Bio (with permission) from: PaulaCole.net
Born on 5th of April 1968, under the Aries sign, Paula grew up in Rockport, a small Massachusetts town. Her family was her greatest artistic influence. Her mother is a visual artist, while her father has paved a diverse career path by using his varied musical talents. "My dad used to play bass in a polka band. He put himself through college, earning a Masters and then a Ph.D. in entomology, while supporting two children with his earnings from musical gigs, as well as other part-time jobs. He used to walk through the house playing blues progressions on the guitar and I would vocally improvise. We would sing harmonies in the carmy father sang bass and I sang alto", she recalls. "That's probably how it will be when I have kids. They made me realize that music is something you can create everyday, but it's up to you to make it. My mother said that I was making music before I formed words." "They taught me the most singly important life philosophy: music is meant to be self-made, to be experienced directly.
After high school, Paula attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz singing, improvisation, and was a member of the gospel choir. "I learned a lot cerebrally; I learned a lot of old standards, eartraining, arranging and group singing, but I was ultimately driven to write my own music, poetry and prose. I could see that this was my path. I felt destiny in my own music. I found freedom."
She was invited by Peter Gabriel to perform on his 1992-93 world tour, which was followed by the release of Harbinger in 1994 on the Imago record label. "Harbinger" featured songs dwelling on Paula's personal experience with discrimination and unhappiness. The songs were musically lush but driven and bleak. Unfortunately the Imago label folded and promotion of "Harbinger" was limited, which prevented the record from getting exposure on radio and in the press.
The release of "Harbinger", marked the arrival of an extraordinary vocalist and songwriter with a startling gift for conveying her most revealing emotions through music. And in 1995, she joined Warner Brothers, who reissued Harbinger in the fall of that year.
October 1996, Paula released her sophomore album "This Fire", which she entirely self produced. Paula emerged with what she modestly referred to as her "little piece of art," an emotionally resonant album that rippled with earthy sensuality, soul-on-the-sleeve-sincerity and beautiful, poignant melodies that could not be erased. Fueled by two smash singles, "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" and "I Don't Want to Wait," (a.k.a. the theme to Dawson's Creek). Peter Gabriel returns the favor here with a guest vocal on "Hush, Hush, Hush".
December 1996, Paula brought a "touch of home" to nearly 5,000 service men and women, performing aboard the U.S.S. George Washington, aboard the U.S.S. Normandy, at Shaikh Isae Air Base, and in Manama, Bahrain. "It was a very profound, touching, and humbling experience for me and my band," said Cole, who donated her time and talents to boost morale during the holiday season. "Everyone I met during my time in the Gulf lives in my heart."
February 1998, Paula won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and was also nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Album (This Fire), Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance ("Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?"), and Producer of the Year. Paula is the first woman in Grammy history to receive that honor.
The New York Times called her, "...a rising talent with tremendous artistic potential," while Entertainment Weekly praised Paula as, "...a feisty poet with a soaring voice and a funky groove."
After a brief hiatus Paula released "Amen" with the newly formed "Paula Cole Band". Together with former schoolmates/collaborators of the past 11 years, "soul brothers" Jay Bellerose (drums) and Kevin Barry (guitars), Paula has created an album without borders - a fresh, soulful record that inspires and celebrates life through an intoxicating blend of incendiary vocals, warm, supple grooves and soothing, graceful wordplay. It's a safe to say that from both a musical and spiritual standpoint, Amen is her most ambitious record to date and a confirmation that she's here to stay.
Says Paula, "It was really important for me to make an uplifting record, especially now with the coming of the millennium. I think people are feeling a lot of conflicting emotions and contemplating their mortality a little more than ever before. With that in mind, I wanted to make a positive contribution through music - and album that fills people with hope and makes then want to dance around the room."
With Amen, Paula emerges as an artist fully formed, a songwriter who doesn't tell stories so much as cast spells. She works her magic with a rapturous voice, fleshing out images of faith, hope and love with both grace and raw power. The depth and breadth of her openhearted expression is simply captivating. More importantly, in a climate where idealism has given way to cynicism, Paula believes in the healing power of music, and the idea that a simple song can still matter. "There's a responsibility that comes with success and I don't want to be wasteful with that platform," she says. "As corny as it sounds, I want to help the world a little. I want to do some good."
In 2001, Paula recorded a song titled "Heart Door" for the "Sweet November" soundtrack, sung with Dolly Parton.
In the summer of 2004 Paula choose not to renew her contract with Warner Brothers Records. Paula said: "I used to make an album, submit it; they'd release it. This time I submitted my album and they just looked at me cross-eyed. I don't hear conversations about music. I hear conversations about golf."
Meanwhile, you can hear Paula honoring her jazz roots on Chris Botti's new release "When I Fall In Love". She sang "How Love Should Be" and the Irving Berlin classic, "What'll I Do?".
If the voice in that new Mercury car commercial sounds familiar, it's because it is: "It's My Life" was written and performed by Paula and produced by Don Was.
Listen for Paula in the new movie "Eulogy", featuring Debra Winger, Ray Romano, Kelly Preston, Hank Azaria, Zooey Deschanel and more. She produces and performs (voice and piano) the Jackson Browne classic, "Doctor My Eyes" over the opening titles. (She also thinks the movie is hilarious.)
Paula's been working on a new album, and has found a new management, and she's extremely keen to get her music back into the public ear!