This musician is akin to August Rush (a musical prodigy in a movie by the same name). Paula Cole breathes and lives music. She has nurtured a deep bond with music since she was a child. Her father’s enthusiastic love for musical instruments coupled with her mother on the piano, and them singing together, brings Paula fond memories of a picturesque image of life filled with music. It’s no wonder that she gravitated to creating beautiful sounds and touching lyrics.
Paula’s music and albums is like Polaroid snapshots, showcasing who she is at the moment. She believes in the all-encompassing power of music. She says, “My music shows me in my uncomfortable beginnings, finding my woman power, finding my voice in my spirituality, finding my sexuality, becoming a mother, enduring a painful marriage and divorce, leaving young dreams to return to my small town, finding redemption, contemplating the meaning of it all, raising my kids, living through many mid-life crises and nervous breakdown, but in colour and in song.” Through her music and the albums she brings out, Paula feels that she is leaving behind a legacy, for they are her living journals.
According to Paula music becomes immortal when musicians spend time learning from the masters and honouring the work of those before them. That is why Paula opens every one of her concerts with a Bob Marley cover. She weaves literature, poetry, and her life experiences in perfect symphony, often making her audience tear-up as they breathlessly listen to her voice.
The potency of music is such that it is above gender. But, being in the music industry has reminded Paula that she is a female in the worst of ways. However, this strong-willed singer trudged through the muck of the industry by sharpening her self-confidence. Paula understands the industry and with 30 years of experience in the business, says, “The singular pursuit of specializing and achieving success generally means you abandon your family, your personal life, and other aspects of your psyche. I’ve contemplated that predicament a lot and eventually come to the conclusion that I’d rather have a humbler career and be a healthier person with a more fulfilled personal life.”
The singular pursuit of specializing and achieving success generally means you abandon your family, your personal life, and other aspects of your psyche. I’ve contemplated that predicament a lot and eventually come to the conclusion that I’d rather have a humbler career and be a healthier person with a more fulfilled personal life.”
When asked about her other interests, Paula fondly says, “I love life science, writing, psychology, gardening, interior design, animals, and art. It’s necessary to have other interests and do other things so I am fulfilled and stay curious.”
Reading and experiencing life provides Paula with themes to base her songs on. “The more I live, the more there is to draw from. Being the best person you can be makes you the best writer you can be.” Paula is currently working on her next album. She is also keen on writing her book and getting more serious about her activism.
When asked about any advice she would like to share with young aspiring musicians, Paula gently says, “Of all these things you develop, the most important is your Social and Emotional Intelligence. It is the highest indicator of success and the most vital for the health of your life. Your life, your personal life, your karma, your relationships are more important than any Grammy.”
Paula Cole has shown us the magic of music. The world ought to thank her parents for lighting the way for her musical endeavours. It has given another flame to inspire and light the way for us. This warm tête-à-tête with Paula Cole has taught us that life may bring disappointments, but it is up to us to rise above them. After all, don’t Phoenixes rise from the ashes?