Episode #295 — He’s been blessing & encouraging us for decades as one of the most recognizable & fresh voices on our radios, but an unprecedented time has brought a renewed appreciation of the simple things & the important things for Phil Joel. The Newsboys & Zealand Worship staple explains how that shows up on his just-released solo effort, Better Than I Found It.

“I wrote a song called “Sailing Speed”, and – as we speak – I’m sitting here looking out over  Auckland Harbor in New Zealand. It’s filled with sailboats. There are more sailboats here per capita than anywhere in the world, and at the moment we have the America’s Cup going on, which is pretty exciting. So I grew up sailing. And there’s just something about when you’ve got a full sail of wind and there’s no motor humming.”

“You’re moving forward surrounded by water. It’s simple. It’s an age old practice. People have been sailing this planet for thousands of years. To me, it’s sort of a symbol of getting back to the simplicity of life. Of clearing the chaos and clearing the unnecessary and getting back to the basics. I think even this last year has been a part of a purification process for a lot of people. We’ve sort of had to clear the clutter a bit and see what’s left.”

When you consider the extraordinary success of the Newsboys, you can’t help thinking about one hit wonders. So many talented artists & bands – if they’re ever blessed with a chance at success – have one song that breaks through. The famed 15 minutes of fame. But here are Phil’s Newsboys with 36 years of hit after hit after hit. How on earth have they done it?

“I don’t know! It’s just divine intervention I would say. It’s not anything anyone sat down and planed out at all.”

“I get excited about making good music because it moves us from one place to another. I’m not sick of it yet! I’m not ready to move on and become a landscape gardener or something! I still enjoy picking up a guitar and throwing some chords together. Adding some lyric to it. Working on the melody, and constructing something out of nothing – there’s something quite beautiful about that. So I think we’re all going to keep doing it until there’s no one who wants to listen, and even then we’ll probably keep going!”

On the Road with Phil Joel


Phil Joel is the tremendous recording artist, songwriter, & worship leader much beloved for his time with the Newsboys & Zealand Worship. Phil’s just released a one of a kind solo effort called Better Than I Found It, available now.

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