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Cincinnati, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Cincinnati, OH | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band R&B Progressive




"JSPH and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcareer"

JSPH envisions old-school Soul through a 21st-century filter on powerful 2015 EPs Rest and Rule

Joseph Nevels has followed a tangled Google map of life paths in his brief existence. But through all those disparate experiences, Nevels never abandoned music, and that tenacity resulted in two indescribably cool R&B/Soul/Pop EPs, 2015’s Rest and Rule and his Cincinnati Entertainment Awards New Artist of the Year nomination under the artistic reimagining of his given name, JSPH.

“I think it’s a matter of trying to be original, not limiting yourself to any category,” Nevels says. “I have foundations that are a part of who I am, but that doesn’t completely define what I do.”

Rest and Rule, soon to be joined by the impending Abide in a self-described trilogy of releases, are brilliant evocations of JSPH’s classic Soul/R&B influences (Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye), more contemporary classics (Prince) and current R&B/Pop sensations (The Weeknd, John Legend). JSPH and producer DJ Corbett perform and arrange everything with a fearless edge, an experimental sensibility and the expansive idea that anything is achievable.

“I’ve always been open,” Nevels says. “I try to appreciate the artistry — I think you can gain something from any style. I grew up with that older school Soul stuff; then I met different people and was exposed to all types of music. I was just keeping my ears open and paying attention.”

Calling JSPH’s EPs a trilogy implies a thematic connection, and Nevels is quick to acknowledge the philosophical link between his first three releases.

“They’re related and have their own feel,” he says. “I won’t go super deep, but Rest is first. With all the hustle in society today, people overlook the benefit of rest, not necessarily sleep but just breaking your pattern — fast food, social media, writing stories; for me it’s writing music. Whatever it is, it’s important to step away.”

“Once you have that foundation, after that comes Rule, which is doing whatever you do 100 percent, grinding it out,” he continues. “Abide is just maintaining the level of consistency.”Nevels’ backstory is beyond the belief of even the most inventive screenwriter. The Northern Kentucky native discovered music through his family early on; he was largely silent until he began to sing.

“When I was really small, I didn’t talk a whole lot. People were like, ‘Is something wrong with him?,’ ” he says, laughing. “But if I got to a karaoke machine or something, that was the greatest thing. I have an older sister and she would put Soul Train on, and I would be more interested in that than a normal 5-year-old. I don’t think there was ever a certain time where I made a conscious decision to do this.”

Nevels was a standout football star at Simon Kenton High School, but as a University of Kentucky redshirt freshman, he suffered concussions, which ended his gridiron dream.“I never wanted to be that close to home, so I transferred to Florida International (University) in Miami,” he says. “It was pretty amazing. It opened my mind to so many cultures — it was a whole different world. I like experiencing that diversity.”

After FIU, Nevels returned home and entered Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law, concentrating on entertainment and contract law. Even as Nevels pursued his legal career, he maintained a musical mindset.

“It would be easy to get distracted. We’d be in class talking about legal theories, and I’d get an idea and write it down in my casebook,” he says. “I know it seems confusing to some people, but music’s always been my true passion.”

Nevels was already recording on a relatively sparse level when he met Corbett through a mutual musical contact. Warned that the producer was odd and rarely left his home (an exaggeration, Nevels now says), he met Corbett and discovered a kindred spirit in more ways than one.

“We actually grew up 10 minutes from each other, but had never met,” Nevels says. “We even played sports against each other but didn’t know we were both into music until the last couple of years. He’s a real humble guy; he doesn’t talk about it, but he’s worked with all kinds of people.”

Just months after his 2014 Chase graduation, JSPH signed a publishing deal with Heyday Media Group in Los Angeles. That led to the song “Forever,” the first single from Rest, being used in the Lifetime movie Wuthering High School, a contemporary Wuthering Heights update featuring James Caan. Nevels subsequently met director Anthony DiBlasi, who has shot JSPH’s compellingly cinematic music videos.

