Nashville’s Paul Pfau (rhymes with “wow”) is a modern-day troubadour, a skilled and eager listener, with a gift for setting the truths of love, life, and loss to music. His talent for taking in and re-interpreting life’s narrative was honed in six months of personal silence brought on by a threatening polyp on his vocal chords.
During this period of forced quiet, Pfau made ends meet by playing guitar in other bands and by studying the stories of others. His musical inspiration was drawn from his parents’ relationship, and from the great music of 70s singer-songwriters like James Taylor, as well as current artists like John Mayer and Dave Matthews. Upon healing, Pfau took his talents to Season 8 of The Voice, where as a member of Team Pharrell, he was fortunate enough to work with and be mentored by the likes of Lionel Richie and Nate Ruess (of Fun. and The Format).
Behind the Music
The “Great American Love Story” EP is a concept album, a collection of songs with a finite beginning, middle, and end. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, drift apart, work through struggle, and build a life together. Even though the story does have a classically happy ending, the real pain of relationship is present, unblinking in its ambiguity. Pfau is specific enough to draw listeners in, without giving away the goose.
“The lyrics definitely tell a love story, but only one drawn in black and white. The colors are meant to come from the person listening, they can paint their own experiences on to what they’re hearing”, says Pfau. “The record uses a male-female relationship, though the genders assigned to each character are meant to channel stereotypes more than anything. The notion of gender is flexible, as well.”
Pfau is a natural collaborator, and the album was produced and co-written with Austin Bello (bassist and vocalist, Forever The Sickest Kids), with one exception. The EP’s denouement, “See You Better” was co-written with Nashville songwriter Jordan Lawhead. Pfau is also collaborating with fans on social media, regularly sharing the love story of others on his Facebook page. He is currently touring in support of his latest single, “I See the World”, a song about love and family, understanding and perspective.
If you missed the world premiere of the tune that will inevitably be responsible for an increase in the baby population in 9 months, we’ve got you covered. I hope you did your neck-stretches, cause that head’s about to bob!
In 2016, Pfau released his “Great American Love Story” EP while attempting to navigate the Nashville singles scene. The Great American Love Story EP is a concept album, a collection of songs with a finite beginning, middle and end. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, drift apart, work through struggle, and build a life together. Even though the story does have a classically happy ending, the real pain of relationship is present, unblinking in its ambiguity, and yet it turned out to be autobiographical.
Pfau did find love, the old fashioned way: introduced to his current girlfriend through a mutual friend. This obvious exception to the rule is reflected well on his new single “Lo-Fi”, a disco-tinged, upbeat jam about spending quality time with your partner, slowing things down. “I wrote ‘Lo-Fi’ about being good to the one you love, being good to yourself, and really connecting. Single or not, so many of us are exhausted by technology. This song is about taking back control, letting your hair down, chilling out, being present and in love.”
The notion of being present and loving has driven Pfau’s approach to music since his 2015 debut on the national stage on NBC’s The Voice: Season 8. On the show, Pfau aligned with kindred spirits: Pharrell Williams, Lionel Richie, and Nate Ruess, to hone his craft and define his message. In addition to writing and recording music, Pfau headlined a 2018 national anti-bullying tour, and has made two week-long service trips to Guatemala.
Pfau is hopeful that “Lo-Fi” will break through as a feel-good anthem and lift peoples’ spirits. “I’ve been fortunate in my career so far to move from strength to strength, and feel very lucky and grateful for everyone who is listening”, he says. With so much good work ahead, we have every reason to believe that Pfau will find what he is looking for.