Joel Holmes began teaching himself tunes by ear at age 10. He grew up playing with local bands and primarily in church. His family soon moved from Virginia to Baltimore so that he could attend the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts. Later, Joel Holmes became the Director of Jazz at his alma mater. He attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music at John Hopkins University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance.
Over the years, Joel has received numerous honors including 2 Grammy Nominations, a gold medal in the Act-so competition of the NAACP, and honorable mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, a finalist in the fifth annual Independent Music Awards and an honorable mention in the VH1 Song of the Year Awards.
Over the last several years, Joel has toured the world with Grammy winning jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove, vocalist Nnenna Freelon and Saxophonist Javon Jackson who is an ex jazz Messenger with Art Blakey