10 Things You Didn’t Know about Joel Smallbone

Joel Smallbone

Dolly Parton has been in the music business long enough to recognize a good thing when she hears it. If her instincts are right, For King and Country, the Christian pop duo compromising of brothers Luke and Joel Smallbone, are on the right path to glory. The band recently hit the headlines when Parton announced she’d be joining the brothers for a re-mix of the Grammy award-winning “God Only Knows’.

Joel David Smallbone is also an actor who appeared in the 2016 movie, Priceless. With their family opening up about how they started off in Australia, Smallbone’s mother, Helen has written a book about their journey. A movie inspired by the books is in the works with Joel set to play his father. Here is everything you need to know about Joel Smallbone.

1. His father inspired his love of music

Joel’s childhood was surrounded by music thanks to his father’s work as a music promoter. Joel tagged along with his dad whenever he could, and quickly realized his future lay in a similar direction. “Going to these rock concerts, sitting on my father’s shoulders, plugging my ears…Honestly, in a lot of ways, I feel like music chose me and as I grew older, I made a clear decision to fully lean into it,” he’s shared.

2. Joel Smallbone formed the band in 2007

Joel Smallbone

All the way through high school, Joel and his brother grabbed any opportunity they could to perform, providing backing vocals to their sister, Rebecca St. James (now a popular Christian- rock artist) as well as any band that would have them. After high school, they decided to see how far their talents would take them and began performing together under the name Austoville (later to be changed to Joel & Luke, and later still to For God & Country).

3. He named the band after a British battle cry

After releasing an EP entitled A Tale of Two Towns under the name Joel & Luke, the brothers were signed in 2009 to Warner Music Group. Two-time Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer, Ben Glover, took over as their producer, and under his tutelage, the brothers began to firm up their “sound” and direction. Part of their new, improved image involved a name change: out was Joel & Luke, and in was “For King & Country”, named after an age-old British battle cry.

4. He’s married to Moriah Peters

Joel Smallbone

On 7th July 2013, Joel married his partner Moriah Peters, a contemporary Christian singer-songwriter who the year previous, had released her first full-length studio album, I Choose Jesus. Fans of American Idol may remember Peters from her 2012 audition on the show; her innocent, ‘wholesome’ image won her some scathing criticism from the judges, along with the advice to “kiss a boy” before entering the music business. Peter has subsequently released her 2nd album, You Carry Me (2014), and appeared in the film, Because of Gracia (2017).

5. Joel Smallbone  didn’t kiss his wife until their wedding

The American Idol judges’ advice to Moriah that she should ‘kiss a boy” clearly fell on deaf years: as The Music Times reports, despite being together for three years before their marriage, the couple decided to hold off on any physical relationship at all before they made their vows. As a result, their first kiss turned out to be in front of God, a preacher, and all their family and friends. Not intimidating at all, then.

6. He’s starred in several films

Joel Smallbone

Joel began his acting career in 2014, playing King Xerxes in the biblical-drama film, The Book of Esther and Jake Reeson in Like a Country Song, a Christian drama starring, among others, Billie Rae Cyrus and Jennifer Taylor. In 2016, he won his biggest role to date in the romantic drama, Priceless, which, coincidentally, was directed by another Smallbone brother, Ben.

7. He’s a Grammy award-winner

You’d expect a band that had been called “Australia’s answer to Coldplay” by American Songwriter to do 2 things: 1. Massively divide public opinion, and 2. Win a ton of awards. While they’ve yet to inspire the same level of antipathy that Coldplay has, they’ve certainly been doing a good job on number 2. As of 2019, Joel and his brother have managed to win 2 Grammys, 4 GMA Dove Awards, and a stack of Billboard Music Award nominations.

8. Dumplin’ inspired him to reach out to Dolly Parton

Joel Smallbone

Although he’d always been a fan, it was watching Parton’s 2018 Netflix film Dumplin‘ that inspired Joel to ask her to join them on “God Only Knows”. “Everyone loves Dolly and then you watch ‘Dumplin’ ‘ and every song was like, ‘I love that song,’” he explained to USA Today. “At the end of the film, I thought, ‘I wonder if we just reached out.’”

9. Joel Smallbone got dual citizenship

Joel, along with the rest of his family, has dual citizenship in both Australia and the US. Originally from Sydney, Australia, the Smallbone’s left Australia for Nashville, Tennessee in the 1990s after Joel’s father lost a vast sum of money in a music tour that went bad. After a job opportunity arose in Nashville, they decided to up sticks and relocate to the US for good.

10. Joel Smallbone is Colorblind

Joel Smallbone

Smallbone just recently what he has been missing for a long time after a gift from his wife. Smallbone has a case of color blindness which alters his ability to decipher color tones. But thanks to a gift from his wife, he was able to see the full color spectrum for the first time. She stole his sunglasses and had the lenses changed to allow him to see colors clearly. He said it was an eye-opening experience for him that he will forever cherish.Dolly Parton

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