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Letter to the Editor: Pursuing a Music Career Where I'm From Is Considered "Crazy"

"I knew that whatever I decided to do in life, I couldn’t take this for granted."


My name is Joseph Nevels (otherwise known as JSPH).  I wanted to thank you for sharing my music, I really appreciate your support!

I was super inspired after reading about your journey in "The Very True Story of my 10 Years at DJBooth." Seeing how you stayed focused and vigilant in pursuing what you do has given me even more motivation to do the same.

Like you, my pops made sacrifices so that my five siblings and I could have opportunities that he didn’t have. He went to a one-room segregated school in Kentucky, then worked a third-shift factory job and was the pastor at our church for nearly 40 years. I knew that whatever I decided to do in life, I couldn’t take this for granted.

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After suffering a career-ending concussion while playing college football, I ended up in law school. But if I was honest with myself music was consistently an undeniable passion. Writing songs during class and performing anytime I was free started becoming the norm.

After graduation, I released my first project and decided to pursue music full-time. In Northern Kentucky (Cincinnati area), the culture tends to be very ‘safe’. A lot of people think someone is crazy for pursuing something outside of clocking in from 9 to 5 at the local bank or insurance company—especially if you have a degree. But I knew what I had to do and couldn’t let that deter my determination.

I continued writing and recorded and released my first single, "Breathe."  After a lot of refining and learning about branding, I was finally ready to share my music with the world. After you posted my single, Pharrell picked it up at OTHERtone and eventually NPR and BBC started catching on. Last week, I hit one million streams (independently) and headlined a show in Cincinnati.

I plan to continue writing and dropping music and want to either tour with someone or plan my first tour soon. While I constantly want to grow and will continue to work, people like you have helped me bring this vision I’ve had since a child in front of the world.

Thank you. 

JSPH is a singer-songwriter from Cincinnati, OH. Want to send a letter to our editors? Email



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