More beautiful than ever, in a twenty-plus-year-career, Paula Cole releases Ballads, a twenty-song collection of American jazz and folk classics from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Cole started as a jazz singer and now returns, at nearly 50 years of age, to pay homage to her first love of jazz and folk. A self-described “mother and human being first” Cole is a timeless voice not only in song, but for those who have felt pain, and who still stand shining light, against all odds. With a voice that is big, rich and gorgeous, a mind that is intelligent, and a heart that transforms suffering into beauty, Paula Cole sings for our enlightenment, for our souls.
Ballads is a journey to Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan, to John Coltrane and Nina Simone, to Bobbie Gentry and Nancy Wilson, sung by a stunning Paula Cole we’ve not yet heard.
As the first woman in history to solely produce and receive the Best Producer Grammy nomination for her album “This Fire,” Paula Cole broke the production glass ceiling with a searcher’s spirit. Hers is the voice behind Peter Gabriel’s “Secret World Live” and her hits “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want To Wait” are still heard regularly on radio and in public settings as part of the North American cultural soundtrack.
From a small town Rockport, Massachusetts, Paula was raised in a musical family, learning standards that would eventually become Ballads. She attended Berklee College of Music as a jazz singer, graduated in 1990, fervently writing and recording her original work. In 1993, Peter Gabriel heard her then-unreleased debut album Harbinger and invited Cole to join his Secret World Live tour. While touring internationally with Gabriel, Cole’s Harbinger debuted in 1994 to critical acclaim. She toured non-stop and released her second album, 1997’s This Fire for which she won the Grammy for Best New Artist along with seven nominations. Cole led the pack at Lilith Fair’s opening years, and in 1999, followed her muse to release Amen, a genre-crossing, social-spiritual album to diverse audiences. After a seven-year hiatus to raise her daughter Sky, who battled childhood asthma, Cole returned to her “second, more authentic career” releasing five more albums, Courage (2007), Ithaca (2010), Raven (2013), 7 (2015), and This Bright Red Feeling (2016), touring consistently over the last decade.
Cole walks her path with her fans, writing out her life, sharing her connection at concerts and over social media. Her compositions have been covered by a diverse range of artists (jazz legend Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, Katherine McPhee, JoJo, hip-hop duo THEY), she has sold approximately three million albums, performed with icons such as Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock, Emmylou Harris, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Burt Bacharach, Counting Crows, Matchbox 20, and currently has over four hundred thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.
With a loyal fan base who appreciate the depth of her catalog, the loving artist-fan relationship, and the wisdom earned through pain, tears and joy, Cole is proud to go independently on her own label, 675 Records. She is a Professor at her alma mater Berklee College of Music and continues to write, produce, record and perform heartfelt, meaningful, lasting music that defies categorization.