Paul Rey

Paul Rey, a 23 year old Swedish singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist,
remembers the exact moment he knew he wanted to be a performer. He was 11
years old when his father took him to Sweden’s largest music festival in Malmö.
“There must have been 30,000 people out on the street,” Paul says. “I remember
everything about it so clearly.” He was instantly mesmerized by one of the night’s
performers, a Swedish rapper and reggae artist named Timbuktu. “Watching him
inspired me to chase the dream of becoming an artist,” Paul says. I knew since
then that I wanted to do music for a living for the rest of my life.”
Ever since, Paul has committed himself to writing uplifting, relatable and sonically
diverse songs that he hopes will inspire people, as his heroes Bob Marley,
Michael Jackson, and The Beatles have done. Now under the mentorship of
Quincy Jones and signed to Epic Records, Paul is about to release his debut EP,
The Effect, featuring his first single “Good As Hell” — a soaring rock-tinged
anthem about surmounting struggles that Paul wrote when he felt his nerves
jangling over signing deals “and everything becoming so business-like, when I’m
really just about being creative and open and experimenting with music,” he says.
“To me, that was a bit of anxiety that I had to bear. It was getting past that
obstacle that made me feel ‘good as hell’ and allowed me to follow my dream.”
The other songs on The Effect explore similar themes of transcendence. “Run
Away” encourages listeners to break down the walls that confine them —
whether physical or emotional — as a way to move forward in life. Bolstered by
jittery acoustic grooves, “Sunrise” contemplates the changes one goes through
once becoming a parent, while “Blue Sky” is a song about loving someone
unconditionally, whether they be a family member, friend, or romantic partner.
“Close Your Eyes” is “a lullaby anthem for all the dreamers, of which I am one,”
Paul says. “When you have a dream that you’re chasing, people are going to say,
‘Come on, be realistic. That’s out of your league. Open your eyes.’ This is the
answer to that. I’m going to keep seeing my vision and work hard day and night
until it’s a reality.”

As for the sound of The Effect, Paul calls his blend of pop, hip-hop, R&B, and
rock “modern world music” that he created with his long-time friend John-Alexis,
who serves as the EP’s executive producer. “We wanted it to be a worldly kind of
sound that crosses boundaries,” Paul explains. “These songs have different
spices to them that come from all different genres.” Given Paul’s rich background,
it feels like an apt description. He was born and raised in the small Swedish city
of Lund. His mother is from Chile, raised in a family that fled the country’s
authoritarian Pinochet regime in 1973 and traveled the world (Venezuela, Mexico,
Cuba, and Paris), before settling in Sweden where she met Paul’s father, who
was born and raised in Finland. Paul was introduced to music at an early age. He
began playing piano at age 6, guitar at 10, and drums at 14. “My parents always
thought that learning how to play instruments was important,” he says.
After seeing Timbuktu perform in Malmö, Paul got to work making beats and
writing lyrics and recording songs on his webcam at home. Inspired to write in
English from listening to Tupac, Dr. Dre, and Eminem, Paul began collecting his
stories and telling them through rap, establishing himself as a seasoned rap
battler in the process. He appeared in Sweden’s The O-Zone Battles and the
British battle league Don’t Flop, and opened for Big Sean and Raekwon from
Wu-Tang Clan. In 2012, Paul released an independent full-length album that
showcased his rapping ability, entitled Makin’ Moves. His debut album led to
nominations for Best Solo Artist of the Year and Best Newcomer of the Year at
Sweden’s Kingsize Gala, which celebrates hip-hop, soul, and R&B music.
In late 2013, Paul began to move away from his rap roots and explore singing for
the first time as a means to evolve his sound as an artist. Now fully committed to
singing, Paul is excited for people to hear The Effect, a title he chose because he
wants to have an effect on his listeners. “I want to make an impact on their lives,”
he says. “I want them to think of that person they love unconditionally when they
listen to ‘Blue Sky.’ Or if they’re not having the best day, maybe ‘Good as Hell’
can help turn it around. Or if someone feels like something is not working out the
way it’s supposed to, they can listen to ‘Close Your Eyes’ and remember their
vision and just keep fighting for it. I want to connect to a lot of listeners and just
give big positivity and motivation to their lives.”

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