“If Etta James fronted the Tower of Power- and they were a blues band- THAT is what Paula Harris sounds like!” That's not a bad way to be described when you're a mid forties musician that most people told to "give up". Paula has shown a remarkable belief in her talent and has followed her dream, even against the odds. and it's a good thing because she has blazed into the Blues Scene like a meteor!. She won the Monterey Blues Featival's "Battle of the Bands last November as a warm up to representing the San Francisco Bay Area in the International Blues Challenge, (Held in Memphis, TN) where she placed in the Top Three Best Bands in the World-wide Competition. That was after receiving standing ovations at all stages of the competition. Though new to the Blues, Paula has already made a name for herself in the Jazz Community when she worked for two years as the resident vocalist at San Francisco's Iconic Venue "Top of the Mark" With Grammy and People's Choice Nominee-Ricardo Scales.
Paula, a Native of South Carolina, is also a classically trained vocalist. But with a style that is obviously influenced by the likes of Etta James, Diane Schuur, Gladys Knight, Lydia Pense and Aretha Franklin- it was only natural for her to gravitate towards the genre’s of Blues, Jazz and Soul. While most vocalists who cross genres tend to choose songs that fall in the middle ground between them, Paula’s astonishing versatility allows her to sing the full spectrum of all three.
With a stage presence that is undeniable and an immediate connection with her audience, Paula's Background in musical theater is readily apparent. She may just be making her mark in Blues- but she has been in the music industry for two decades. Her first professional job was in an 800 seat theater facility in Myrtle Beach that ran nightly shows where Paula was a featured cast member and vocalist.
Paula also worked with several symphony orchestras while Living in South Carolina and Georgia including her first symphonic performance with the “Long Bay Symphony”. When Paula relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1995, she signed with blues legend William Bell (formerly of Stax records) and his production company-“Wilbe Records”. During this time she also fronted the Atlanta Pops Symphony Orchestra under legendary director Albert Coleman for the yearly “Concert in the Park” series. This was a three-month educational series performed in various towns throughout the metro Atlanta area that was designed to promote the American Jazz and Blues Standards to all ages. She also served a decade as the front person for one of the oldest and most established musical organizations in Georgia with the Carere Orchestras.
Paula now resides in San Francisco and can be seen performing her blend of impudent humorous Blues, original lyrics, and dance-able rhythms throughout the Southeastern United States as well as the West Coast. Her band of world class musicians is known as “The Beasts of Blues” and her horn section is the “Big Ass Brass”. They released their debut album in June 2012 and are receiving wonderful reviews and radio exposure. Their shows are as exciting to watch as their music is to hear, explaining why they consistently sell out shows when they perform. This band has been called the “Hottest Thing to Hit the Blues scene in years!” Popularity such as this proves that it’s never too late to do something you love! Paula welcomes your interaction- you can reach her at [email protected],
She has garnered an impressive reputation with both the audiences she performed for, as well as with the Bands and Musicians she has worked with. Lou Rawls commented “Paula- you’re a Vanilla Coating on a Chocolate Soul”. Tom Politzer from Tower of Power and who plays on her debut album calls her “The REAL deal!”. William Bell says “Paula is one of the finest voices in Modern Blues and her interpretation is impeccable.” If that isn’t enough, she is frequently compared to “Etta James” by members of the press and media.