Singer/songwriter Paola Proctor manifests herself through art and performances, breathing life into the skills that mold her life’s journey.
First performing as a child in church choirs, Proctor discovered an innate talent and passion for music performance. Guided by world-class teachers and through classical singing and cello lessons, Proctor furthered her musical prowess.
Today, we speak to the Nashville-based artist about lockdown, mental health and the importance of keeping true to yourself and your music.
PW – Hey Paola! Welcome to Pastel Wasteland. For those who aren’t familiar with your work quite yet, how would you introduce both yourself and your sound?
A little bit of everything; from a very early age I was brought up in the classical music environment. I was introduced to a wide range of instrument sounds from orchestras and different voicing from choir. I also moved around a lot growing up so being introduced to orchestras and choirs in whatever new location I was in, brought with it a new take on all of these influences.
As a result I LOVE to genre blend, it’s a nice challenge because I think of it like putting a puzzle together. The sounds have to fit with each other just right or else it will sound forced.
PW – My first time hearing your music was with your latest release, ‘How Can I’. What can you tell us about the background of this track, and why did now feel like the right time to release it?
I’m really grateful to say that 2020 was not my worst year ever but it was definitely really challenging. I went through my first real heartbreak which was a totally new experience. Fortunately I’ve been in therapy for so long now that I knew the best way to deal with the pain and suffering was to face it and go through it to get to the other side. The more I thought about it, especially after 2020 I just wanted to become more open about my story in order to normalize breakdowns to encourage people to get the help they deserve for whatever is going on in their lives.
PW – I found the video for How Can I (which readers can find below) especially powerful, with you pouring out your heart to someone, without much of a response in return. What was the production and filming of the video like, especially in lockdown?
First and foremost, I could not have done it without my friends Caleb Sprinkle (Male Actor) and Robbie Hall (Videographer). They were absolutely amazing about the whole project; holding space for me to open the flood gates and making me feel really comfortable afterwords. They believed in what I was trying to accomplish and I will never forget their kindness and encouragement for making this video happen. The whole video shoot took just two takes; the first take I started laughing but then got into the zone and we ran that whole video on the second take. I credit COVID for giving me the idea to have a really small production for the video and because it’s so simple but raw I think that’s what makes it so impactful.
PW – At Pastel Wasteland, we place a huge emphasis on the creative journey and being mindful of mental health, especially in an industry like ours. Your work is vulnerable, honest and authentic, what is the message you’d like to get out there through your work?
You’re not alone and there’s no shame in getting help. I learned when I was first starting therapy the difference between fault and responsibility. A lot of things in life are out of our control, s*** happens and that’s not usually our fault. But it is our responsibility to do something about it so that we don’t continue the cycle of pain and work our problems out on other people. With my journey in therapy I’ve been developing extreme personal accountability and I can honestly say it’s been a game changer.
PW – 2020 was tough in several ways. What has the last year taught you in terms of both your career and life as a whole?
Adapt, Adapt, Adapt. 2020 taught me that most things are out of our control but how you respond and adapt to those circumstances is everything. It will teach you fortitude and how to move forward.
PW – What is your favourite way to relax away from making music?
Keeping up with my physical health is huge, it’s therapeutic. I love Mixed Martial Arts and have been training in the sport since 2012. I don’t know where I would be without it. I also fell in love with reading after college, I’ve been delving a lot into personal development books, entrepreneurship books and over all positive materials.
PW – What do you have planned for 2021? Any new releases you can tell us about yet?
I don’t want to give too much away but I do have a song coming out soon in Spanish 🙂
PW – In terms of the creative journey, in this kind of industry, it can be tough to feel like we’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
I’ve been learning to celebrate the small wins wherever I can get them. I strive for exponential growth and in those moments of pain and doubt I remember the wins that I’ve accomplished so far and I remember the reasons WHY I’m striving for these goals. Also, surrounding yourself with people who are also striving for excellence in whatever they’re doing in their lives is also very important. I’m learning more and more that you are who you surround yourself with.
PW – For a fun bonus question, what would be your dream gig when we are out of lockdown and able to get back to the live music scene. Are there any countries/ venues that would be a dream for you to play?
I would love to perform at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL. I remember when I first moved back to Miami, FL in high school I went to Ultra and I remember telling myself that I’m going to be up on that stage one day. So I’m looking to do just that when COVID is over.
PW – And finally, where would we find you on social media, and do you have anything else you’d like to add?
You can find me on my website (https://www.paolaproctor.com/) all my links to my socials are there like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, etc…
I would also like to add that I have merchandise from the song “Come Back” that I think people would enjoy. I’d also like to thank you for your time and your coverage of my music. I’m so stoked you liked it and want to share it, it really means the world to me 🙂