Joel Poe: Never Give A Hater A Cookie
Joel Poe is one of the newest discoveries being presented through the Standby Storytellers record label, and his impassioned music is destined to leave a lingering impression. Drowkid, Joel Poe’s debut for the label, is packed with deeply introspective lyrics, conveyed by the artist with a powerful sense of conviction. Amazingly, as ardent as most of the Joel Poe fans are, there seem to be just as many haters and detractors who tend to visit Joel Poe’s very active Facebook page. But a message of positivity ultimately wins out, with Joel making a remarkable connection with others through the magic that is music. Here is a recent interview we conducted with the singer/songwriter on the rise to find out more his debut album for Standby, the deeply personal lyrics, dealings with both fans and haters on social media, and other topics of intrigue, Read on…
What was the name of the very first song you wrote, how old were you, and what was that song about?
The very first song I ever wrote is called “Rain my old friend”. I was 14 years old when I wrote it and the song is about my very first break up.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I started in a very small but beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. There I would play folk shows at coffee shops. I joined a couple of bands then later on formed one of my own and played at some venues. The music scene is very lively and diverse regardless of it being a very small town, but the diversity is just wonderful. The people are very nice and even tho I’m now living in Florida, every time I visit Btown- as we like to call it- I never miss the chance to play at a couple of local coffee shops and small venues.
How did you wind up signing to Standby Storytellers?
I was one day contacted by Neil Sheehan who is the owner and president of the label. We talked about the possibility of putting an album out there and I was very excited and also freaked out a bit. He’s been such a supportive person and being the label owner you would imagine he would let everybody else take care of business- but far from that. He has been in touch with me about every single detail and direction we decide to take and I’m beyond thankful for that.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Drowkid?
A Drow is a fictional creature- an elf of the darkness. The word Drow is also connected to the concept of desert. Drow Kid was the name I appeared as everywhere until the signing to Standby. It reminds me of how many things I’ve overcome and how much I’ve gone through. It reminds me of how writing music saved my own life. We agreed that naming the album “Drowkid” would be the closing of one chapter and the beginning of the next. The whole album is a storyteller Drow telling tales of love, hope, heart-break as well as supernatural stories.
Select two songs from title Drowkid and what inspired the lyrics.
I personally like “Wonderland”. The lyrics speak about my imagination and the great connection I have with my dreams. Being weird as it is, I can hardly ever sleep without having a dream and there’s a place I call Wonderland. Sometimes it feels like it’s real but nothing makes sense and our reality is so noisy that sometimes I wish this was a nightmare and my dream was real.
One of my favorite songs form the record is “A Wish for Something More“; this song is about being in love with a close friend but not having the courage to tell them. The so called “friend zone”. I would say the song is as funny as touchy in a sense and it was one of the first songs I ever wrote.
Obviously my two most personal songs on the album are “Annabel” and “Let it Out” but I think if you listen to them you know what’s up and I prefer not making any comments on them.
Have you played live yet and if so, how did the shows go? Any shows or tours coming up?
I’ve played at a lot of small venues and it’s something I love doing. You’re so close to the audience that it’s just like hanging out with them. We have a few things coming up this year and one of them is a desired tour we’re working to line up. We will keep everyone updated as far as touring and shows go.
If you could open up for any band or artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Oh I would totally love to open for Coldplay or Evanescence because they’re my favorites and I grew up listening to them. I’m very connected to their music and just stepping on the same stage would be a milestone.
When you make a post on Facebook, there seem to be as many haters as fans responding. How do you deal with the haters and how do you advise your fans to deal with the issue of cyber bullying?
The thing is some of my videos on Facebook get shared 14,000 or 16,000 times and when this happens I understand there’s a lot of people who have no idea who I am that are going to find me on their news feed because one of their friends shared the video. And that’s when I can really see up to what extent depression and stress has completely taken over our society. I believe if you’re sure of yourself you won’t feel the need of sitting behind a keyboard typing mean words to people you probably will never meet in your life. The people who do this have clearly a deficit in their lives, something that’s making them insecure about themselves and for such reason they find the need of putting “famous” people down because it’s like ranting they will most likely never see your comment or if they do they for sure won’t reply. If you’re a happy person or in the scale of happiness at least, I believe if you disagree with something you can still behave like a human and feel empathy for others therefore not throwing words that are unacceptable in the 21st century. It’s also a matter of educational levels and integrity as an individual- if you have a poor educational background family or academically-wise you’re likely to behave accordingly and therefore hate on everything you don’t necessarily like.
The way I deal with this and exhort everybody else to do so is by simply not giving them the chance of lowering to their level of toxicity. There are still most of us who live being human by the principals we were taught. Replying to a hater is like giving them a cookie; Never give a hater a cookie.
You’ve done several covers on your YouTube channel. Have any of the artists you’ve covered ever heard or commented on the songs?
I have mostly covered songs from old bands or artists that are no longer active so if they did I would be very surprised. But who knows!
What do you think of label mate Blake Bliss and would you ever want to do a tour together with him?
Label mate Blake is no longer a fellow but a familiar. The first time Neil introduced us we Skyped for 8 and a half hours. He’s such a nice person and we’ve connected spiritually. We play video games together, cheer each other up when we’re down and of course are planning on working together. We would both love to hit the road together for sure.
What advice would you give a young solo artist seeking a career in music and looking for a record deal?
Be bold. And don’t fear the haters- if you get haters chances are you’re doing something right.
What’s up next for Joel Poe?
Bunch of new covers in the oven. Pretty stoked to be posting them soon. The possibility of a tour and a new music video in the talking.
Any final words of wisdom?
Potatoes are friends not food.
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Joel Poe on Facebook