Born into a vocal jazz household in Cleveland, Ohio, where strains of the Great American Songbook were always in the air, Paula sang as early as she could talk. Guided by the quality of her clear mezzo-soprano range, she naturally gravitated towards jazz standards in her formative years.
Yearning for new inspiration, she began to explore non-western vocal traditions, specifically North Indian classical vocal technique. In 2001, she was invited to Mumbai to participate in the Jazz-India Vocal Institute program developed by jazz visionary Niranjan Jhaveri. Studies with kirana gharana exponent Dhanashree Pandit-Rai and further studies in New York City with beloved teacher Gulam Mohammed Mirashi developed a greater lucidity and suppleness in her voice. Combining these influences, Paula has sung her adaptations
of South Asian forms such as ghazal and thumri.
She has collaborated on Indian-inspired compositions with Lee Boice in her current project Melody Sky. With a focus on original material, she has used her skills as both a lyricist and composer in the course of her career. Paula also enjoys returning to her roots and singing jazz for concerts and festive occasions.
Over the last few years, Paula has also experimented with spoken word in her compositions, performances and soundscapes, finding further applications for her warm and welcoming voice.