Phil Joel is one of Christian music's most recognizable folks. Sporting long, curly blond hair and epic bell-bottoms, the former (and sort of current) Newsboys member doesn't seem to age and maintains a contagious level of energy.
As his current band, Zealand, unveils its first full-length album, Liberated (click here to listen), newer fans might be wondering more about this boisterous bassist. To that end, here are ten facts about Phil Joel:
1. Joel isn't his last name.
It's his middle name; his full birth name is Philip Joel Urry
2. He's best known as a bassist/vocalist for Newsboys
He was in the band from 1994-2006, but has rejoined them for the Newsboys United Tour, sharing the stage with the current band plus former frontman Peter Furler. If you've heard "Entertaining Angels," you've heard Joel at his heyday with the band.
3. He has released a few solo albums.
While still in Newsboys, Joel released the projects Watching Over You (whose title track hit No. 2 on Christian Hit Radio), and Bring It On, which has nothing to do with the Kirsten Dunst film. In 2008, he released The New Normal.
4. He's also released a whole line of kids and family products!
The "deliberateKids" projects include a kids-focused rock album, a conversation-starting card game, a 16-week family activity/devotional guide, and even some temporary tattoos!
5. He toured with Katy Perry.
Sort of. While Katy Perry was in Christian music--known then by her actual name, Katy Hudson--she traveled the country with Phil on the Strangely Normal Tour.
6. He gets his family involved.
Besides his wife, Heather, being involved with deliberateKids and their deliberatePeople ministry, Phil's cousin, Roger Angove, plays bass for Zealand. He features his daughter, Phynley, on the song "Sanctuary" on the new Liberated album. She's older than this picture...
7. He didn't name this band after his home country.
In multiple interviews, Phil has said Zealand Worship is about "a state of being zealous for the land God has for each one of us, starting with our relationship with Him".
8. He started Zealand Worship before it was Zealand Worship.
For a few years before the band was announced in 2015, Phil and his fellow bandmates (Ben Bugna, Ben Garrett and Roger Angove) have been leading worship around the world, prayerfully considering where they should minister--completely under the radar.
9. He doesn't do social media.
Zealand has a presence on social platforms, but they basically say, "Sorry, we don't do social; check our website for details." This is an intentional choice, he says, because he experienced its addictive and self-focused tendencies.
10. He still rocks the bell-bottoms.
Marcus Hathcock is the Executive Editor of NewReleaseToday.com, a husband to Savannah, father of three and a worship leader living in Boise. He has released an EP, Songs For Tomorrow, and occasionally blogs at mheternal.com.
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