How do you remember Paula Cole? “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” or Dawson’s Creek?
Singer and songwriter Paula Cole was born in Massachusetts in 1968 and studied Jazz at the fabled Berklee College of Music in Boston, turning down a record deal to pursue her talent, she was instead signed to Imago Records in 1992 to develop her as a pop artist. She made her debut as warm up act for Peter Gabriel on his 1993 Secret World tour and so impressed Gabriel, she performed with him on stage for the hit song, “Don’t Give Up”, singing the Kate Bush part of the song. Cole was writing and recording her debut album at the time and released her first single, “I Am So Ordinary”, in 1994, which was a minor hit in Canada.
The album, “Harbinger”, found critical acclaim although it was not a commercial success. Paula performed with Melissa Etheridge in 1995, at the same time as Imago Records folded. Happily, she was picked up by Warner Brothers and work began on a follow up album, “This Fire”, which was released in the Autumn of 1996. Six months later, the first single was release from it, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”, which would climb steadily to peak at No.8 on the singles chart and No.4 on the Air Play chart. Internationally, it proved a big hit, making the top ten in Canada and No.15 in the UK. “This Fire” would make it as far as No.20 on the album chart, but not before shifting over two million copies. The second single, “I Don’t Want To Wait”, followed in October 1997, and whilst not an immediate smash, the following year it was selected as the opening theme to a new TV series aimed at the teen and young adult market, Dawson’s Creek.
“I Don’t Want To Wait” would climb to No.11 on the singles chart and top the air play chart. It reached No.5 in Canada but was less successful outside of that continent. Paula achieved one further hit from the album with “Me” in 1998 (US No.35, Can No.20) before launching into album number three that same year. “Amen” was released in 1999 and featured the single, “I Believe In Love”, although both were only picked up by a limited audience. Paula took time out to raise a family and would not return to the studio until eight years later, releasing “Courage” in 2007, which included the radio friendly song, “Comin’ Down”. She has continued to record and release albums every few years with her most recent coming in 2021, “American Quilt”, whilst Paula plays the occasional live gig as well as being on the voice faculty at Berklee College, where she graduated from.
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