Doe Paoro has self-diagnosed herself with a ‘feral wail’ but we’re left feeling more seduced than startled with her entrancing track, “Nostalgia”.
How many pop singers can say they’ve spent time honing their craft around Tibetan folk opera? So far all the only member of that club we know of is Doe Paoro. After growing up in New York state, Doe went travelling to escape the monotony of suburbia and came back to create Slow To Love, her debut album. Her second album, After, is due for release next month and produced by BJ Burton and Bon Iver affiliated Sean Carey, we’re anticipating an emotion packed, sublimely styled record.
You can see glimpses of the impending release on “Nostalgia”. Doe opens with low, husky filmstar utterances, saying the bittersweet tainted phrase, ‘Nostalgia is killing us,’ and slowly curling the words into a melody. The instrumentation itself is even a little hint of throwback with 80s synth-pop sounds humming in the background. We caught up with Doe to get travel tips, another new track “Growth/Decay” and her artistic tendencies outside of music.
When did you first discover music?
I’m from Syracuse, which is a city famous for snow, college sports, and having the biggest mall in New York state. I always had the feeling I would leave, even as a child. One of my earliest memories of music is my older cousin driving me around the city, blasting Pearl Jam and singing. I was about ten and worshipped her – she was always leaving to see concerts and follow bands. I think from an early age I connected music with something that transported you to other places.
What does the name ‘Doe Paoro’ mean and how did it come about?
‘Doe Paoro’ is the combination of a few different myths about women. When I began making my first record, I had just come off traveling the world alone for a year, and it was clear to me that I was breaking new ground within myself. I wanted to create under a new name that honoured that possibility of transformation, that honoured the power to rewrite our personal mythology.
Being a world traveller, where has been your favourite place to visit and why?
Leh in the Himalayas in Northern India. It looks like another planet up there, it’s so pure because it’s pretty hard to get to, terrain-wise. There is something about being in a place where nothing is familiar – not the language, nor the food, not even the type of trees that grow, or the way my body breathes at an elevation that high – that forces a certain sense of surrender, and that’s where the magic takes over, for me.
How did studying the Tibetan folk opera in India impact your music?
Tibetan folk opera is sung in a range that is extremely high, beyond what I ever thought my own voice was capable of. Learning how to access my voice at those heights has given me so much freedom of expression. Also, most of Tibetan folk opera is inspired by a sense of devotion, and that is an aspect of music that I started to align more deeply with from my studies.
As an accomplished painter and illustrator, what’s your main inspiration?
I’m a bit of a psychology nerd and I think that comes out in my visual art. I paint mostly people and I’m interested in private versus public selves – specifically in our obsession with social media where we curate our private lives to share publicly. I’m inspired by how people perform themselves differently depending on context and whether or not there is a “true nature” that we all share.
What inspired your new track “Growth/Decay”?
My meditation teach says that the law of nature dictates “everything rises to pass away.” Impermanence is part of the design of this life. I find it so hard to accept that, even though every experience I’ve ever had demonstrates that truth: the leaves bud in Spring and drop in Fall, people come into your life and leave, my own body changes on a day to day basis and I can’t control any of it.
Originally, the main hook to this song was “I fell in love to watch it fall away.” I do think unconditional love may be one of the only forces in the universe that grows and doesn’t necessarily decay…
How do you hope your listeners will respond to the new track?
I guess I hope it gives them whatever will benefit them the most in the moment. If that’s something to zen out to during a traffic jam, cool. If it brings a feeling of solace, great. I try to not have ideas of how the music will be received, just very grateful that people are listening to it.
What is your song writing process like?
When I’m alone, it’s improvisational. I’ll sit at my keyboard or guitar and record myself jamming until I do or say something that surprises myself. I usually take whatever that moment is and begin the song there. It’s powerful listening back to when the breakthrough happens on those recordings because its always so raw. I get quite choked up writing sometimes.
When I’m cowriting, I will come to a session with lyrics or a concept in mind already. I’m always open to the idea of starting from scratch and creating something altogether new together but in case that energy isn’t part of the dynamic, I like to have something to vibe off of.
What else are you working on for 2015?
My record comes out September 25th so getting ready for that. Touring. Working on a few videos, and I’ve been writing music for other artists and television.