In addition to his triumphant MidPoint Music Festival set last September, JSPH has played Bogart’s and the Ubahn Music Festival and is looking to expand his local-and-beyond presence. He’s working on the trilogy-completing Abide, but he’s also recorded stray songs apart from the EP that he’ll tease as singles and videos soon. He’s done collaborative work and would like to do more — local rapper Buggs Tha Rocka is an intriguing possibility — and the West Coast continues to loom as a potential destination. All JSPH needs to do is to keep doing.

“Not to be cliché, but if somebody sets their mind to do something, they can do it,” Nevels says. “The young kids that I mentor, I tell them that all the time. I had different people tell me, ‘How you gonna do that?’ or ‘You can’t be a singer.’ You just have to keep your mindset a certain way and keep good vibes around you. And you got to work. Hard.” - CityBeat

"Local alt-pop artist signs publishing deal"

FLORENCE – Local alt-pop artist JSPH (pronounced Joseph) recently signed a publishing administrative deal with Los Angeles-based company, Heyday Media Group.

According to http://www.heydaymediagroup.com/, Heyday focuses on administration, overseeing copyrights and seeking avenues to generate revenue, while focusing on bringing up the visibility and value of the artists' catalogs through various channels including promotions and media licensing.

The signing came about after JSPH started working with producer DJ Corbett who is also signed with Heyday.

Corbett forwarded some of the music they were working on to Heyday and then a conversation started, leading to a contract.

JSPH said he likes the way Heyday treats its artists.

"They really care about what we're doing," he said. "It's not just strictly looking at us like a product ... By getting our input on things and not trying to control everything creatively. And they work with a lot of charity groups, so I thought that was cool."

Another factor that attracted JSPH to Heyday is that it places its artists' music with TV shows, movie trailers, etc. He said people producing a Lifetime film have already reached out to use a song for a movie.

"Rest, Rule and Abide"

JSPH, also known as Joseph Nevels, recently released his debut project, "Rest," the first EP in the trilogy "Rest, Rule and Abide." He plans to release each one two months apart and wants to shoot two music videos per project.

The titles of the trilogy originated from a benediction his father used to read when he was a kid.

"It has a lot of relevance in regards to how everything came together," JSPH said.

"Rest" refers to Sunday being the first day of the week, according to JSPH.

"I think that if you're well rested, then your best work will come out," he said. '"Rule' is working. And 'Abide' is maintaining. On the surface, I believe we should work from rest, not work and then rest."

JSPH said he will focus on setting up a tour in 2015 after the trilogy is released.

"We want to get all of the content out, then bring up the awareness," he said. "I'm focusing a lot on recording right now. Once that's finished, touring will be next."

JSPH's overall goal is for his music to reach Europe.

"That's the main thing that I really want to do... Tour over there," he said. "I've always been interested in different cultures and traveling."

Musical origin

JSPH said he used to go by his full name, but changed it by taking out the vowels when he discovered himself as an artist and found his own sound.

His passion for music dates back to when he was a kid. He started singing in church when he was 6 years old.

"Instead of toys, the best thing I could get was a karaoke machine," he said.

JSPH is from Florence, but is currently living in Cincinnati. He sang in a choir before becoming involved in sports, playing football for Simon Kenton High School. Concussions forced him to redshirt during his first season with the University of Kentucky football team, and he eventually had to give up the sport altogether.

JSPH said he didn't realize music was something that could be turned into a career until he got older.

"I felt like music was something that chose me," he said. "Even if I tried to deny it or get away from it, it's always been there since I was young."

JSPH feels positive about the future of music, no matter how things may change in terms of how people listen to it.

"There always has been music and there always will be," he said. "It's just something that is so ingrained in what we do and it has the ability to do so many things like affect people emotionally and change somebody's whole day."

Defensive lawman

After his football career ended, JSPH transferred to Florida International University for a year then came back to UK and graduated. Following that, he earned his Juris Doctor at Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law, where he focused on entertainment and contract law.

He wants to use that experience to help him better understand the music industry.

"I want to be able to understand not only the creative side but also the business side," JSPH said. "That way when I start performing or touring, I'll be able to do what I want to do as far as business."

