Grew up in Rhode Island. Lives in Austin. Addicted to songwriting. Slightly mad.
Just made a pop-jazz record. Buy it, pop it in your CD player. Take a long drive. Pull your baby up beside you.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS ABOUT PAULA’S MUSIC!
Arthur Wood of Maverick Magazine, UK, reviewed "DRIVE" in its September 2011 issue (out now for downloading), giving it 4 out of 5 stars. He notes "’DRIVE’ is a curiously addictive marriage of folk, pop and jazz influences." READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.
Fred Schmale of Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands, says of "DRIVE" (Dec 2010 CD review): "To my mind Paula Held adds new ideas to the jazz-related work of now famous female artists like Norah Jones, Diana Krall and Madeleine Peyroux. After listening many times to her fine CD, I can honestly state: ‘Paula is not less gifted, she is just less famous.’ Her songs are beautiful, the melody lines fine, her voice is flexible and sultry, [and] the accompaniment is excellent …" READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.
In SJ Williams’, KOOP RADIO 91.7 – DRIVE preview (June 2010), she writes: "[DRIVE] is a sophisticated creation based on transformation – emotional & physical – and she writes the most surprising double-wide bridges! [Track] #04 "You’re My Falling Star" – Jazz standard waiting to happen. Brushed snare. Tasty piano everywhere. Sweetest simple guitar solo. [Track] #10 "Our Goodbyes" – Wistful & beautifully written & arranged. Perfect ending. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.
Paula is working on a collection of songs for her next album, stories about people in seemingly impossible situations, who, by acts of grace, luck, determination or divine intervention, find their way out of their crippling circumstances. Her characters, rich in detail, bring to life the tenuous connection between loss and heroism: a young woman and her determination to leave behind her painful past and her hometown of Happy, Texas; a successful touring songwriter and his brilliant sideman, the former a talented yet devout alcoholic, the latter, a skeptic who leaves the security of steady work marred by years of hard drinking to form a new partnership with a woman whose unconditional love leads him to the path of recovery; a story celebrating the deep bonds of high school friendship through the vehicle of two lesbian teens caught in a tender love triangle involving another girl; a mother-daughter tribute, about a young woman who would have her mother keep secret her growing dependence on prescription drugs. Written in the folk tradition, these songs are drawn from a genre of poetry called Sangre Triste, which expresses the beauty of sadness, loss and rebirth. LISTEN to a demo of "Leavin’ Happy," a finalist in the 2010 Session II John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Folk category. Click on the AUDIO page of her Sonicbids site, and click on "Leavin’ Happy."
Paula was one of a select number of regional songwriters chosen to become a Patronism.com Artist. John Pointer, founder of the new site, writes: "Music is a relationship between the people who make it and the people who love it." If you become one of Paula’s Patrons, you’ll create a relationship that supports her. You’ll also get all of her albums free, exclusive access to songs in progress through raw demos and live performances, and regular updates through her site blog — informing you of more emotional cole slaw than you’d probably ever want to know. You’ll have access to shows and live performances. You can even request a song, commission her for a piece of music. If you, the music lover, want to participate in the development of Paula’s music so that she can continue to reach and move you, please consider becoming a Patron. You can donate as little or as much as you want on a monthly basis, and even stop or suspend your donation pledge whenever you need to. If interested, please contact Paula at her email address and use the header "Patron request." Your financial support is very needed right now — please consider becoming a Patron of Paula’s music and help her launch future projects and support her continued creativity.
Paula is working on a project tentatively called "Songs from the Streets," with clients she works with at ATCIC’s local mental health agency (Austin Travis County Integral Care, formerly known as MHMR). ATCIC serves persons with Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression and Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder. Her weekly Music and Songwriting Groups have become a trusted place for clients to reach out creatively and begin to tell their stories. These songs will eventually be recorded to an album. Paula plans to reach out to musicians and producers in the community to help with this project with funds raised through grants. Once the record is finished, she plans to do a series of CD releases to the public to raise awareness about homelessness and funds for ATCIC’s homeless clients. LISTEN TO A DEMO OF "Gold In My Blood," a song about homelessness – click on the AUDIO page of her Sonicbids site. If you’re interested in helping with this project with grant-writing, production or music, please contact Paula at her email address, and use the header "Homelessness project."
2010 Double-finalist, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Session II
2011 Finalist and 4th place judges pick, Wildflower Contest