We had the good fortune of connecting with Joell Regal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joell, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
The easiest way for me to answer this question is to say that I didn’t choose art….. art chose me. I know that’s cliché as hell, lol, but that’s exactly what happened.

When I was very young, around 6 or 7 years old, my elementary school teachers started recognizing me for my writing abilities, and placed me in young author’s conferences. That same year, I auditioned for the school choir, and made it. From that point forward, music and writing remained a huge part of my life.

I grew up playing several different instruments – from piano, to all three clarinets (B flat, alto and bass), to cello, and ultimately guitar and ukulele. But I still hadn’t considered pursuing music as a career because that wasn’t encouraged where I came from. When it came to college, I was told to major in something that would guarantee me a job. So anything creative was not even an option. Music was something I continued to do simply because I enjoyed it.

My desire to learn guitar came as the result of me wanting to write songs. I had an epiphany one day: I’d been playing instruments and writing my whole life, surely I can write some songs, right? All the songwriters I knew at the time played guitar, so I figured that was the way to go. I bought a guitar, and the rest is history.

After I had written about 12 songs that got the approval of some of my peers, I figured it was time for me to start searching for someone to sing them. That proved to be fruitless. But one day, while I was sitting on the side of my bed practicing as usual, I heard a voice clear as day tell me that there were messages in my songs that people needed to hear, and I needed to be the one to sing them. I fought it for months, because even though I grew up singing in choirs, and had been playing guitar for about 2 years at this point, I was used to being in the background. Though I’d been in marching bands, concert bands, orchestras, and choirs, I was never the soloist; But God told me it was time for me to be in the forefront, and sing my songs. I didn’t think I was good enough. But my very first performance proved me wrong. It was at a bar in downtown Birmingham. I sang a song I wrote called Rainbows and Sunshine, and the people went CRAZY! I have literally been performing ever since. The ball started rolling, and has yet to stop. That was 9 years ago.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career is music. But I’ve had to work “jobs” in order to keep the bills paid, and my daughter taken care of. I’m most proud of my unwillingness to settle. I know so many artists who unfortunately have to treat their music as a hobby because work takes up so much of their time. Well to me, that’s not an option. I only work jobs that allow my music career to remain the priority, and not become secondary. I’m proud of that because I haven’t allowed society’s standards of what my life should look like to determine my choices. I only allow what I WANT my life to look like to determine my choices, and it’s worked out beautifully.

Has it been easy? No. Have I gone through periods of being broke? Most definitely! But when you believe in what you’re doing, and you know you’re living your purpose, the trials become stepping stones, knowing you’re gonna be ok regardless, while still living your best life. I’ve learned to trust the process, and that’s made all the difference.

What I want the world to know about my story is that I’m not perfect. I’ve faced challenges you’d have to see to believe. I haven’t always been confident, nor prepared, nor perfect, but I persevere. I don’t allow fear nor uncertainty to stop me. That’s why I’ve remained active and consistent, because I’ve continued to believe in the visions I’ve been given, even when no one else can see them but me. Know that your purpose, and your path to that purpose, are yours and yours alone. Everyone may not agree with what you’re doing, but do it anyway. It’s not their life, it’s yours.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I don’t get out much honestly, lol. But Birmingham is FULL of history! You have to visit the Civil Rights Institute when you’re here, because Birmingham was the hub of the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham is also a city that sits within a valley, surrounded by mountains, so hiking up Ruffner Mountain, Red Mountain, or Oak Mountain is most definitely worth experiencing.

The food scene here is also booming, so checking out historic restaurants like Fife’s, or more modern fare like Yo Mama’s is a must! There’s a ton of options in between as well!

And The Atomic Lounge is literally my fave bar in the city. It’s one of those places that is so unique and eclectic, yet feels like home when you’re there. It’s a place you have to experience for yourself…. don’t just take my word for it.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This shout-out first and foremost belongs to my mother. She’s the whole reason why I maintained an interest in music and writing while growing up. She was my first and biggest fan…. and still is.

My family in general has also supported my endeavors, especially my daughter. I feel so privileged, because I know too many artists and musicians who DON’T have the support of their family, who are actually discouraged from pursuing music because they don’t consider it a real profession. But my family has always been in my corner, and that support is priceless.

Last, but most definitely not least, I have to shout-out my fans. I live in a city where cover artists get a lot of love, and a lot of gigs. But I have a fan base that has rocked with me from the very beginning. They support me and come to my shows, regardless of the fact that they can’t always sing along with my music. They’re the real MVPs, because a performing artist doesn’t exist without an audience.

Instagram: @joellregal –

Facebook: Joell Regal – https://www.facebook.com/melodicwords2012

Youtube: Joell Regal – https://youtube.com/channel/UCmK_K6gRMU8zKDF4NhRzFNg

Image Credits
Mike Wilson, D. Jerome Smedley, Terrell Clark

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