For about five years, Orlando Joel has been professionally producing and songwriting for local artists, and more recently, he’s decided to share his own voice. Taking a step into personal expression with a new project IAMSON, Joel takes on heavy subjects like navigating identity, spirituality, and right from wrong.
The RVA artist had the self-titled EP mixed and mastered by Lance Koehler at Minimum Wage Recording Studio and so far and dropped a few singles with a release date slated for this fall.
“Easy to Love,” is a tranquil piano tune, layered with a rhythm of deep bass clouts, and ethereal vocal harmonies that leaps instinctively into swing. The song talks of spirituality and a relationship with God as the vehicle to clarity and making simplification of life’s most complex adversities.
“Easy to Love” comes from a place where, I know a lot of times in religion, it makes it really hard just to live, and it seems like a burden,” Joel said of the inspiration behind the song. “In really getting to know God, you’ll find out you can just throw [out] all of the complicated equations, complicated burdens, and once you get to know him it’ll be easier to just love it, to love people, to love him, and to love yourself.”
The track “Civil War”, which was released in January, is an epic of a song; it sounds as if it is straight out of a musical with it’s direct lyricism and frequent dynamic changes.
“Civil War” is talking about the human experience,” said Joel. “In this eternal conflict of everyday struggles between good and evil and right and wrong and the temptation to appeal to the wrong based on what you’re going through in life. Just pointing out that there is an internal battle between right and wrong.”
Joel has been playing piano for about 20 years. In his producing and songwriting he picked up exceptional talent at other instruments as well such as the guitar, drums, and bass.
Though he certainly has a talent for production, there’s a limitation of artistic output. IAMSON is Joel’s yearning to have more of his own voice in his music.
“[I’m] trying to pursue having my own voice and it’s a beautiful thing to work without a boss and be your own boss and manager of what you want and how you want it and not having to stick to anyone’s brand or anything but just writing and producing from what’s on your heart and who I am.”
In the meantime, IAMSON has just released the song “Curtains of Fear” to keep things lively while the EP is being finished up.
Words by Greg Rosenberg