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If it seems like things are coming together for Phil Joel, he will take no credit for any of it. He’s simply “following the cloud.”

As his current band Zealand releases its first full-length album and prepares for a tour with his long-time band Newsboys, the Australian artist admits that it’s serendipitous how it all came together. He also claims no part in making it happen. Beyond making himself available, the Lord, he says, takes care of the rest.

That open-handed approach is Joel’s operational ethos whether he’s booking a tour or writing a song. It’s also why he’s feeling Liberated (buy) these days. He recently sat down with us to discuss the freedom he feels, why service is so important and what he thinks about another long tour with (and for) the Newsboys on their upcoming Newsboys United tour.

CCM Magazine: The first Zealand [Worship] EP came out in 2015, but I know you also have your own solo stuff as well. The tour with Newsboys is also this spring. What made it time for this Zealand project?
Phil Joel: You’re giving me more credit than I deserve, I think. [Laughs] I don’t make these decisions. These decisions make me. I’ve never been super-calculated in career building. I’ve always followed the cloud. I know that can sound super-spiritual, but it’s true. It’s been a wild, adventurous way of doing things. Rather than trying to figure out how to sell more or tour more, I’ve just been asking, “Lord, where do you want us? What do you want me to put my hands to?”

Thus, it’s led us to this point. We’ve worked hard to make music we think is correct. When I say correct, I mean right for now. It’s from a good place and feels true to whom we are and where we’re going. So that’s coming out and then the Newsboys thing lined up in a really fun way. I wish I could say it’s been a master plan to take over the world, but it’s not.


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About The Author

Matt Conner
Contributing Editor

Matt Conner is a writer/editor who has interviewed approximately 2,000 musicians, authors, directors, actors and other artists. He’s the Managing Editor for PledgeMusic, a former editor with Vox Media, and writes regularly for numerous print- and web-based publications, including Under the Radar, Relevant and the Indianapolis Star.

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