Joel Griffith has been dabbling in the arts since he was old enough to dabble. He showed an early knack for both drawing and writing, placing third in a nationwide poetry competition in his native Trinidad at age 11 (he won three comic books!). His first formal singing was with the junior Red Cross in his elementary/primary school at age 8.
At age 16 his A-level Geography teacher would bring a guitar to school and start each class with a song. He was already familiar with piano and the guitar caught his eye as a new instrument. His teacher eventually gave him the pieces of an old classical guitar which he glued together and used play his first compositions. He taught himself to play the instrument, and was eventually recruited into a Christian reggae band. He was not a big reggae fan though and devoted his musical study to the psycheadelic bands of the 1960's; The Beatles, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and others. He was especially intrigued with the Beatles, and their combination of melody, passion and experimentation were very instrumental (excuse the pun) in his early song writing and his approach to music.
In his 20's, while studying English in college in the US, he met other musicians and joined the college jazz group. Though he initially joined the jazz group on guitar, he switched the drums when the group's drummer graduated. He had no previous experience on drums, but again, taught himself the instrument and continued as drummer for his remaining 3 years at that college. After graduating college he recorded and released his first solo EP Quiet Now. It was reviewed favorably in the local music magazine, but the pursuit of a graduate degree in Poetry forestalled his musical momentum.
After graduate school he collaborated with several different musicians playing in folk, hard rock and grunge and punk. These influences continued to evolve his own song writing and in 2007 he was joined by Lou Dixon, the husband of one of his grad school classmates.
Lou Dixon was co-worker to the mother of Dawn 'DJ' James. When Joel and Lou were in the market for a new drummer, Dawn's mother passed the word on to Dawn. They found they had a unique chemistry and, after a series of successful shows in Baltimore, set about recording their debut EP Been Too Long and feature length album Savant.