With jazz legend Quincy Jones as his mentor and Epic Records for a label, it’s no surprise that Sweden-born pop newcomer Paul Rey is on a rocket to success with American audiences. Until recently, the trailblazer released his music independently in Sweden. His indie debut Makin’ Moves received “Best Solo Artist of the Year” and “Best Newcomer of the Year” nods at Sweden’s Kingsize Gala.
A fresh EP and industry promotion of his debut single “Good As Hell” means 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for the 23-year-old pop innovator. Rey is probably feeling good as hell right about now and rightfully so! We were lucky enough to catch Paul earlier today to talk about his music and future as an artist. Check out the exclusive interview below!
POPULOVE: “Good As Hell” gives off such an uplifting and energetic vibe. What was going on in your mind when you wrote that song?
Paul: It was the first really happy song that I wanted to create and write. So it was kind of tough to do, I’ve never been there before. I just wanted to capture the feeling of when you’ve overcome the obstacles you’ve been struggling with for the past month or past year or whatever. When I heard the beat in the studio, the first thing that came into my mind was ‘I feel Good As Hell!’
POPULOVE: What has been the most “Good As Hell” moment of your career so far?
Paul: I would have to say writing that record. It changed a lot. It lead to me meeting Quincy Jones and getting signed with Epic records. So just that record getting out! It really changed my life.”
POPULOVE: What was your inspiration for the “Good As Hell” music video? It really captures the feeling of the song!
Paul: The director Mark Staubach came up with the idea and I just had some additional ideas to throw in. I really just loved the energy that he had of just everyday life and everyday situations where people are fighting for their dreams and fighting for what they believe in. Really, that’s kind of the same situation I’m in now. I love the whole energy of the city and the three different stories intertwine with each other and have happy endings. I loved it.
POPULOVE: You’ve released music independently before signing with Epic Records, correct?
Paul: Yeah, actually, I have!
POPULOVE: How would you compare releasing music independently as opposed to releasing as a signed artist?
Paul: It’s tough to even compare the two! I was working at a coffee shop before, when I was releasing independently. I was just doing it at night basically whenever my producer had extra time. I wasn’t a priority in any way. I had to really fight to even get a record done. Everything was just in our spare time so it was a struggle to even get another song done. While, now I can focus on music day in and day out. Before, I couldn’t write a record a day and now in the studio we can just write a whole record and get better while doing it.
POPULOVE: I understand Quincy Jones played a role in the transition.
Paul: Oh yeah! He was on early. Even before the record deal, he heard “Good As Hell,” and just loved it. So, he was showing his support early. It was like a month before I meant LA Reid. We hadn’t released the record yet, we just sent it out to some industry people and it got to the right people, I guess, and they loved it. The rest is history.
POPULOVE: If you could go back to that coffee shop and tell yourself one thing what would it be?
Paul: Man! Just keep doing it, Man! It will pay off! And it really did. It’s such a great feeling for me to even be on the phone telling you this right now having a record deal, releasing a single, having a video in Brooklyn… that was all a dream three years ago. I’m just happy.
POPULOVE: Do you have any plans to take your music on tour?
Paul: Absolutely! We’re still working on singles and the EP. Enough people heard the music and love it. I’d love to just perform everywhere Sweden, the states, everywhere! I haven’t seen the whole United States yet. So I plan on doing that with the tour!
POPULOVE: How is the audience in the States different than the audience back in Sweden?
Paul: The audience in the States are very passionate and I love that about them! They communicate a lot. They send videos, they send pictures, they mix lyrics with pictures and everything else. In Sweden, it’s more like ‘I heard your song. It’s great. Keep going,’ and that’s it, just like a message on social media. In the States, they send videos of them singing the songs and stuff. It’s awesome!
POPULOVE: How does it feel to have that fan base to support you now?
Paul: Good as Hell! It’s amazing that they take time to write to me and send videos to me. I try to respond to as many as possible. I see all of them! Hopefully they continue and hopefully they grow, but I’m just incredibly thankful for everything they send me.
POPULOVE: Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Paul: The artist I really vibe with right now is John Bellion. He’s from New York and makes really creative music. He writes, he produces himself. I’m just really impressed with every release he’s had. So hopefully one day I’ll be in the studio with him. And also to just have a guitar with Paul McCartney and just vibe out would be great. Any of the two scenarios!
POPULOVE: What can we expect from you in the future?
Paul: I’m in the studio a lot. So there are a lot of records that I’m really excited to release. So maybe a new single, maybe a new album, I’m not really sure what we’re going to decide to do, but there’s a lot of new records coming!
POPULOVE: Before we wrap this up, do you have anything you’d like to leave to your fans?
Paul: Keep forwarding those videos! Keep sending messages. I’ll see them all! I love the support and appreciate it all!
POPULOVE: One last question, what social or world issue do you wish there was more interest in?
Paul: The big situation in Syria. We take in a lot of refugees in Sweden. It breaks my heart, I read a story about in Sweden they burned down three facilities that were supposed to be for refugees escaping the war. I have no tolerance for it at all. My mom was from Chile. She escaped the dictatorship. She fled the war herself. So, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for people being able to go to another country to be safe. I have no tolerance for behavior like that.