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Ellis Paul's Biography

boston college arts council

Ellis Paul '87
Ellis Paul '87

Ellis Paul is one of the most significant singer/songwriters in the modern history of folk music. He was the chief architect of what has become known as the Boston school of songwriting, an urbane, literate folk-pop style that helped ignite the folk revival of the 1990s. For years, he has been among the folk circuit's most popular artists, with 10 albums to his name. He recently released a documentary/concert DVD titled 3,000 Miles, and Notes from the Road, a critically acclaimed book of poems and stories.

Paul grew up in northern Maine, in a potato farming community so remote that his exposure to music came almost entirely from the one top-40 station he could get on his radio, and his school band, where he played trumpet well enough to earn a summer scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Paul toured the country competing in track, earning a track scholarship to Boston College. It was while at Boston College that he discovered songwriting; when a track-career-ending knee injury left him bedridden for months, he began making up songs on a guitar given to him by a friend. Paul was soon haunting the open mic scene that produced the most important generation of Boston folk stars since the 1960's. Almost immediately, Paul's infectious melodicism, literate lyrics, and honest performing style drew attention. Between 1993 and 2003, he won an unprecedented 12 Boston Music Awards, and his songs were heard on hit TV shows Ed and MTV's Real World; and in the soundtracks of Me, Myself, & Irene, and Shallow Hal.

Ellis Paul, a.k.a. Paul Plissey '87, is the recipient of the 2004 Boston College Arts Council Alumni Award for artistic achievement.

Click here for Ellis Paul's official website.