A Massachusetts native, Paula attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz singing and improvisation. Her single "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997 and the following year she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. She took a seven-year hiatus to raise her daughter as a single mother, then returned with Courage in 2007. On the heels of her new release, Ithaca, Paula stopped by WFUV for a studio session with John Platt, which will air on Words & Music from Studio A on Monday, November 15. While she was at the station, she agreed to take the WFUV Pop Quiz.
Aside from gear, instruments or your band, you don't go on the road without?
My black boots. I'm very grounded in my black boots.
What song do you wish you've written?
"Strawberry Fields" by John Lennon. It's just genius.
Who would you like to record one of your songs, dead or alive?
I would love to hear Emmylou Harris cover one of my tunes. I love her so much.
What song would you sing in the shower but never in public?
The song by the Emotions [sings "Doesn't take much to make me happy"]. I love singing that song in the shower and around the house.
What's the first album you bought?
I think I was given a Marie Osmond album, that's so lame [laughs], I'm so embarrassed by it. I remember my first concert, though, that was Devo. Human League, though, that's the first LP that I bought.
Someone finds your iPod and hits shuffle. What song do you hope does not come up?
I don't care. I have John Denver on there, and even though that's not hip I love him.
What's your favorite Bob Dylan Song?
I'm not a Dylan head, but probably "Tangled Up in Blue" out of the ones I know.
What job would you have if you weren't a musician?
I don't possess very many skills, but I'd go back to school. I love science. I would have probably pursued science.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I'm a good gardener. I have a way with plants and animals.
Do you cook?
I do. I'm good with pasta. The Italian in me comes out there. It's so simple - just a nice angel hair, chop up some garlic and olive oil, add a little pepper to the sauce to give it a little kick with tomatoes and a little bit of goat cheese on top. So much of the secret though is in draining and tossing the pasta really well so that it has a little bit of air in it.
What's the biggest misconception your fans or the media have about you?
That I am hairy, political, spiritual, god loving. I don't know, you tell me. The whole hairy armpit thing really kind of derailed things. It was the night at the Grammys, which should have been a lovely night, but ended up being very stressful. It kind of eclipsed things, and the joke was on me. I didn't laugh back then, but I can now.
What wacky thing would you do if you had the time, guts or resources?
I'm just longing to rip up all my clothes and go running down the ocean.