Reality of a local artist

Local artist Trademark Aaron, from Florence, has known JSPH for a few years from performing at music events such as Self Diploma's summer concert series at Fountain Square in Cincinnati.

Aaron said he appreciates JSPH's sound because it's subtle and not overpowering, as well as authentic and natural, not manufactured.

"He's a really talented dude and it makes it extra dope because we're both from Kentucky," Aaron said. "I like to see other people win and I'd definitely like to see him win."

JSPH said he hasn't necessarily thought of himself as the guy from Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati.

"I just keep a low profile and see it like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do … What my passion is," he said. "If that brings attention or accolades, that's fine, but that's not the main reason why I do it."

When you're performing in other cities, people see you differently than people do where you're from, so there is more hype, according to JSPH.

"There's a saying that says, A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home," JSPH said.

JSPH said it's hard for someone you grew up with to all of a sudden see you as an artist compared to someone who's never met you because that's all they've known you as.

"It's an interesting part of the journey," he said.

For more information on JSPH, visit his website, http://www.josephnevels.com/, or watch his latest video "Forever" from "Rest, Rule and Abide" here. - Cincinnati Gannett

"JSPH Review"


Nominated for Cincinnati New Artist of the Year by CityBeat.com, JSPH is blossoming into a soulful young artist who should be nominated for New Artist of the Year at next year’s Grammys. JSPH is currently working on the third extension of his EP trilogy “Abide”, “Rest”, and “Rule”, the first two parts of the trilogy, are fantastic.

JSPH recently released “Breathe”, which will be featured on the latest extension of his EP. “Breathe” is a hard-hitting, sub-knocking, progressive R&B tune. You will continue to find your head rocking to the behind-the-beat drum samples that tune perfectly in with the hard hitting sub kick and bass; mixed with gospel chop breathy vocals is a recipe for the repeat button.

The song is an anthem of letting go of all those bad demons that can ache you for days. He mentions his anxiety that his lover causes him and reminds himself to breath out the bad in his head. As JSPH states himself, “The song transitions from a dark poetic intro into a modern soul anthem.” The beat drop unexpectedly catches your attention and emotion, flavored by his up front and intimate vocals. In the effort of not over producing and keeping a song true to its lyrical intentions is extremely hard, JSPH is able to drive home a soulful anthem while keeping the story line in check. - MTWD (Music Til We Die)


Still working on that hot first release.



Featured on Pharell's OTHERtone on Beats1 radio, JSPH is a progressive artist making waves in the industry. Nominated as Cincinnati's "2016 New Artist Of The Year", his new singles "Breathe" and "Under the Sun" have been featured in top music blogs in the US including DJ Booth, Hillydilly and others. They were also showcased in several music blogs abroad and Spotify's Release Radar and Discover Weekly playlist. Countries such as the UK, Philippines, Brazil, Sweden and Canada are among his top online streamers.  JSPH's music will also be featured on major networks Lifetime and MTV in '17.  

Eclectic artist JSPH’s soulful melodies were established as a young child. His craftsmanship led him to push the sonic boundaries of pop and soul; evolving, yet respecting tradition.  This developed into a signature style that one may classify as a hybrid of indie, electronic and progressive soul.  It creates a canvas that proudly wears its influences on its sleeves; such as Prince, James Blake, Toro y Moi, The Weeknd and FKA Twigs and Sam Cooke. 

JSPH grew up in Northern Kentucky and recalls always having an inescapable passion to write and sing. He would copy down the lyrics of songs as a child, study them, and then perform them in front of family and classmates. Later on, while pursuing law, JSPH remembers sneaking off to the fine arts library to again write and study lyrics. His casebooks would be full, penning lyrics in the margins. JSPH went on to graduate from law school, but instead of raising his voice as an advocate in the courtroom, he continues to craft his voice and follow his musical passions. 

JSPH's music remains persistent, streaming steadily in both the US and internationally. He's performed in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Cincinnati.  He is currently recording Abide.  JSPH continues to stand out on a unique wave -  finding a way to channel the feelings of the 80’s and 90’s era while also maintaining his modern artistic identity.

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