Lunchtime Lockdowns: Paola Vera

Written by | Interviews, Lunchtime Lockdown, News

Welcome to our lunchtime lockdown series. Here at Jazz in Europe, we wanted to take some time and speak to artists in the Jazz industry, all across the world, about how life is during this unexpected and challenging moment in time. As you all know, gigs and events have been cancelled everywhere and for many musicians, this is their only income. However, everyone is pulling together to support each other and as dark, as the time may seem, it has also become a time for inspiration. We are all in this together and perhaps by sharing experiences, we will realise we are not alone and can overcome these challenges – and what better way to do this, than through Jazz.

Awarding winning singer/songwriter and pianist Paolo Vera described by Richard Niles as the ‘Chick with hits’ has performed with some incredible musicians with highlights including Bobby McFerrin and Kenny Wheeler. She has performed at prestigious concerts halls, festivals and Jazz clubs across the world including The New Morning (Paris) Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club (London), The 606 club (London), Nardis (Istanbul), St Emilion Jazz festival (France) and Armando’s (San Francisco). Her latest album ‘Addicted’ has received wonderful reviews and demonstrates her unique musical style.

I caught up with Paolo while she is in lockdown in France.

Thank you for joining us Paolo! So, how is life for you at the moment and life in France?

Surreal! We had actually just started a new term after the February break when the French government put us all on lockdown – I had just finished a week of concerts in the Alps. So, to go from gigging every night to no gigs for the foreseeable future has been quite a shock. I have two small children, a four-year-old and a two-year-old so being at home with them 24/7 has been intense. Productivity has gone out of the window!

I must admit, and I cannot say this enough, I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be for parents at the moment, especially with very young children. Finding time for anything beyond that must be so hard.

No live gigs or studio work at the moment for most people, so what are you doing musically?

I’ve been trying to use the time to advance forward with various studio projects. I’ve been working on my next singer/songwriter album – I have a week’s residence and gig lined up for September for this new album so trying to get ready for that. I’ve participated in a few lockdown covers, had a go at recording some live videos… I’m finding it hard to compose at the moment, as I only seem to be able to grab little pockets of time, I seem to be more effective at writing arrangements or working on things that I’ve already written as opposed to coming up with anything new… I’ve been wrapping up my Estill Master Trainer certification too – it has been a real challenge adapting to teaching online, but I’ve learnt loads and hope to continue improving!

So many people are using this lockdown to develop new skills and achieve things that they previously just did not have the time for. It’s a wonderful thing. So many positives things are coming out of this lockdown.

Any particular challenges that you have found?

Trying to fit everything in! Online teaching, cooking, house, garden, kids, music…! But I guess there’s no change there! I do miss live gigs though, I don’t think I’ve gone this long without playing a gig since I was about 13!


Any positives you have personally found during this time that you would like to share?

Yes, being involved in collaborations has forced me to use Logic more – something I’ve never been terribly adept at. It’s been lovely having this intense time with my family too… I’ve also been baking a lot!

Share with us the best way for everyone to support you?

Follow me on Facebook/ Instagram! If you like my music maybe buy an album on Bandcamp or on my website and get in touch – I’d love to hear from you! Would be wonderful to see you at a gig when we are eventually out loose again!!

Any words of wisdom for people stuck at home?

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to get things done. It’s a rare moment that we are all collectively experiencing – and that is also enough. If you get to write a symphony well that’s great but it’s also great if you don’t really do anything! I need to listen to my own advice…

Huge thanks to Paola for joining us and please see links below to support her work:

Artist websites: Paola Vera  – VocalProStudios – Online/In-person in English and French

Senior writer – Fiona Ross

Photo credits: Nigel J. Farmer

YT channel Video: misspaolavera

Last modified: May 28, 2020