Ellis Paul

 

 

 

 

 

I was born in northern Maine, it's a fairly remote place, like Alaska in some ways, and it's beautiful there. Cold white in the winter. Gold cool in the Fall. Green summers. It has rolling hills and farmland, and on it's western half, trees and trees as far as the eye can see. My grandparents farmed potatoes and my Dad was an agriculture specialist, so farms and farm work were in my life from a very young age. I liked the outdoors, but the work is hard. I knew it wasn't my calling, and I broke the long chain of farmers in the family by becoming a musician.

I knew I was going to be an artist of some kind by the time I was in elementary school. I loved to draw, I loved to write, and I started playing trumpet, so music was important to me at an early age. I seemed to be more interested in art than the kids around me, I don't know if my talent was greater, but the focus was-- I was constantly drawing, writing, playing music.

In many ways, writing songs put all of that together. The song's melody and lyrics are built around an instrument, but together, they paint images in people's minds. My songs are moving pictures. I see the scene I am trying to write, and paint it with the words. Music provides mood and color. A single word, when chosen carefully, can explode into a giant battle scene in people's minds. A melody can paint the person's internal emotional state. It's kind of a miracle.

When I was in high school, I ran track and competed nationally. I finished second in the country for my age division in cross country and was a state champion. I went to Boston College and eventually settled into an English degree program, which kept me writing even further. Running is training, that is where the race is won.
Running taught me about perseverance, preparation, patience, solitude, nature. That applies to music as well-- writing can be a very private thing.

I don't experience writers block. Because I write about so many different things-- I write for myself, for movies, for kids, for weddings, for Christmas. Stories, poems, history lessons, love songs, funny songs.

I've spent my life being curious. Listening to people's stories. Traveling. Reading. Going to movies, which are moving picture stories too. I'm open to ideas.

I've spent 25 years criss-crossing the country playing for people. Little shows--huge shows--in radio stations-- homes, churches, bars, theaters, even arenas! I know the geography of the U.S. by actually living in it. I actually live in the U.S. like most people live in their counties or cities. I cross the country as much as people cross their towns. From Alaska to  Alabama. I'm playing somewhere this weekend. Maybe in your neighborhood, or overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, or the with the Rockies outside the window. And out there, there are songs waiting to be discovered.

It's one thing to write songs. It's a privilege to be able to do it without being self conscious. It's even a greater privilege to have people want to hear is them. Come to the shows. Write you letters and emails. Fund your projects and dream. A community has sprung up sound my music-- it's has people from every walk of life; teachers, politicians, doctors, lawyers, kids, preachers, librarians, garbage collectors, painters, poets and clowns. They have decided they want to come along for the ride, at least for a night or two every year.  They come out to see me play the next set of songs. They don't travel like I do-- but they come to see what stories my travels have harvested. Maybe I'm a farmer after all.

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