Joseph Wheeler was born to Glendora and Joseph Wheeler Sr. on March 29, 1959 in the town of West-Helena, Arkansas about 30 minutes north of Tunica, Mississippi, and about an hour south of Memphis, Tennessee - right in the heart of the Delta blues. Joseph grew up listening to the blues and the soul sounds of Motown during the sixties as he traveled to and from kindergarten in his Aunt Vannie’s Chrysler. He was fascinated with James Brown and Jackie Wilson as he and the family tuned in to watch them on the Ed Sullivan Show. But it was his uncle James Carter, who sang with the Pearly Gates, that inspired him to sing gospel music. His mother also sang in perfect key while she worked around the house.
At the age of 13 Joseph began singing with a local band called the Soul Psychos.He was too young however, to get into the night clubs with the band. So his early musical experience was limited to just rehearsing with the band. It was also around this time that he started singing in the church’s youth choir at Wofford Chapel Baptist Church. His childhood friend Thomas Wilborn played the piano for the choir. But when they sat around the house, Thomas and Joseph would sing and play the latest soul tunes like Sly and the Family Stone “If you want me to stay,” or the Jackson Five’s “Get it together.”
Al Green, Sam Cook, and Johnny Taylor were also some of the artists that influenced young Joseph. It was in San Antonio, Texas when the 17 year old Joseph won his first talent show award singing in a gong show at the Little Hut Night Club. He sang “Easy” by the Commodores. The patrons went crazy and called for several encores. This did wonders for Joseph’s confidence. He began singing with various bands around San Antonio, until he joined the Army in 1979.
In 1982, Joseph accepted his call into the ministry and began teaching himself to play piano. He founded and presided over the Gospel Fellowship Church in Leghorn, Italy, at which time he played piano for, and directed the Gospel Fellowship Choir. They performed occasionally for the local Italian Community. While meditating, Joseph came up with some interesting song pieces. He started playing around on his keyboard until he put together some melodies to match his lyric pieces. Many of the lyrics to his gospel songs came while he was driving in his mail delivery truck. His songs are a reflection of his walk with Christ and his musical journey.