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PAUL WRIGHT (FLIP-FLOPS NOT INCLUDED)
[ winterfest | february 26, 2005 | lewisberry, pa ]

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Paul Wright was not wearing flip-flops when I met up with him to discuss his new album just after his short set. In fact, my feet were a bit cold while we stood in a tent erected in a parking lot at the bottom of a ski slope. Even the thought of wearing flip-flops seemed far off at the time. But when his upcoming release, From Sunrise to Sunset, is released on July 19th, chances are that the flip-flops will don his feet once again.

Paul Wright SingsPaul told me that he is excited to release his second full-length disc. However, a second disc often evokes thoughts of "sophomore slump." Paul admits, those two words are in the back of his mind "because everyone always talks about it." Paul considers, however, that this new production is better than the first one. He believes that, in the end, "You never know how a record is going to do. I make my music, I write it, and I put it out there and I go and play shows and I connect with people that listen to it. I try not to focus too much on record sales and all that. I just try to focus on what is in front of me — people that are in front of me. So, I do not put too much into how well it is going to do."

About twelve or thirteen songs made the cut for the album, with another couple of songs that when compared to the rest, "did not fit the mold." Mr. Wright's fans will be glad to know that these extra songs are expected to be available in the future as an online bonus. tobyMac fans should note, on the other hand, that for From Sunrise to Sunset, Paul decided not to include this Gotee Records executive on the disc. Perhaps that is why I noticed one of Paul's posts on his message boards where he summoned album promotion ideas from his fans.

Paul explained that the whole album contains a common thread about focusing on God throughout the whole day, which leads to the album title and also a song with the same name. Paul continued, "The lyrics are saying 'From sunrise to sunset help me not forget all that you have done for me / From sunset to sunrise, help me keep my eyes upon your glory.' ...[It is] almost like a coming back record. If you are coming back to God, this would be a good record for you. Or if you are a new believer, I think it is a good record."

Paul Wright SingsWhen I asked Paul, "What is your heart in releasing this album to the listeners?" his answer was simple. He replied, "I am just like everybody else. I love to write music and these are songs I have been inspired to write at different times in my life. And I want to share them. That is my heart. ... I listen to music that inspires me and encourages me, so I hope to inspire and encourage other people." This inspiration was first awakened through his parents.

The man who describes his music as a mix of acoustic, reggae and hip-hop has a music teacher mom and a high school drama teacher dad. His mom gave Paul his first guitar and encouraged him musically. Perhaps his dad gave him the talent that landed Paul a role in the !Hero rock opera tour back in 2003. Paul told me he did not pursue that role, nor does he see any new drama projects in the near future. Yet his mom and dad are still involved in encouraging his music role — his mom works with the online merchandise and his dad connects with the fans on the message boards and runs the "Fan of the Month" on Paul's website.

I moved toward a portable heater as we closed out our discussion. I knew the time for us to chat was coming to a close when Superchic[k] was getting ready to take the stage. I enjoyed our short time together, but I was ready to bounce around again in order to warm up. In the meantime, I began to think of a day when flip-flops will once again be the norm. The snow on the mountain will be long gone. July 19th seems a long way off at this time. But for new and old Paul Wright fans, I am sure it will not come soon enough.
- Kim Flanders
May 2005
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