Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and gentlemen, who better a role model for gearing up for this season than Joel and Luke Smallbone? If anything, they certainly do offer a nice gift suggestion with the upcoming release of Priceless on DVD (Feb. 14, 2017—buy), and, as Joel would say, it is “the little thoughts that are quite special.”
Modest as Joel may be (and, truly, he is), Priceless has been a big deal—both on-screen, and off, with for KING & COUNTRY’s companion radio single—the notions and messages aren’t anything new or just a nice gig-support for the Brothers Smallbone. As you will read ahead in my recent early morning conversation with Joel, as he and wife Moriah Peters drive around in their current dwelling of Franklin, TN, it’s been an entire family affair and trait from their humble start as a back-up band to their big sister.
CCM Magazine: What has it been like for you to be working at such a high-level in the acting world, when you’ve already accomplished so much as a musician? Is this natural—is the “Hollywood” side just as much of a fit for you as leading a band?
Joel Smallbone: It’s interesting because growing up, I think there were two great loves for me. One, Kevin, I love the arts in general. I love the way that it can impact your heart and the way that it bypasses the head and travels straight to [your soul]. I’ve always been a lover of the arts. So, one is music, and the other is film making. As providence would have it, my younger brother, Luke, is a musician, so we’ve always done music together. My older brother, Ben, is a filmmaker. Even as kids we were always gallivanting through the back hills of my parents’ little hobby farm, shooting really bad Indiana Jones spin-offs!
As we grew up, Ben started being more involved in our music videos that were always so theatrical. When we started for KING & COUNTRY, we started sharing about this concept of a woman’s worth and chivalry. It was…really, long story very short…out of all of that in which Priceless came about in a lot of ways.
CCM: Tell us more about the genesis of Priceless. It’s not totally out of the norm, but also not very common for two strapping lads to base most of their work off of a subject like this…
JS: …once again, you have to go back to go forward. Our older sister Rebecca St. James, as you would know, was an artist for many years. We traveled with her as a family. Dad managed her, as he currently manages [for KING & COUNTRY]. We half-joked that Dad needed cheap labor, and we became the road crew. We set-up and tore-down, stage managed, and sang background vocals. We did it all.
Toward the back portion of her career, she started doing these women’s conferences and Luke and I were just beginning to do music at the time. We went out and we backed her up as her band, and then we would also play a few of our own songs. We were like the two “token guys” at these events! I vividly remember one night before we stepped on-stage, there were four of us—mom, Rebecca, Luke, and myself. We had this conversation of, “Hey, you know, you’re young men and here we are and we’re about to stand on stage in front of a bunch of ladies—what about sharing something from your heart about love and relationships and how you perceive a woman?”
In that moment, it was remarkable to see the way people responded. Fast-forward to the genesis of for KING & COUNTRY, Luke had just got married as we were about to start traveling. I had met Moriah, my now wife, at his wedding. She was the wedding crasher of sorts! [Laughs, as I imagine him nodding to her in the car] She was brought as someone’s plus one with the intent to introduce her to me, and it worked. Once again, as we’re starting to do these shows and this idea of relationship and love and romance is really keen on both of our hearts and minds and commitments. So, we took about thirty seconds during the show to share a similar message, but now to both men and women.
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