Paul Andrews releases sophomore album ‘From the Distance’

Singer/songwriter/producer extraordinaire Paul Andrews has released his sophomore album From the Distance today! 

It’s been more than two years since singer-songwriter Paul Andrews released his debut album, Light and Dust, and in that time Paul packed his bags, relocating from New York to Pennsylvania, and finished working on a new album – During a global pandemic. 

“At one point during the initial quarantine, I realized that we weren’t headed back to any form of normal for a while, so I made the decision to start my second album,” Paul explains. “I didn’t want to come out of this experience without having constructively used the time I was given at home.”

Initially, Paul says there was no concept for the new album. But the further he went down the path of writing new songs, the more he heard certain songs working together as a cohesive whole. “The deeper we went into the pandemic, the more I didn’t want to remember the sad aspects of it,” Paul recalls. “I decided to save the slower songs for a different project—and concentrated on songs that had a beat, that kept me moving, moving forward”

Say hello to Paul’s sophomore album, From the Distance. Like its predecessor, Paul wrote, arranged, and produced—as well as sang and played on—all eleven songs. When it came time to mix and master this collection of songs, Paul tapped the talented Andy Bradfield (The xx, Everything but the Girl, Rufus Wainwright) and Simon Francis (Charlie Puth, Craig Armstrong, Kylie Minogue), respectively. Apple Music enthusiasts can also experience the full album in Dolby Atmos.

Two songs from From the Distance have already been released. They are “Into Existence”, the album’s lead single, and “Reach For the Stars”, the newly released focus track from the album. 

For Paul, the album’s title is a multi-pronged reference: an indirect way of referring to social distancing; making an album away from other people; and collaborating with his mixer, mastering engineer, and art director, who all live in Europe. 

The title’s three words are taken from the album’s opening track, “Into Existence,” which Vero’s Head of Music Larry Flick spotlighted in his weekly New Music Moves column, enthusing, “His talent is extraordinary and his songwriting instincts are spot-on. ‘Into Existence’ is sweeping pop with an ’80s flair that occasionally reminds of the Style Council. Gorgeous stuff that starts the week properly.”

A nostalgic musical sensibility can be heard throughout the multi-layered From the Distance, encompassing 1960s R&B, 1970s pop, 1980s new wave/dance, and 1990s dance—with musical flourishes that recall recordings by Tears for Fears, Burt Bacharach, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Swing Out Sister, Steely Dan, Sade, Men Without Hats, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Basia/Matt Bianco. 

Still, the songs of From the Distance are firmly rooted in the here and now. Call it retro futurism. “Even though I have my influences, I feel like I have my own take on them,” Paul notes. “I wanted every song to sound different, to have its own identity, yet still go together. I like variety on an album—I always have.”

Lyrically, the new songs tackle a handful of themes, including living in a state of creativity (“Dream State,” “Into Existence”), identity and authenticity (“Reach the Stars,” “To Belong”), love and loss (“Words to Sorrow, “Borrowed Time”), new beginnings (“Masquerade”), social media addiction (“What’cha Givin’ Away”) and domestic life (“Shady Pines”). 

Paul’s storytelling is timely and sensitive, reflective of the challenging past two years. “We’ve all been dealing with so much these past couple of years,” Paul says. “A lot of my imagery revolves around light, nature, and spirituality—a new beginning, another opportunity. I felt like I needed to write about the pandemic, but from a place of optimism. Actually, I rarely want to write a song without any hope in it.”

“Coming Home” is a song about “centering yourself and realizing that situations around you might cause you to lose sight of who you are,” explains Paul. “This song came from my pandemic depression.” Though the lyrics come from a dark place, the overall feel and mood are anything but, with hope and optimism prevailing. The lush and beautiful track finds Paul proudly grooving underneath a disco ball; it lovingly recalls piano-fueled house music of the ’90s.

The rollicking “Versailles” is akin to a mini history lesson, with references to King Louis XIII as well as the sex-charged gay atmosphere during King Louis XIV’s reign.

With “To Belong,” Paul created a gay anthem around the words “longing” and “belong.” With the chorus, Paul says he created a viewpoint where it wasn’t about one person changing for the world, but about the world changing for one person. 

Consider it a modern day version of the New Seekers’s “Free to Be… You and Me.” The older Paul gets, the more he cares about simply being himself. “I embrace what’s different about me,” he says. “I love that we’re seeing more of this in our culture, in our entertainment, and in the work place. Also, I love that my husband and I can just be ourselves.”

According to Paul, “To Belong” was partly inspired by a 2020 Tweet by London-based LGBTQ+ activist Alexander Leon, which said, “Queer people don’t grow up as ourselves, we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimize humiliation & prejudice. The massive task of our adult lives is to unpick which parts of ourselves are truly us & which parts we’ve created to protect us.” 

Reflecting on Leon’s words, Paul says, “Someone finally put into words what I had been thinking and feeling all along about growing up gay.”

Paul was born and raised in Maryland and, in the 1990s, moved to New York City, where he became a card-carrying member of the dance music community, remixing and re-producing songs for many artists, including Robyn, Kristine W, Gloria Estefan, and Dolly Parton. In recent years, his remix/production work for Phil Ramone, Basia, Wang Chung, and Madonna helped Paul realize that he needed to take the next step and make his own music. 

Light and Dust was the result. Between his debut album and From the Distance, Paul recorded a faithful cover version of Toto’s “Georgy Porgy” for the multi-artist collection, Cruise Control: A Yacht Rock Cover Compilation.

From the Distance closes with “Shady Pines,” which Paul acknowledges is his personal ode to musicians/artists Basia and Danny White. “I intentionally picked the sound from Basia’s first album—especially the synth bass and drum machine sounds—for the song since that was my initial introduction to her and her music. 

“Then, I started thinking about how Brazilian samba songs are often about beautiful places,” he adds. And well, here we are in our Pennsylvania home, which the song is titled after. Basically, everything here is beautiful because I’m sharing the experience with my husband. I wanted to end the album on a happy note.”

Mission accomplished.

Paul Andrews’ From the Distance is available on Apple Music, Spotify and all other music platforms
For more information on Paul Andrews, visit his website at www.paulandrews.org and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!

BWM Staff

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