Paul Frazier is truly the bassist to the stars, as well as a sought after music producer. In this post, Paul shares a thrilling story about working with a legend and believing in yourself!
Paul started playing piano when he was five years old. He branched out to the trombone and the drums while at the age of 9, before finally settling on the bass, which has been his constant companion since he picked up the first one when he was around 10 years old. He attended Northeastern University and Institute of Audio Research for electrical and audio engineering. Music ended up being what would hold his attention. Paul also sings lead and backing vocals and was signed to Epic/Sony and enjoyed success with two R&B top 40 singles and more to follow.
Paul has worked with Nile Rodgers and Chic, Sharon Corr (The Corrs), Arrested Development, Peter Levin, Michael Tolcher, Imani Coppola, Lucy Woodward, Idina Menzel, Grace Weber, Shawn Colvin, St. Vincent, Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, Donny Osmond, Joss Stone, Cab and Chris Calloway among many others. He has done live shows and tours with such legends as Sara McLachlan, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant (on the Lilith Fair with Imani Coppola), The Weather Girls, NJ Mass Choir, Chuck Jackson, Renee Fleming, Bruce Springsteen/Bon Jovi (with The Mark Pender Band), Arcade Fire, Norah Jones, Crosby, Stills and Nash (With Michael Tolcher) and more.
I remember one studio story that made me believe I could be a producer. I was producing artists with my late good friend and partner Tony Viscardo. The studio was in a bedroom and I was also able to write music there. My friend Michael J. Campbell had just started playing guitar with her and he played her some of my music. She picked 2 songs that she liked. One from me and one from Mike. So I was getting the music together in the small bedroom and here comes Chaka Khan getting out of a limo and walking into Tony’s studio. I couldn’t believe it! We started with Mike’s song and after we did a rough mix, a song that I was doing for myself came up next. She asked what’s that? She told me she loved my other song but this one had a special vibe and she wanted to do it. So I was thinking of changing keys and reworking it to fit what I thought would be cool. She stopped me in my tracks and said my version was the shit! She didn’t want to change a thing. She listened to the way I did my own vox and told me to make up some harmonies for her. I’m thinking, what am I gonna teach Chaka? So she started to sing my melody and I couldn’t believe how cool it was. Then I sang her a harmony part over what she did. I couldn’t believe that she remembered every intricate move I made from beginning to the end with one take. It was amazing!
So after it was done in the back room, she took it to her label (Warner) and got them to agree to record it for real in a big studio. She brought me into some studio in NYC that I can’t recall the name of, but she wanted me to meet Arif Mardin. I was excited thinking he would be the producer. She quickly told me that she wanted me to co-produce it with Marcus Miller but wanted me to learn all the tricks from Arif. I couldn’t have been more flattered. It was a dream come true! Arif also introduced me to Phil Ramone the day I met him. He was trying to inspire me and it definitely worked! Unfortunately, the label ended up picking a Diane Warren song because she’s huge and was on their publishing. Although it didn’t work out, some of the singers in her band heard what we did and spread the word around. From there I was getting calls to produce more. I will always be grateful for her trust in me and I will one day in the near future put this song out.
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