For King & Country has been a powerful voice of gospel and entertainment music for five years now. Since they first started, they’ve amassed an envious fan base that speaks of the quality of their music on a spiritual level, as well as an emotional one. In 2016, they decided, along with their brother, Ben Smallbone, to branch into filmmaking, producing the movie, Priceless, which turned out to be a delight on the entertainment front (you can read the TBAP review here)! Staring in this movie was one of the brother’s in the band, Joel Smallbone. Joel took some time out to answer a few questions. Join our chat below!
Miranda ~ Hello Joel! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself and, what is music to you?
Joel: My brother, Luke, and I, who make up the two front men of FOR KING & COUNTRY, have been a band for 5 years now; it’s been a really humbling and thrilling journey—a lot of highs and lows, and we’ve experienced some very special moments that you dream about as a musician.
Music is inherently spiritual—if you traveled to a remote tribe in the corners of the world with no electricity, no iPods or iPhones, one thing you would find is rhythm, melodies, and lyrics. It’s within our lifestyle, our celebrations, and even in mourning. It’s a spiritual, universal language.
Music also builds us up and tears us down, as well as emotionally shifts us from within. Our hope as musicians is to take grand themes of stories of hope and present them in a way that’s culturally relevant, but to also invest in a deeper love for each other and for God.
Miranda ~ You recently branched into movies and filmmaking. What inspired the movie, Priceless, and, do you intend to continue in film. If so, why?
Joel: The script, for both the movie and the book, is an extension of the Priceless message that so deeply resonates with our community. We are moved as young men in the middle of the journey of marriage and family—understanding what it means to love a woman, to protect your eyes, and to treat women, in general, with respect. I went to Ben about making a film on this topic, and he recalled editing a documentary—a 60 second piece of a man who had grown up in the world of slavery where his family was involved in the recruitment of slaves, prostitution, and human trafficking. With a blurred face, due to protective services, he shared that he’d had a massive conversion and used the system against itself to pull the ladies off the street. He ended up falling in love and marrying one of the women he’d saved from slavery. We married his story and ours, and handed off the synopsis to two screenwriters.
For future films, there are a few concepts that we have been discussing. At the end of the day, we are very focused on Priceless. If this film works, we believe we will have more opportunities. We also believe that if we remain in touch with God, who is the Creator of art and all creativity, then our hope with this inspiration is to tell stories that are culturally relevant and creatively inspiring.
Miranda ~ What audience does your heart sing/act for—the lost, heartbroken, those in despair etc.?
Joel: One of the things that we have felt very moved to share about as a group is celebrating a woman’s worth, and also charging us as men to love extraordinarily, and that chivalry is alive and well. On occasion we are asked what this really means. When you put flesh to that statement in a modern context, chivalry to us, in a romantic way, is to truly respect, honor, and love a woman well, and to do so even beyond romance, with family—with our mums and sisters—and to truly celebrate the beauty, strength, and dignity of a woman.
THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Boots or Sneakers? Boots
T-shirt or Polo shirt? T-shirt
Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner—love Thai food!
Winter or Fall? Fall
Leather jacket or Blazer? Blazer
Thank you, Joel, for stopping by today!
About Joel Smallbone
Joel Smallbone is one of the driving creative forces—writer, producer and front man—of the two-time Grammy Award winning group for KING & COUNTRY. Along with his brother, Luke, the Australian duo’s soaring melodies, driving rhythms, theatrical instrumentation, and personal themes have served to drive the group’s success. Billboard’s New Artist’s to Watch for 2012 has since sold nearly 1,000,000 albums, topped the 100,000,000 mark in total streams of their music, and headlined a U.S. Arena tour. It has been a lifelong dream to explore filmmaking, and so in the 2016 movie, Priceless, not only does he realize this dream, he also makes his big screen acting debut for a feature film whose subject matter he’s long felt passionate and committed to.