Vancouver vocalist Lori Paul sets her sights on soulfulness

mila geran photo


By Steve Newton

“I’ve always wanted to sing like a black lady,” says Lori Paul. “They strike me as being the most genuine on stage, the most sincere. I guess that’s what a soul singer is… and I want to be known as a soulful singer.”

Lori Paul is getting known as just that. All last week at Club Soda she was raising eyebrows and winning fans with gutsy versions of songs by Aretha Franklin (“Baby I Love You”, “See Saw”), and Eurythmics (“I Could Give You [A Mirror])”, as well as a knockout rendition of her “theme song”–Tina Turner‘s “Let’s Stay Together”.

Lori first made herself known to Vancouver audiences fronting Dog Skin Suit, more recently as featured vocalist with the David Raven Band. When Raven went back to London, England–where his ex-wife and daughter live–she hooked up with Lindsay Mitchell and & the Exceptions–guitarist Mitchell, drummer Geoff Eyre, and keyboardsman Pete Sweetzer.

Lori Paul is now in the process of putting an EP together at the new Blue Wave Studios. She’s hoping to have a three-song 12-inch ready to shop to record companies in the fall.

Rock manager Kim Champniss–who helped get Images in Vogue signed to WEA Music–is one of several local music industry folk who’ve taken notice of Lori’s talent and promise.

“He’s shown some long-term interest in me, which is uncommon in this business with agents. I mean they’re anxious to get you going in the clubs next month, ’cause they’d like to see their 15-percent coming in.”

Bill Race, manager of Club Soda, and Drew Burns, owner of the Commodore, are two other important music figures that have taken a shine to Lori’s soulful style. Burns actually had Lori and the band lined up as opening act for Philip Bailey (unfortunately, Monday’s nearly sold-out show was canceled at the last minute.)

Lori admits that she needs more work as far as writing her own songs goes–“I’ve been singing for seven years and only writing for two”–but in the meantime it’s her interpretive talents that are getting her more and more fans.

“What I”d really like to do is a remake of “River Deep, Mountain High,” because I think that’s one of the best cuts Tina [Turner] has ever done. But I don’t know if I have the balls to do that,” she laughs. “It’s kind of like treading on sacred ground.”

To read my interviews with Vancouver rock musicians dating back to 1983 go here.

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