Adventure. Imagination. Authenticity. These three words explain the art and the heart of French Canadian worship artist Joel Augé (pronounced ‘o-jhay’).
Adventure: As one of 11 children in a boisterous and musical family with plenty of acreage on which to run, every day growing up was full of adventure. He now has a beautiful wife, Michelle, and two girls, Addison and Avery. Beyond that, not much has changed.
Imagination: Since the age of 8, Joel’s vivid imagination has compelled him to combine words with melody. Today, in addition to making music that’s been featured on Canadian National Network Television (CTV, CBC, Global), Lifetime Television, The Hallmark Channel and ABC, the creative contents of his head live largely in his work at HitGrab, Inc., an Internet marketing company.
Authenticity: The grace of God reached out to Joel when he’d made a terrible mess of his life. His relationship with Jesus began as a response to grace, unforgettable mercy that demands total transparency in his life, his ministry, and in his music.
Joel's music marries the realities of these three words within the context of a life of worship. The result is unlike anything you’ve heard before. A native of Flamborough, Ontario, whose passion for music has found him recording since 1999 -- fronting three distinctive bands -- Joel has always felt at home smack in the middle of the sacred/secular road. For him, it’s the same road. “The balance between artist and worshiper is a heart thing,” Joel says. “If you’re a Christian and you’re making art, you are in some way sacrificing your art in worship. My art, the thing I create, even though it’s not 100% congregational all the time, I consider it an act of worship… It’s a daily struggle to put our ego aside, but ultimately, I’m nowhere near as important as the one I’m singing to.”
So this bi-lingual, multi-talented songwriter and itinerate worship leader for Flamborough Baptist Church takes every opportunity to share his art -- his unique lyrical perspective and unforgettable delivery -- and his heart with people from all walks of life. From World Youth Day, a Catholic gathering of over 700,000 youth, to mainstream stages across Canada to television audiences across North America, the UK, France, and Australia, Joel writes and sings with one intention: to live for, and liﬅ the name of Jesus. “I want to be as real with God as I can possibly be,” Joel explains. “The impact he’s had on my life is undeniable. He has cured my heart. His constant tugging at me is proof that He loves me. He doesn’t call us his ‘bride’ for nothing. It’s because he loves us and he knows us… So I’m intentional about showing that God is who He says He is.”
The concept of God in passionate pursuit of His children is a pervasive theme throughout Joel’s recordings, a melodic, eclectic collection of love and life songs.
“Our relationship with God should be as authentic as our broken hearts can make it.” Joel says. “If I really believe what I’m singing, if we really live out what we believe, if we really love others well, they will respond. People respond to authenticity because there’s so little of it in the world.”
Ultimately, it’s a matter of trust, he adds. “Gravity and the counterforce of the Son of God, that tension holding us up -- it’s such a cool thing to think about how Jesus does that. And it’s a reminder not to be too afraid with all the tension going on in the world. I want to get that across somehow.”
In Joel’s songs and more, it’s the adventure, the imagination, the authenticity, the passion of Joel’s life -- all gifts from the heart of our loving God -- that make his music special.
“I’m not done writing songs for God and for God’s people,” Joel says. “I will forever do this. I’ll write songs for TV and for film, but my purpose in life is to write songs for him. They’ll all be songs for him."