"Where Has Paula Cole Been?"
(The inevitable question. Best answered by myself, I suppose.)
In all of the honest expression, struggle and painful hard work of "Harbinger", "This Fire" and "Amen", I stood outside myself and saw myself running furiously on some giant hampster wheel. I wanted out. I wanted to rest. I wanted a child. I wanted to leave New York City and look for a new life. I was at the beginning of my mid-life crisis.
I stopped running. I precipitously chose a charming man with whom I conceived my daughter, Sky. I secreted away in my LA Bungalow like some plant in shock from a former life. My daughter had severe asthma, requiring total vigilance, 4 meds and trips to the ER. Becoming a mother to a fragile person bore new weight and meaning to life. I couldn't truly relax. I did try to make another album, a beautiful one at that, with Hugh Padgham. But I felt very conflicted about going back out into the world. I wasn't ready and I knew it deep down. My relationship with my record company became increasingly remote and strained. I left. Or, as they see it, they dropped me. But really, I knew that a lot of the old infrastructure had to die in order for there to be rebirth in my life. I left at the Vernal Equinox of 2003, while I was studying Kundalini Yoga with a community of Seiks in Los Angeles. I let these worldly trappings fall away. They felt inauthentic. There was something new in me needing to come into the light. I thought perhaps I was done with a music career. (Funny how something you love so much turns soul-draining.) I researched the curriculum at UCLA and considered academia. I had always loved it as a younger version of myself, and always felt cheated out of the life of an intellect. I didn't know who I was anymore. I was depressed.
But I had courage to be there, asking the questions. My old manager told me I'd never get another record deal again and I sobbed in an alleyway. I read Jungian psychology. I mothered my fantastic kid. Somewhere in there I moved back East, to my authentic culture, I separated from my charming man, and miraculously, I desired to sing again. An old acquaintance, Bobby Colomby, saved me. He heard about me languishing so existentially in the crevices, and he appeared in my life and somehow got me a new record deal and started putting the fun back into music. I was having fun making music! It was an epiphany. The more authentic, second adulthood kicked in. I am scared, honestly, as I approach re-emergence into the world of touring and traveling. I am searching for the truth. Somewhere, it's in the music. The old Paula Cole? I can honestly say she died. Mostly. There are some embers, and they fuel me back to music, which is my destiny, like it or not. But it is the life I'm supposed to live.