“Success is being happy doing what you love to do with this amazing gift we’ve been given of creating music.” -@MrDonovan
Live Interview August 26 @ 9pm et: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/08/27/episode-251-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW PAUL DONOVAN
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Paul Donovan is…
a singer songwriter/guitar player who’s musical story started very young, singing along to his parents’ record collection. Always singing, Paul went full speed ahead into “pop radio land”. It wasn’t until his friend taught him how to play a few Beatles songs on the guitar that the music bug took full effect. In that moment everything changed. The rest of the world took a backseat to playing guitar. As the years passed, Paul took side trips along the way through virtuoso guitar and jazz music that helped shape an eclectic take on music that’s at once both comforting and familiar, yet edgy enough to keep you on your toes.
Guided by a restless musical spirit, Paul has played countless gigs from one side of the country to the other. From solo, duo, trio, heavy and acoustic rock, to small and large jazz and orchestral ensembles. These experiences instilled a sense of confidence in his playing and singing, both leading his own groups and supporting established artists. January 2015 marks a milestone in Paul’s career as he traveled to Nashville, TN. to record his first EP under his own name. Finally moving from the supporting role to center stage, the new EP “Glow” showcases songs born out of the highs, lows, tears, joys and the miles of life lessons brought about by this amazing journey. “Glow” was produced by recording artist Jeremy Casella and features some of Nashville’s finest musicians and engineers.
I started in music…
I’ve been singing as long as I can remember. Very young. My parents had a record collection that was very pop music oriented. I remember playing all those records and singing along and I always had a portable radio. I used to put it under my pillow and fall asleep listening to it. I used to love slowly turning the dial and finding obscure music playing late at night. To me it was like transporting to a different place in a different time. Going from say Elton John to Led Zepplin to John Lee Hooker just by changing the station. It was my escape.
What got me playing the guitar was one day back in high school I discovered a friend of mine loved the Beatles as much as I did and he mentioned that he could play their songs on guitar. I didn’t believe him but the next thing I know he’s at my house with his guitar and Beatles song book and from the first chords I was hooked! I never looked back. Everything else at that point took a back seat to the guitar. I eventually moved out to California and tried my hand at the virtuoso guitar thing (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson). Hours and hours every day practicing. Many years later I had enough and stopped playing altogether for awhile until one day I was noodling around on a guitar and the itch started again. This time it was more about writing good songs then playing cool guitar solos.
being happy doing what you love to do with this amazing gift we’ve been given of creating music.
Never Let Go…
The song is called “Never Let Go.” The story gets me choked up thinking about it but it goes like this. For a long time, I wasn’t the most caring/loving companion to my girlfriend. Let’s just say I put her through hell. Over and over. She hung in there waiting for the person she knew I really was and over time with much soul searching and lifestyle changes, I grew into that person. Now all during this time…whenever we’d go to a show and the singer inevitably would sing a love song dedicated to that special someone…she would lean over and say..”when are you going to write me a love song?” This went on for a few years and I tried but I’d always end up saying, “what can I write in a love song that hasn’t been said a million times already?” Until one day I was writing and the words “never let go” hit me like a ton of bricks. That was it. All through the rough times when we both thought we were over…I never let go and neither did she. No matter how bad it got. We never let go. That girlfriend is now my wife.
Thoughts on Social Media…
Wow. I like interacting with people and this is the way to do it. Instantaneously as well. BUT..social media, while it is a necessary thing for today’s performer, it can be very frustrating and time consuming. I recommend everyone get well versed on all platforms. I’m an awesome musician but not a very good business person but the days of having someone else do that side of things are long gone. I try to hit every one of them every morning first thing. Facebook, Reverbnation, Twitter, Instagram. Youtube. I check stats. I try to stay current on trends but it’s tough. When someone posts on some social media site about how a song of yours touched them in some way it makes it all worth it.
I would like to spend 5 minutes alone with…
Well..sticking with music related people. Maybe Paul McCartney but 5 minutes is nowhere near enough. This man has seen and done it all while writing some of the all-time greatest songs.For completely different reasons maybe David Coverdale. For many former shred guitar players like myself..being in Whitesnake was the dream of all of us. Some of the greatest guitar players ever were in his group and they’ve come and gone yet he’s still going strong and singing his butt off.
I really don’t think anyone knows what is trendy right now. With the collapse of the BIG record companies, I think most are clutching at straws. I had very good advice given to me a long time ago and that was just be yourself. I didn’t heed that advice for a long time and I floundered. Now I’m just trying to write from the heart and be true to myself and it seems like that was a major factor in turning a corner or two in my career.
There are a few things I do. You have to keep your mind fresh. Keep trying new things in life. New hobbies, new foods, new books, new music, new places to visit. Also…I always try to learn from those who have done it and done it BETTER than me. I love to hang with people who are smarter, better musicians, better writers. People who inspire you to be better.
Living across the country…
I’ve lived in many places around the country. Pennsylvania, California, North Carolina, Delaware, now Central New Jersey. I’m an hour from New York City and 45 minutes from Philadelphia so lots of great music all around. I play all over the place. I love concerts of all kinds. I am still a geek for shred/virtuoso guitar playing and I studied Jazz for awhile so that is a big passion of mine and between Philly and New York you can catch some of the finest musicians in the world.
Not using my time wisely. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think that I should’ve spent my time and resources better to do good and make things better for those after me. It’s a double edged sword though because since I feel that way. I can never sit still for long. I’m restless and get severe cases of wanderlust.
Links to buy Paul’s EP:
Google Play: https://goo.gl/QSzUot