Waimea musician Jordan Paul had to make a new friend to get out of his 2020 quarantine funk.
But, the 28-year old, aka Kaua‘i native Jordan Paraongao, now has a new single, “Elsewhere,” available on most music platforms.
Before the pandemic, Paul was living his ideal life, performing at live venues six to eight times a week, singing his cover songs and his own new-age R&B music.
“I was never home. I was always out, and I loved it,” Paul said. “I was like, always on the move. I’ll be home, go to sleep, wake up, leave the house again. That’s kind of what my life was.”
Then after the county asked Kaua‘i residents to follow the stay-at-home order in March of last year, life changed for Paul.
“Once quarantine started, I was stuck at home,” Paul said. “All the gigs stopped. It was so crazy. I was frustrated. I was mad at the world, really. And I kind of slipped into like a little mood — not happy.”
He put some time into the video game Call of Duty to keep his spirits up. Eventually he tried performing virtually through live videos — hoping to earn some money through a virtual tip jar.
“I (also) did the downtown Rice Street Association thing with Addison,” Paul said, referring to Dr. Addison Bulosan. “And he really helped me out a bunch.”
After the stay-at-home restrictions lightened up, Paul found support from other musicians through social media.
That’s how he found his new friend, Eli Smart, a new UK recording artist who grew up in Hanalei.
“We met in the summer of last year,” Paul said. “I’m friends with a lot of people online who I never met, and he was one of them. And I was always commented on his stuff.’”
After a while, Paul said Smart invited him to play with him on the North Shore one Sunday, and the rest is history.
“He is a solid dude,” Paul said. “I was so stoked when he asked me to perform with him, I drove all the way to Hanalei from Waimea. And then we did our first gig together, and it went great. And then every Sunday after that was just me and him. And then, a couple of other friends along with us. And we were putting on a show every Sunday. And it was incredible — I missed that feeling.”
Paul has been playing live music around Kaua‘i since 2014, and he said it’s all because of his support group — made up of old friends and new.
“Shout out to just everyone who supported me throughout the years — seeing my gigs,” Paul said. “And I know that I came a long way. My friends and family have always been super supportive of me. Thank you. And I’m doing this for them and doing this for me.”
Fast forward, one year later, Paul is back, playing live music at Keoki’s Paradise in Po‘ipu on Thursdays, Duke’s Kaua‘i in Lihu‘e on Fridays, WB’s Restaurant &Grill in Lihu‘e every other Friday, and at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler on Saturdays.
Paul said Eli Smart helped him write his single last August. Andrew Vastola, owner of Mauka View Studio in Princeville, mastered the song, and his cover was created by Sami Live.
Paul mentioned a mentor of his that helped build his self-esteem musically is Cory Mira. “Cory Mira, one of the guys who really helped me become who I am right now,” Paul said. “He definitely helped me with confidence — and stage presence. He made me believe that everything was possible, and like you know everything that’s happening right now.”
Although Paul’s dream wasn’t always received well with those he loved, he said after he made up his mind, his parents Joanne and Vincent Paraongao came around.
“I dropped out of college and came back to Kaua‘i,” Paul said. “I told my parents I want to do this thing. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to school. And then, as time went on, they kind of understood, ‘OK, this is what he does.’ I feel like now they’re really proud of me. They believe in me. That means a lot to me.”
Paul said, “It’s never too late to write a new song.”
Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island