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For King and Country: a Joel Smallbone Deep Dive

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

Over the last four years of being a college student, I slowly became a huge fan of the band for King & Country. It is a pop band and is known for mixing the gospel, rock and pop genres. The band released their first song in 2008 but then took a break for Joel Smallborne’s acting career and because of Covid-19. Joel Smallbone splits singing lead with his brother Luke.

The band has gotten popular lately and is slowly growing in popularity again as they released a series of new songs that will be in a movie that is releasing that is based on the Smallbone family on April 26. The movie called “Unsung Hero” will include Joel, Luke and the rest of the family as it talks about their father and moving from Australia to the United States. Joel is playing the role of his father as he has the most experience in his acting career. With this in mind, I wanted to do a little bit of a deep dive and learn some fun facts about the man who is starting to blow up the internet.

Joel and his family were originally from Sydney, Australia but then moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991 for their father’s job relocation. The whole family was based in the music industry and the siblings grew up in a musical household. Because of this big move, the family went through some tough times and had to survive in a new country with little income.

Joel and his brother formed a band which was initially called Joel & Luke but later the name was changed to for King & Country. The new band officially formed in 2011 and they produced some successful albums. The band’s unique sound with many elements of pop, rock and now rap has captured many different audiences across The United States with heartfelt lyrics that inspire others to get through the toughest of times.

Due to the pandemic and other aspects of the brothers’ personal careers outside of singing, the band fell silent for a few years. In the past three years, the band has come back to life and has brought much excitement. For one member though, Joel, it has been busy, and it is hard to keep up as the train keeps picking up speed.

Joel is slowly starting to become more and more popular, not because of his singing but because of his acting career. As the band was on break, he was leading actor of the movie “Priceless” in

2016 which the band featured a song in. This movie was dark, but it was his first official big movie. The movie was a flop in some areas of the world and his career dwindled.

He later auditioned for minor roles and recently gained a role in the Netflix movie “Journey to Bethlehem” where he plays the role of the son of King Herod (Antipater) who is played by Antonio Banderas. Because this movie has a lot of musical elements, this role was made for him. After this movie was released in November of 2023, many people noticed Joel for his energetic stage presence, powerful vocals and his dedication to inspire.

In recent months, the band’s popularity grew and now the band is releasing a movie on April 26, 2024 called “Unsung Hero” which is based off of the Smallbone family life and to keep the memory of their father, David Smallbone, alive. Joel has taken the role of his father for the movie due to him being older than his brother Luke and his already rising acting career. for King & Country also made most of the music for the movie and will be the main spotlight on the soundtrack. With this, the band has become very popular as it started doing collaborations with Dolly Parton, Lecrae and Lee Brice for the music for the movie. With all of this, the band is rising in fame and soon could possibly become something bigger than it was before the pandemic.

In my opinion, the music they create is very inspirational and has become my new study playlist for stressful weeks. If there is ever a time where you are feeling down or need to be motivated, I recommend listening to their music and to hear the power of Joel’s voice. I think the movie will be great and I will be seeing it the weekend it comes out in theaters.

Joel is funny and tries to see everything as a positive in life. He shares his inspirational quotes and sayings on his Instagram page as well as Facebook and TikTok. There is never a time I went on his Instagram and did not see a smile on his face. One thing that drew me to him in the first place was his voice and his acting in the movie “Journey to Bethlehem.” It was great and even though it was more of a Christmas movie, it had really great music and he happened to be my favorite character in the movie, bringing out his caring side even in a character that should not be shown remorse.

His view of the world is really impactful and can inspire you to do more. He also is a percussionist as he sings in concerts, and I was instantly drawn to him because I too play percussion for The University. He is overall one of my favorite people that is a rising star at the moment and hopefully he can have more roles in future movies.


Wikipedia Contributors. Joel Smallbone. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Smallbone (accessed 2024-04-15).

Watts, C. For King & Country gives thanks for family, early trials. The Tennessean. https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/11/27/king-country-rebecca-st-james/70106770/ (accessed 2024-04-15).

Wikipedia Contributors. For King & Country (band). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_King_%26_Country_(band)#:~:text=on%20the%20band.-,Personal%20lives,after%20their%20father’s%20job%20relocation. (accessed 2024-04-15). Joel’s Instagram Page https://www.instagram.com/joelsmallbone/?hl=en or @joelsmallbone

I love to be involved on campus! I am in performance music as the lead drumset player and leader of the percussion section. I am also the community service chair for the Italian Society and I work study at performance music and the office of equity and diversity. I am a volunteer firefighter and I love to help others!