Paula Cole live in the KNKX studios | KNKX

Paula Cole live in the KNKX studios

Dec 6, 2018

Grammy-award winner Paula Cole graced the KNKX studios in support of her current release, “Ballads.” It's a collection of songs in honor of her musician father, who left the music business to support the family.  

Cole says she began as jazz singer, and featured herself as a "female Chet Baker." She was offered two jazz recording contracts, which she turned down.  She chose, instead, to write her own music, honoring her voice in homage to her mother.  

Cole studied jazz at the Berkley College of Music.  In this studio session, she describes her journey from songwriting to working with Peter Gabriel on a worldwide tour, as well as performing on world stages and in coffee houses across America.

She also describes how music serves as a "healer" for her. And  she discusses the transition from analog to digital music, the influence of MTV, the birth of her daughter, and her "smaller" career in independent music.

In addition, Cole addresses the rise of “Lilith Fair” – the popular concert series in the mid-90s that supported women performers.  She said the fans at those concerts included some of the kindest and most caring audiences she’d ever encountered.  

Songs performed include: 

  • “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday 
  • “I Wish,” written by Billie Taylor and made famous by Nina Simone. (She says she chose many songs from the 30s and the 60s, which were turbulent times in America.)
  • The final tune she chose was from Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ — The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.”  She said she felt the song held special relevance in light of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.