Born: May 18, 1966 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Described as It Etta James fronted the Tower of Power' , and they were a blues band- THAT is what Paula Harrris Sounds like! Paula has blazed into the “Blues Scene” like a meteor! She won the Monterey Blues Festival's 2012 Battle of the Bands in 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 after receiving standing ovations at all stages of the competition. Paula had already made a name for herself in the Jazz Community when she worked for two years as resident vocalist at San Francisco’s Iconic venue “ The Top of the Mark” with Grammy and People’s choice award nominee- Ricardo Scales.
Paula, a native of South Carolina, is also a classically trained vocalist. But with a style obviously influenced by the likes of Etta James, Diane Schuur, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin- it was only natural for her to gravitate towards the genres of Blues, Jazz and Soul. While most vocalists who cross genres tend to choose songs that fall into a 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. Her first professional job was at an 800 seat facility in Myrtle Beach that ran nightly shows ranging from Country and Blues to Jazz and Soul. They even did a yearly Christmas Show. Paula was a cast member and featured 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. She has garnered a impressive reputation with both the audiences she performed for, as well as with the Bands she has worked with. Band leader “George Carere” describes her as a Vocal powerhouse and a Dynamo on stage capable of captivating audiences with her distinctive voice and charm. Ricardo Scales described her as “ One of the best vocalists I've ever heard!”
Based in San Francisco, Paula can be seen with her normal 8 piece band “The Beasts of Blues” as well as with her Big Ass Brass Horn section at some of the larger venues in the bay area. Check her calendar page on her website paulaharrismusic.com for shows near you.
Awards:2012 Golden Gate Blues Society's Battle of the Bands Grand Champion 2012 Monterey Blues Festival's "Battle of the Bands" Winner 2012 International Blues Challenge third place winner in the World wide band category.
“The Highest Point, even for Harris, may have been the song she did as a tribute to her idol and Main Influence, Etta James. ‘Damn Your Eyes,’ soulful and haunting, drew applause well before she was finished.” -Front Page, Monterey Herald
“One of the finest voices in modern blues and her interpretation is impeccable.” -WIlliam Bell, Principal Architect of the Stax/Volt Sound, WC Handy Award Recipient, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, and CEO Wilbe Records
Paula, Are you Black or White?- Ray CHarles
My GOD!! What a Voice!! - William Shatner
A Vanilla Coating on a Chocolate Soul- Lou Rawls
I've recorded a lot of material just for the money- but this! THIS is something I am really proud of.(Said of Paula's New CD Turning on the Naughty) -Mic Gillette, Trumpet and Trombone for the Tower of Power
Paula is the REAL deal! - Tom Politzer, Saxaphone- Tower of Power
I book National and International Big Name acts nightly and Paula is WAY better than most of them! She is a REAL talent. -Steven Suen, Owner & CEO if Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, KBA Award reecipient Paula Harris captures the Blues with flawless phrasing and a freedom of expression that ignites the audience. Her unique vocal quality pushes the boundaries and seeing her perform will make you a believer. She is the Hottest thing to hit the Blues Scene is years! -Dorothy Hill,Blues Journalist and President Golden Gate Blues Society
Harris' versatile pitch-perfect voice may have carried effortlessly to the back row of the arena without amplifiers. Her stage presence was natural and polished, with shakin'-all-over dance moves, a flirty personality and a contagious smile indicative of a performer who appeared to be having the best time of her life. -Dennis Taylor, Herald Staff Writer