what I was saying is very true the style didn't always resonate with the people I really wanted to reach- youth that didn't know about Jesus.
Sometime's I feel like the music we write about as christian adults can be lofty concepts for people who have never heard about Jesus. Not just lyrically but musically as well. I love how in God's kingdom we are diverse in just about every way possible and especially musically. If you walk into a church in the south you are most likely to experience a common worship experience that we are all familiar with that is driven by a worship leader and a full band. Further north you might walk into a church that the worship is led by a DJ or a rapper. While some may not understand their choice of genre one thing is certain when you walk into the room- the Holy Spirit is there. That is the most important thing because no matter what your taste in music is, if you want to see lives changed then he is all that matters.
So to sum it up, I love pop music but I've either lacked the knowledge on how to create it or I've been to scared to dive in because I was afraid of what people might think. At the end of the day it doesn't matter because if one single person comes to Christ because of something I write or sing then it has all been worth it.
Hallels: "Kinetic" is released via Dream Records. Why did you choose to work with Dream? What does Dream bring to this new EP that you appreciate?
I was introduced to Dream by my friend David Thulin. At the time David and I were working on "Kinetic" as an independent project. He put me into contact with the General Manager of Dream and after a few conversations with them I really believed we were on the same page. They are very forward thinking in the way they promote, build & encourage artists. They understood who I wanted to reach and why. They understood that I wanted to try something different and fully supported it. That's what they are about! It took some time to get everything going but it was an easy decision for me.
Hallels: Why did you name the record "Kinetic"? How do you think this record will encourage both Christians and non-Christians?
I named this record "Kinetic" for a few reasons. The definition of Kinetic is: "of relating to, or resulting from motion." The first & obvious answer is stylistic. When I was writing I thought about the focus of this music & I realized it made me want to move my feet. It has a dance feel to it. Secondly, It is a departure from anything I've recorded so it was a musical journey of progression & moving forward. The third answer to that question is much more metaphorical. I not only wanted the music to motivate people to move but I wanted the lyrics to do the same.
"Kinetic" is a call to move and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I don't believe we are designed to be stationary or complacent. There are literally billions of people who don't know Jesus. If you look at how kinetic energy works in the form of a Newtons Cradle you will notice that on it's own it is static. It does not move and it is just an object. But when one of those weights are moved forward they crash into the other and suddenly there is a chain reaction. They are all moving together in unison. It's a beautiful picture of who God calls us to be as the church. The Holy Spirit is moving and active and if we allow him to move through us we can accomplish so much through him. So in short, "Kinetic" is a call to action; to move and be his hands and feet.
Hallels: Not long ago we did an interview with Jonathan Thulin. Thulin, I believe, co-wrote a few songs with you. What's it like writing with him?
I started writing with Jonathan about two years ago. I don't know that I have ever written with someone as talented or clever as he is. He makes the process so easy. While most of us are scrambling to come up with an idea for days at a time, he essentially walks into the room and finishes a brilliant idea in seconds and at the most hours... My first experience writing with Jonathan was a co-write we did for my last self titled EP on a song titled "Loved By You". I brought an idea to him and we put words to it. The song was originally in 4/4 time and after singing through the chorus one time he said, "Alright, that's great so now let's do it in 6/8" I was like.... "Um, what???" If you don't know anything about music that usually isn't easy or even possible. For him it was a breeze! Jonathan is a couple of years younger than I am but musically he is incredibly wise and gifted beyond
many people's years. I genuinely love writing with him and I know many other artists who feel the same way.
Hallels: I love "Far Away" which you wrote by yourself. For our readers who may not heard the song yet, briefly tell us what the song's about. What inspired to write this song?
Far Away has a threefold meaning. At the time I felt like I was in a spiritual desert and like I was so far away from God. I wanted to be in fellowship with him and in his presence but something felt like it was in the way. Around that time I was taking my daughter to school and she noticed early that morning that the moon was in her words "so big..". I thought it was cute and it brought a smile to my face. Then she asked the question, "Daddy, why is the moon so far away? I want it to be closer".
Again, I chuckled but then suddenly it brought about a very real feeling. We are small, insignificant and sometimes sinful people. Right there in the car I felt so very far away from God. Because the moon is so big and so far away yet it pales in comparison to the size of the rest of the universe. I thought, "How could God be aware of me in this massive universe, much less love me for who I am?" My desire to be closer to Jesus increases with every day that I realize how small I am but how great his love is for me that he would take my punishment & sin and cast it far away. I deserve death yet he died FOR me. That will always be amazing to me- it is literally amazing grace. Ultimately, God is not far away from us. He is our hope and he is always with us. This song serves as a reminder to myself and hopefully to many others that we are not alone.
Hallels: Being a worship leader, have you thought of doing a live worship album yourself?
I currently serve as a worship pastor and I love to lead others in worship. I don't know what future projects God has in store for me but I'm seeking his will and the message that he has for me to give.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to find out more about you and your new music, where can they go?
"Kinetic" releases on April 22 and right now you can pre-order it on iTunes by following this link: http://smarturl.it/Kinetic