Powerful singer and songwriter Paula Cole (1968-) was born on this day in the small fishing village of Rockport, Massachusetts. Growing up, music was essential to her family and she was encouraged to improvise vocals to accompany her father's guitar playing.
"Singing in three-part harmony in the car was an every day occurrence," she recalled. Calling herself a high school "goody two-shoes," Cole was an honor student, class president, and junior prom queen.
Replacing Sinead O'Connor on Peter Gabriel's 1993 World Tour, Cole released her debut cd Harbinger in 1994, a jarring, spontaneous, and honest look at her life and soul.
With her stunning second album, This Fire (1996), she created music to celebrate the boldness of transformation after a time of pain and darkness.
"Where do I put this fire, this bright, red feeling?" she began with the triumphant pride, showcasing her wide vocal range. Singing fearlessly, her voice had a roar that excites. Taking chances, her spirit was emotionally exposed and passionate.
As writer Frank Scully once asked, "Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?"
Cole said she has been freed by music. "I believe that every soul is unique. I believe every voice is unique," Cole said. "I've just been trying to find my voice all these years. And what you hear is what I have. Some songs have been diary entries, initially. My favorite songs are born in my head."
"I believe it's an artist's duty to raise consciousness through their art. I aspire to the Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, KRS-1, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Beastie Boys, Tracy Chapman, Paul Robeson, John Lennon," she said.
Trading fame for motherhood, Cole continued to write music and work on a new album with a new record label. "I have so many new songs and I'm writing even more," she wrote in March 2005. "We'll be making and releasing my next album soon, soon, soon."
Sing your unique song with boldness and pride.