Wrap Up And Watch Out: Joel Culpepper
South-east London's Joel Culpepper is about unleash his hip-hop/soul-infused sound onto the public, with an aim to firmly establish himself in the UK’s urban music scene. Darren Richards caught up with the rising star to talk about his future plans, exclusively for The Wrap Up. Remember where you heard of him first...
The Wrap Up: Joel! Tell us a bit about yourself…
Joel Culpepper: My name is Joel Culpepper – which is an original Bajan name, believe it or not – and I’m a singer-songwriter/rapper. I write progressive soul, hip-hop and alternative music, with a catchy hook or two.
TWU: Growing up, what artists did you listen to?
Joel Culpepper: Wow! Have you got an hour? (Laughs) I grew up in a soul household, listening to Motown religiously every Sunday. The likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Luther Vandross, Jazzie B, Gladys Knight, Omar and the list goes on. I got more eclectic in my later years, listening to everyone from Paul Weller to Kano. I got into music much more as a teen. I found the more obscure it was, the better.
TWU: What makes Joel Culpepper different from other artists out there already? Describe your sound…
Joel Culpepper: I'm just trying to be me! We can get caught up in being popular, but that won’t always align with you as an artist. My sound has energy and passion. You can hear that my influences are deep with hip-hop (A Tribe Called Quest era). The need to make music that inspires action and positive feeling makes Joel Culpepper different.
TWU: How do you hope to establish yourself even more this year?
Joel Culpepper: I think I like the idea of taking risks. I think establishing yourself comes hand in hand with a risk. I want to gig a lot more also, doing shows up and down the country. Maybe even a couple of festivals! There is also a lot more music to come, so look out for that as well.
TWU: You’ve released two previous mixtapes already, haven’t you? Tell us a bit about those…
Joel Culpepper: My first mixtape, ‘The Adventures Of Pensmith’, was produced by Kay Young. My second mixtape, ‘Joel Culpepper Meets J Dilla’, was produced by J Dilla and Blackmale Beats. They're both free downloads. The second project was a tribute tape dedicated to the late, great, J Dilla.
TWU: Tell us about your current project?
Joel Culpepper: ‘I Love Ginger Beer’ is the current project that I’m working on. It’s my first EP, so I’m really excited! We’ve worked with some great people on it and involved some of the world’s best musicians. It’s produced by Blackmale Beats, who fully encompass hip-hop and soul. I think what we have started is something that we will always be proud of. That project will hopefully be dropping at the end of summer.
TWU: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2011?
Joel Culpepper: I hope to get continued love and support, because it’s been great so far. I just hope that I can continue to deliver music that I love doing and that people love listening to.
Stay up to date with Joel on Twitter - www.twitter.com/JCulpepperMusic
Words: Darren Richards (@TOTR)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)