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Artist Spotlight: Paula Cole

May 1, 2019

Photo: Tim Llewellyn

“This is truly my time now, at 50.”

– Paula Cole

Perhaps known best for hits “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait”, Paula Cole has infused wit and poetry in seven albums of original work over a twenty plus year career.

From a small town Rockport, Massachusetts, Paula was raised in a musical family. She attended Berklee College of Music as a jazz singer, 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.  She was the third woman ever to be nominated for “Producer of the Year” for her work on This Fire. 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.

“An extraordinary songwriter with a gorgeous voice.”

– Rolling Stone

After a seven-year hiatus to raise her daughter Sky, 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. Her latest album, Ballads, is a twenty-song collection of American jazz and folk classics from the 1930s to the 1960s featuring music  by Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, and more. It is dedicated to her father Jim Cole.

Cole is now Professor at her alma mater Berklee College of Music, between tours and albums. She continues to write, produce, record and perform heartfelt, meaningful, lasting music that defies categorization.