Paul Greene
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Paul Greene


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"Paul Greene"

PAUL GREENE lives on the South Coast, at Culburra Beach. When the singer-songwriter is not on tour - a rare occurrence these days - he catches up with absent friends and spends time in his garden, pursuing his interest in permaculture. Last year, when he was actually at home for a decent amount of time, his collection of vegetables and herbs contributed something to every meal he made.

"I had a right-wing garden where everything was ordered and labelled in 2008. It looked like something from a Jamie Oliver television show. But this year I have a chaotic left-wing garden because the chooks got into it early on," the amiable Greene says. "It was just as good - I still managed to make my own tomato sauce."

The point, and this applies equally to Greene's burgeoning musical career, is that what matters is to be self-sufficient. As a resolutely independent artist, Greene has grown up outside the boundaries of the music industry, and now the touring circuit he's created show by show has fostered a sizeable following. In recent years Greene has sold 30,000 albums, most notably of his 2008 set Time Over Distance.

It's hard to query his work ethic. Greene, who performs live solo, recently played at Byron Bay's Bluesfest. He then packed up his family (his wife and two children, aged four years and seven months) to drive to Adelaide, beginning a tour of South Australia that started with familiar names and soon got off the beaten path: Melrose, Port Lincoln, Port Neill, Coffin Bay and Parachilna, to name some.

"Honesty is a very previous commodity," he says. "I did a gig in Corowa on the way back, a little pub gig, and it had been a while since I'd done a pub gig. They hardly have cover bands, let alone people who play their own songs, so I turned up loud and after a while the place went off. It's funny how people forget the rules of how they're supposed to react - they just feel it."

Green is 36 but says he feels 25 and looks 45. It's the kind of wry observation that crops up in the lyrics of his music - a mix of philosophical acoustic pop, country rock ballads and roots music grooves. If he's dedicated about his music it's not altogether surprising, given that he has a history of pushing himself.

In the 1990s, Greene was an elite track and field athlete, specialising in the 400 metres. He competed at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, as well as several Commonwealth Games. He would always accommodate his music as well, busking wherever he was competing or training. In 2000, while half-heartedly preparing for the Sydney Olympics, he realised his priorities had changed.
"It got to the stage where the training started getting in the way of the music," Greene recalls. "The planets aligned and it was so blindingly obvious that I just had to concentrate on music. I just started doing it."

Inspired by the likes of self-made American singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, Greene recorded some songs, pressed up 1000 CDs and started selling them after shows. When the first batch sold out he ordered another. He was self-managed, so events didn't always transpire as intended. An early album, Reset, was barely released because of business-related difficulties, forcing fans to bid for it on eBay.

Although he'd had a Sydney residency as early as 2002, at Glebe's Excelsior Hotel, Greene has developed out of the mainstream's spotlight. Two years ago he took on management and national distribution for his music followed. Now he's writing a new album, with a live DVD also in the works. What hasn't changed is his preference for songwriting over style.

"Something that running taught me is that success is not the goal," he says. "The perception of success is so far removed from playing and enjoying music that it's a waste of time thinking about the outcome at all. I enjoy what I'm doing, as opposed to chasing this far-off thing. A lot of people's idea of success is fame, and that just doesn't work."
- Sydney Morning Herald


2003: THIS WAY
2006: RESET
2008: DISTANCE OVER TIME (ABC/Universal Music)
2011: EVERYWHERE IS HOME (ABC/Universal Music)
2012: BEHIND THE STARS (ABC/Universal Music)



There has been no overnight success for Mr. Paul Greene. He is living proof that it is hard work being lucky.

Rather than fast tracking to fame by Australian Idol or whatever other media junket is giving hopefuls a chance to sell their soul. For Greene it has been a long, slow, steady progression that has seen him become the respected musician he is today, and earned him the mantle of 'Australia’s Hardest Working Musician', as well as a legion of loyal fans and supporters.

The road less travelled has had riches of its own and lead Greene on a musical rollercoaster: from bar brawls in the back of no-where, to the Enmore Theatre and major festivals; community radio everywhere, to artist of the week on ABC Radio National and Nova 969.

A true independent from the get go he has taken the cottage industry record label to a whole new level.

However it has not all been smooth sailing ...
At the end of 2010, despite throngs of reviews praising his latest release, and a very successful tour, Greene was ready to call it quits. A marriage and management severely on the rocks; a run of bad luck on the record label front (including distribution + publishing going into receivership); identity theft with a person playing pre-recorded backing track cabaret shows under the name 'Paul Greene' and a pending IP legal battle. All this combined with the sheer exhaustion from the grind of a decade on the road non-stop the love was waning. Things could not go on the way they were. So he stopped.

This proved the perfect place for a songwriter to be in, with no expectations, Greene fell back on his favorite therapy - songwriting.

Then things got better ...
Somehow, before he could say 'maybe-I-should-get-a-day-job', Greene was booked in to produce a hand full of records, including James Blundell's Golden Guitar nominated album 'Woolshed Creek'. Not long after this, he was approached to front Australian Pub Rock icons Spy V Spy (who happen to be his childhood musical heroes), as well as co-writing with a host of artists including Australian Idol runner up Luke Dickens, Wendy Mathews, Amber Lawrence and a host of others. He started a bunch of side projects, including a punk band and a project deciphering ancient mantras.

By the second half of 2011, invigorated with the break from the road, Greene was with new management, and in negotiations with ABC Music who will be releasing Greene's new album 'Behind The Stars'. This will be Greene's first album as a 'band' assuming the moniker 'Paul Greene & The Other Colours'. It’s also the second of Paul’s records where he is credited as ‘producer’.

Musically this new album comes from a place where his last release 'Everywhere Is Home' left off: a groove that creates involuntary dancing (even in the car); infectious melodies; lyrics that make you forget it is a song, and feel more like a conversation with a dear friend. However from the first track, it is obvious that something is different. The locks have been blown off. Somewhere in the dark corners of Greene's soul, something that was under lock and key has gotten out!