Joakim Arenius has served as choir director, composer, music producer and artist since the early 90’s. He started singing in Joybells, Europe’s oldest gospel choir, at the age of 16, and became the choir’s director ten years later. In 2004 he founded Praise Unit -a group of singers and musicians from various backgrounds and different parts of Sweden who shares Joakim’s desire to spread the music and the message of gospel beyond the usual expectations.
Before Praise Unit Joakim was involved in many kinds of music, but the love of gospel was always the main inspirational source. He was trombone player in the church brass band, tried a few years in a heavy metal band, then played the classical guitar until he became rapper and guitar player in a funk band. During a visit to Los Angeles in 1993, his life changed as he acknowledged God's calling to work with gospel music.
During 2000-2001 he was music minister in New York City and founded Salem Outreach Singers. Since 2003 he has been working with Creative Kirche from Germany who manages his work as workshop leader in the german speaking countries. Joakim speaks spanish, which has been helpful since he started working with the spanish gospel choirs in 2008. Gospel Music Workshop of America has invited Joakim to teach his songs at several occasions, and also recorded his music. Joakim is continually networking with churches, artists and choirs in many parts of the world. Since 2010 the establishing of gospel music in Russia is a major part of his calling..
Through ”Gospel Journey”, www.gospeljourney.se, Joakim offers the opportunity to travel and experience gospel in other countries. The first trip went to New York in March 2016. ”Gospel Journey” also serves as a local choir in Joakim’s hometown, Örebro.
Diversity has always been a trademark for Joakim. He arranged 13 gospel songs for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in 2009. He directs the classical choir ”Primula Veris” since 2014. As a music producer he is influenced by old school sounds as well as modern dance beats. Both kids choirs and senior choirs have sung his songs, and he works with both famous artists and aspiring amateurs.
In October 2016 he released "Be The Plan", a Praise Unit CD with 13 new songs and 50 guest artists from 11 different countries.
Photo by Ivan Troyanovskij