Phil Joel

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Phil Joel
Phil Joel2.jpg
Phil Joel at Piha beach in New Zealand
Background information
Birth namePhilip Joel Urry
Born (1973-01-05) January 5, 1973 (age 46)
OriginAuckland, New Zealand
GenresChristian pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass
Years active1990s–present
LabelsInpop, Curb
Associated actsNewsboys, Drinkwater, Zealand Worship

Philip Joel Urry (born 5 January 1973), known by his stage name Phil Joel, is a New Zealand musician and the former bassist for the Christian rock group Newsboys.


Philip Joel Urry was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He was lead singer and guitarist of the popular New Zealand band Drinkwater. Although he had little experience with the instrument, the Newsboys offered him a position as bassist in August 1994. He also sang background and some lead vocals for the band.[citation needed]

In June 2000, he released his first solo album, Watching Over You, on Inpop Records. This release was largely autobiographical.[1] He supported this album with the Strangely Normal Tour accompanied by LaRue, Luna Halo, Earthsuit, V*Enna & Katy Hudson (now known as Katy Perry).

Newsboys at the 2001 National Lutheran Youth Gathering, with Phil Joel in the foreground

His second solo album, Bring It On, was released in November 2002 also on Inpop. His third album, The deliberatePeople. album was released on 18 November 2005 in conjunction with Phil and Heather Joel's newly founded Christian ministry, deliberatePeople. The album was praised for its stripped down rock,[2] reminiscent of the Jesus Music era of Christian Music.[3]

His wife, Heather, is a former host of All Access and Hit Trip on CMT. He met Heather at a radio station in her native Kansas when he'd only been in the country six weeks. They were married in 1996 and have two children.[citation needed]

In December 2006, Joel announced that he would be leaving the Newsboys in order to devote more time to his family. In September 2008, Joel released his fifth solo CD titled The New Normal, which was his third self-produced album.[4]

When Phil left Newsboys after 13 years, it wasn’t long before the phone started ringing and ministry opportunities began to emerge throughout the United States, New Zealand, Australia and even China. "Early on, I was asked to lead worship for a series of youth conferences. At first I wasn’t sure if I was the man for the job. I knew I wanted to be involved in more hands-on ministry, but worship leading wasn’t on my radar."[5] His experiences at these youth conferences ended up igniting a passion in him for the next generation, and in 2011 the foundation for his current project, Zealand, was laid at one such conference.

Since then Zealand has taken part in major tours and festivals across the country, while continuing to make youth camps and conferences their priority. In December 2017 it was announced that Joel would be joining his former Newsboys band mates on the year-long Newsboys United tour, where he would be pulling double duty, performing a full set with Newsboys, as well as Zealand.[6]

Joel is currently finishing his debut book, Redwoods & Whales, which is slated to be released in early 2019.[citation needed]


Zealand Worship[edit]



  • Watching Over You (Inpop Records, 2000)
  • Bring it On (Inpop Records, 2002)
  • The deliberatePeople. Album (2005)
  • deliberateKids (2007)
  • The New Normal (2008)
  • deliberateKids 2 (2010)
  • Playlist (2012)


  • "God Is Watching Over You" (2000, Watching Over You) – Christian CHR No. 2, Christian AC No. 9
  • "Strangely Normal" (2000, Watching Over You) – Christian CHR No. 5
  • "Author of Life" (2000, Watching Over You)
  • "Be Number One" (2000, Watching Over You)
  • "I Adore You" (2002, Bring It On) – Christian AC No. 21
  • "Resolution" (2002, Bring It On)
  • "No Longer" (2002, Bring It On)
  • "The Man You Want Me to Be" (2002, Bring It On) – Billboard Christian Songs No. 22, Christian AC No. 15
  • "Changed" (2006, The deliberatePeople. Album)
  • "Good Good Father" (2015, Zealand Worship- The EP)
  • "Your Love is Wild" (2016, Your Love is Wild)
  • "Spirit Sing" (2018, Liberated)


  1. ^ Powell, Mark Allan (2002). "Phil Joel". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 451. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
  2. ^ DiBiase, John (17 November 2005). "Phil Joel, "the deliberatePeople. album" Review".
  3. ^ Saraco, Bert. "The Deliberate People Album". The Phantom Tollbooth.
  4. ^ "Phil Joel Unleashes 'The New Normal' This Week". CMSpin. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Zealand Bio". ZEALAND. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  6. ^ News, CCM (12 December 2017). "Newsboys 'Unite' for unprecedented 2018 tour". Retrieved 13 January 2018.