In a city known for cold weather and bitter winters, Joel Kellem creates a different type of "chill." He identifies with what he calls the "chill movement" — and goes by the nickname "The Chill God."
"People are responding to me and they love the chill movement," he says. "Yeah, it's a different style; there are similarities [to other artists], but mine is based on positive lifestyle."
"In the local Pittsburgh scene," he adds, "there isn't nothing like what I do."
Kellem's sound is something of a cross between Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y — with an extra-chill vibe you could sneak and play around the parents.
"Well, you can say it's a representation of the life I live," Kellem says. "I want to push positivity instead of negativity." Hailing from the Hill District, Kellem is focused on building not only his music career but his brand. He recently created a clothing line, Chill God Clothing, which sold out of hoodies within two days of its launch. "It was crazy," he says, "but people really support what we are doing. We plan on launching the entire line [in the] spring of 2015."
- Photo courtesy of Tom Larkin
- Chilling out: Joel Kellem
Marketing has played a big part in his success as both an artist and a clothing mogul. Each sweatshirt sold at the time of the line's launch came with a copy of Kellem's Friday Night Mixtape, putting his work in people's ears in addition to on their bodies.
At press time, Kellem is working on his next release, Chill God. It seems this artist is always working on his craft. "Either I'm at the studio, [a] video shoot or a photo shoot. I'm hardly ever not at the studio or trying to get these records out for the people." On Instagram, he has created a following of 3,000 users in a short time with his creative posts and photos from his various professional photographers.
Influenced by other very confident independent artists like Curren$y and Dom Kennedy, Kellem loves to reach out to more and more people, especially by performing. He plays Wed., Jan. 14, with Mickey Avalon at Altar Bar; if you've already missed that, he's got plenty coming in spring. Keep up with him on Twitter at @JoelKellem.