I had the honor of reviewing Paul Michell’s ‘Break The Fall’ a couple of months ago. I’ll admit, I was super late to the party as the album had come out in 2017 but it was well worth the wait and I instantly fell in love with this man’s music and heart. When I got an email from him about a new single, I jumped on the chance to check it out and spend some time asking him some questions about what he has been up to these past few years!
It has been five years since you released music– what in the heck have you been doing with your time?!
It was a little nuts. 2016- I released ‘Break the Fall’. In 2017, I had some health complications that set me back and I ended up in the hospital for a few weeks and recovering for that entire summer. I had fun playing some gigs with Nina Luna in NYC, (she’s MPLS based and you should check her stuff out!) taught piano lessons, played fun shows in New York and Minneapolis, had planned on getting new stuff out earlier but I kind of needed time to just sit and listen. This meant doing writing with intention…not for a commercial audience but just for myself. I guess I thought I’d be a little selfish. I also had to do some work on myself. OH. AND I FELL IN LOVE. Yay me? Is this adulting? 2020, I literally sat in my Brooklyn apartment staring at the wall. That gave me time to get back to my love of the piano and simple singer/songwriters.
Where do you get coffee in Minneapolis?
When I lived in Minneapolis, I lived in uptown and would walk to the Spyhouse Coffee and grab a flat white on my way to work at Burch Steak (RIP). That was like 8 years ago.
What’s your favorite menu item at Taco Bell?
Oh gosh. Um….if I happen to be in the mood, I would totally get just their Soft Taco Supreme. I’m pretty boring.
Where were you when writing “Called it Love”?
Funny enough, I was in my apartment in Minneapolis and it started out as a much different song. This was probably like 10 years ago because I was living in Loring Park at the time in a shitty studio. I was in a basement unit that faced the dumpster. It was so dismal. I honestly didn’t see much sunlight. I was a moody bastard.
How long did it take for you to write this amazing single and what was the most frustrating part?
Ha. This one took ten years. The original was a bit of a meandering tune that had a lot of feeling but no structure. I took 2020 to rework this one. The lyrics in the chorus and first verse stayed partially the same and I rewrote the second verse. The melody and piano changed as well. I wanted to say what I needed to say in under three minutes.
What’s your favorite method of listening to music?
Love listening for pleasure on vinyl…but if I’m listening for purely production inspiration, I use my studio headphones.
Are you okay with unconventional interview questions? (too late!)
Did Matt Skiba help or hurt Blink 182? Or, if you have no opinion, that’s fine too (although I’ll absolutely be judging you)!
So I grew up listening to a ton of CCM and gospel so I missed out on um…I really don’t know much about them. I really don’t. I’m so not cool!
Favorite lyrics of all time?
Of ALL time? I think ‘Nobody’s Crying’ by Patty Griffin takes the cake. I think the song is just a marvelous piece of songwriting craftsmanship. That whole ‘’1000 Kisses” album is one of my favorite albums of all time. That album CAN MAKE ME WEEP. Like, the bridge section on ‘Nobody’s Crying’…it’s piercing and if I was someone who cried, I would definitely cry.
If you were to rob a bank, what would be the song playing in the getaway car as you escape?
‘Take Me to the Pilot’ by Elton John.
What were you voted in high school?
I was always very musically inclined and was definitely involved in anything in the performing arts so I think a lot of people thought I might pursue something in the music field. I just always think I had the drive and determination to take a stab at something
What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?
The Civil Wars at CAUSE in Minneapolis in like 2010. I was a huge fan of them and they played to maybe like 20 people in that room that happened to be mostly a bunch of Joy’s family. I was literally sitting on a bar stool and was so captivated by their two voices, the guitar, and just their storytelling. Their music had so much intention. Joy and John Paul were so kind to me. I was such a super fan and they knew me as “Paul from St. Paul”. I’ll never forget how cool they were to me. Joy’s manager introduced me to her and Joy walked me over to introduce me to John Paul White. I had the biggest grin on my face. It was so cool. This was before they blew up and got big. I miss their music.
When performing/practicing this amazing single, what color do you see?
I see a lot of grayscale. I think in life there are definitely a lot of absolutes but there are also things that make life really complicated and love isn’t always as simple to us on a human level.
What’s one thing I should know before listening to “Called It Love”?
Well…this wasn’t supposed to be released as just a piano and a vocal. I also recorded the piano and vocal in one take. It was meant to just be a demo where I was going to send the tune to my drummer in Minneapolis and I was going to work on some orchestrations and then send it over to be mixed to a producer I’ve been working with on my past two records. I decided to bite the bullet and just produce it and mix it and master it myself. It feels authentic and inherently “me”. I don’t have to produce “everything” I do…but for this one…the first single…it needed to feel special.
Paul’s new single “Called It Love” absolutely feels special. If you couldn’t tell from this interview, like his music, Paul is just full of heart. He’s so genuine in everything he does and it comes through crystal clear in his music. Make sure to check out all of Paul’s amazing music but start with “Called It Love”. I promise it’s worth your time and will have you falling in love with everything Paul Michell instantly!
Check out “Called it Love” HERE and be sure to follow Paul on his socials!
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