South-East London Alt R&B artist Joel Culpepper releases the first single ‘Don’t Mean I’m In Love’, from his stunning new EP ‘Tortoise’, impacting on June 2nd.
The 'Tortoise' EP emerged in January of this year, released via Pledge Music and represents a creative milestone in alt R&B singer and songwriter Joel's burgeoning career. It’s title inspired by the timeless and ever-apt tale of the 'Tortoise and the Hare', which speaks to Joel’s own evolution and with which he hopes listeners can identify and find inspiration for their own journeys.
‘Tortoise’ is a strong, confident collection with sweeping crescendos, orchestral arrangements and driving rhythms, unified by creative production that is never run of the mill. Joel’s intense soul vocals take center stage, gliding over the songs with dexterity and confidence. Joel champions individuality through his honest songwriting and unique take on traditional love songs. The EP features production from Grammy award winning producer Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, James Bay); Morgan Nicholls (Gorillaz, Muse), Rich De Rosa (Rita Ora, Example); American producer Roy Davis Jr (Mary J Blige, Seal); Swindle (Little Dragon); Kay Young (produced B.I.G on Skydive); Jools Holland's Musical Director Phil Veacock, scored and arranged strings and horns. It journeys through different genres drifting from traditional 60’s and 70’s inspired R&B to contemporary electronic R&B and hip-hop, creating a signature ‘retrofuturist’ sound.
The first single taken from the EP is “Don’t Mean I’m In Love”, an edgy alt- soul track about the politics of love, complete with hypnotic synth pads, fuzzy guitars and vocals that alternate between plaintive alto and spine tingling falsetto with ease. Other key tracks include future singles “My Father’s Son” - driven by a rapid percussive drumbeat layered with smooth guitars echoing Curtis Mayfield and the funky drama of stand out “Woman”.
Joel, who has been compared to the likes of Frank Ocean and Andre 3000, was among a select few acts to receive coveted support from the The Momentum Music Fund - a partnership between the PRS Foundation and Arts Council England, in association with Spotify.
Since 2012 and the release of Joel's debut EP, 'Skydive', Joel has garnered attention from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1Xtra. George Ergatoudis, (then Head of Music, BBC Radio 1) dubbed him as "UK's answer to Frank Ocean". Joel continues to generate fresh interest with continued radio support from DJ Target, Trevor Nelson, Annie Mac, Charlie Sloth and Toddla T.
Joel has also had extensive performance experience including joining Paloma Faith as the main support act on the Australian of her tour (playing a show at the iconic Sydney Opera House) as well as performing at renowned venues all around London and the UK. His next headline gig, in support of his Tortoise ep, is at London’s Camden Assembly on March 30th.