There has been a certain buzz around the UK music scene over recent years, which is likely to serve as inspiration for young people who want to pursue a career within the music industry.
Joel Lancaster is a 20-year-old singer from Croydon, who performs under the name of JL. He says: “Singing has always been something that I could do from a young age. My voice was handed down from my mum, but I started taking singing seriously from the age of 16.”
Joel originally wanted to become a basketball player, but he decided to pursue a singing career once he learnt that a management company was interested in working with him.
This is despite Joel never having any professional voice training, instead teaching himself everything he knows. However, voice training is something he’d love to do, as he believes that there is “ALWAYS room for improvement and development.”
Joel is an RnB artist – although he says “I like to try and be versatile, so I look forward to trying most types” – which also happens to be his favourite genre of music.
Two of Joel’s favourite artists, Tank and Eric Bellinger, are also his main sources of inspiration. He says: “They are both amazing song writers and they also have two of the best voices in my opinion, and I always love their music and their vibe.”
Tank’s work ethic is also something that Joel has strong admiration for, because “he constantly has bangers, but at the same time, he is writing bangers for other artists, always in the studio laying stuff down. He is just always on the go.”
Joel has put time into building up his music credentials, enabling himself to do more than just sing. He has spent time recording, writing and producing his own music – he even used his own money to purchase equipment to teach himself how to produce music.
Performing live is something that Joel has only started doing fairly recently, but his performances are starting to become “more and more frequent, as people have started requesting for me to perform at their shows”.
He has performed at the Nexus Showcase at the Elixir Bar in Camden Town (Jan 2015), Contagious Sounds (Valentine Special) at the Electric Social in Brixton (Feb 2015) and the UK Unsigned Hype (USH) Awards at the O2 Arena in London (Jan 2015). In fact, his greatest musical achievement so far is winning the Best Unsigned RnB Newcomer 2014 award at the USH Awards evening in January.
Despite working towards a career in music, Joel is studying to be a gas engineer. He says that it is “something to fall back on if my singing doesn’t work, but I’m sure it will”. Joel’s ultimate goal would be to get recognised and signed by a major record label, and become a mainstream artist. However, if that didn’t work out, the he would love to just write songs for artists – “As long as I am doing music I am happy”.
Joel encourages young people to be brave, go after their dreams and “never hold back”. He says: “I think it is better to try and fail than not to try and never know, because that step of courage could be the step you need to take for the road to success.”
He believes that young people should work hard to achieve what they love, as “without hard work they might as well not bother trying”. Joel said: “You have to put in looaaddsss of hard work and stay determined, motivated and consistent… Things never come so easy.”
Joel also encourages aspiring singers to “just go for it! Any negative, you turn it into a positive.” As he puts it, “Music is what everybody wants so be that person providing it.”
One of the things that is most special about Joel is that he would love for his music career to make a difference one day. He says, “If I am able to influence people through my music then I feel that I would be a huge success and it would be an amazing feeling, because I’ll then know my music is personally touching people.”