From textbooks to the recording studio


He bares all the sleek and lean resemblances of the unstoppable machines rolling out of Motown during the 1960s and I’m not talking about automobiles. Henry Ford himself couldn’t assemble such vocal smoothness and panache but Berry Gordy most certainly would’ve had the girls swooning as they stepped to the sound of Chase Law student and R&B songster, Joseph Nevels.

In a young career that has taken him from Miami, Los Angeles and New York City, Nevels’ humble roots in Northern Kentucky manage to keep him grounded. The second youngest of six children, Nevels was never a stranger to music. His interests differed from his brothers, while they often wanted toys to play with; Joseph was pleased to receive a drum set or karaoke machine.

“Looking back, I would sing and play the keyboard for hours,” Nevels said.

Growing up with parents deeply rooted in church, it was inevitable that music would speak to the soul of Nevels. His love for music developed when he would listen to cassette tapes of Boyz II Men. He would write down the lyrics of his favorite songs until he had them memorized.

“I always paid close attention to lyrics,” said Nevels. “That’s why I can get into different kinds of music because I look at all emotional elements in lyrics.”
As a senior in high school, Nevels entered a music contest in Florida and won. His award was to be flown to Los Angeles where he got to witness a live “American Idol” finale. This revelatory moment made Nevels as certain as 10 dimes would buy a dollar that he would pursue a career in entertainment.
“I was being driven around in a limo and thought, ‘This is cool, I want to see what I can do with this,’” Nevels said.

After completing his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, Nevels would follow in the footsteps of his older brother and go to law school. Nevels aims to focus on entertainment law when he graduates from Salmon P. Chase College of Law next spring. Hoping to cut out the middle-man, Nevels strives to handle his own contracts in his career as a singer.
“Entertainment law goes hand in hand with a music career,” he said.
As one would imagine, balancing a life between law school, music and relationships presents a challenge. Nevels acknowledges the difficultly but is confident that his friends and family are in support of his career.

“My friends and family are very supportive of my career,” said Nevels, “They know that no matter what, I’ll take care of them and vice versa”.

Nevels performs live on a frequent basis but admits working on his new EP has put constraints on his live schedule. He has performed for students at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, the Sugar Bar in New York City and before 4,000 people in Fountain Square in Cincinnati.

Nevels has performed for both old and young audiences but prefers playing for college students. Being a consummate performer, Nevels can switch between the showman and the intimate lyrical interpreter depending on the age of his audience.

“I like performing for the college crowd because of the energy but I can become whatever I need to be for any age audience,” Nevels said.
Nevels’ set list consists of a combination of cover songs and self-written originals. He divulged his unique song-writing process, claiming to be more concerned with the lyrics than music first.

“I’ll start with the chorus and branch out from there,” Nevels said.
The first single off his upcoming EP was released in April 2012, titled “Presence.” Cinematographer Roman Lukjanenko directed the music video which can be viewed on his webpage, Cincinnati-based band, Pomegranates, meshes their indie-rock style with Nevels’ smooth R&B sound to create a simple throwback single with a modern twist.

“I wanted the music video to have a ‘50s feel with the falsettos and clothing styles but with a modern perspective,” Nevels said.
Nevels will continue focusing his energy on completing his upcoming EP to be titled “After Due Consideration” with a fall release date. When asked to comment on the title of the EP, Nevels divulged the meaning of the legal term in accordance to his music.

“I’m putting my time, sweat and feelings into this, so the EP is like my due consideration,” said Nevels. “If all people took accountability for their profession, their work would be better as result.”