On Christian Paul’s upcoming single “Chapter,” he sings like a seasoned soul-R&B artist. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter endured many obstacles to get here, but as he readies his 2020 debut EP, Christian is geared to maintain authenticity while entering the next chapter in his career.
Growing up in The South, young Christian was musical from the start. At four years old, he learned to play the drums, followed by the piano, bass, and guitar. His father, a former hip-hop dancer, taught Christian how to dance and it wasn’t long before he was performing at family parties. “He made it his mission to teach me how to dance,” Christian says with a laugh. Dancing and instruments turned to singing, as Christian performed “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias at a family friend’s wedding when he was just eight years old. The fantasy to be a star was slowly growing in his mind. “My ultimate goal was to somehow get to LA,” he recalls. “I remember lying in my bed and sitting in class, sketching logo ideas and drawing myself into pictures of studios.”
By 12, as a result of what he thought was an opportunity of a lifetime, Christian was locked in a stiffly binding contract. In an attempt to get out of it, his first call to a lawyer proved to be a serendipitous one, as the lawyer was coincidentally the best friend of the person holding Christian under contract. Within a few short phone calls, he was freed.
Christian began aggressively pushing his craft, releasing clips of original songs and covers on Instagram, by way of singing into the Garage Band app on his iPhone. The collection reached his soon-to-be management team at SRP, known for discovering and signing the indomitable Rihanna. They later linked with Steve Bartels and Doug Morris of 12Tone to sign Christian, and the rest was history.
Christian released three singles: “When Love Don’t Love You Back,” “Strong,” and “Rewind,” all showing the soulful angles of his musical personality, though for Christian he simply wasn’t connecting to his own peers. Raised on the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, and D’Angelo, Christian had the soul in him, yet he struggled with crafting music that could effectively connect to today’s popular audience. “It got to a point where I had to be a little introspective and ask myself that even though I’m playing this music for friends and they’re like ‘it’s great,’ if I wasn’t friends with these people, would they still put me on their playlist?” he asked. “I felt like the answer was no.”
He took it back to the drawing board, aligning with songwriters/producers Bibi Bourelly, Daecolm, Ebenezer, and Glashaus to uncover a new sound within him. “Any artist who wants to succeed while also maintaining artistic integrity...they’re gonna pivot,” Christian advises. “I had to figure out a way to stay true to what makes me me, while also relating to my peers.” The culmination of that discovery is his upcoming EP, starting with the release of “Chapter.”
The song is harmoniously rooted in love, as Christian coos, “you’re my favorite page in this chapter, I go over and over again.” It’s an open book of romance, grounding the airy production with soulful, tangible vocals that travel along a vein of love and affection, while still showcasing the dawn of a rising star who finally has his chance to shine.
It took enough leaps and bounds, but Christian Paul is ready for the road ahead, with one clear mission to bring the old school and the new school together. “I had to marry those two worlds,” he says, “and while it took a little bit of time, we’ve finally accomplished that.”
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