We first discovered Australian singer-songwriter, producer, and busker Simon Paparo about a month ago when he reached out to us and shared his to be released latest single ‘Pirates’. We got hooked straight away and we are super happy to know that finally, the day has come when the song is available to everyone!
The song has something very magical about it. You might notice that the more you listen to the track the more connected you will be. Maybe it takes me to the teenage years when I was listening to Goo Goo Dolls and listening to the new tracks on the radio. We got to admit that Simon has powerful voice tat shines through in his latest single.
We were super thrilled to have a change to get to know Simon a little better and hear about what shaped him to be the artist he is today.
You started your career in 2018. Last year you managed to release 4 singles. Tell us about the journey until the moment you released ‘Pirates’.
2018 was an exciting year. It was my first ever solo release with ‘Gold At Midnight’ and I went on to release a full-length album. It was many moons in the making as I was fine-tuning my production and mixing skills many years prior to that. After the release of ‘More Like A Memory Than A Dream’ I decided I wanted to do it again but better. I really honed in on what sounds were to my taste, studied more mixing and production techniques, and refined my studio setup. This helped a lot with the 4 singles from last year and I’m really happy with the results.
I’ve had a few mentors along the way to help with this so I’ve been lucky. My business Four Door Studios is a great space to work on my own productions however I’ve been fortunate to work on and produce some great music for many talented artists from whom I learn many ideas from. I’ve been gigging a small amount due to COVID but I do intend to do more shows when possible. ‘Pirates’ is the precursor to my second studio album to be released later this year.
What does ‘Pirates’ mean to you?
‘Pirates’ is a special track to me. It will always be a reminder to me to always follow the path of meaning, love, and kindness. I hope it gives the listener a similar feeling.
‘How can we manage emotion,SIMON PAPARO
If we don’t go to the button of the ocean,
And find the base of the iceberg
And what lies beneath’
Do you remember how these magical lines were born?
Haha. Thanks. Well, I do recall being in the studio with my guitar and reworking ‘Pirates’. I’d already written the lyrics, I believe I was on a break while busking at the time of writing them. Then I had an original working of the song with completely different chords. The second time I played the song I didn’t like how the chords were sitting so I completely changed to new chords in a different key and then ‘Pirates’ was born.
I experimented with a capo on the 9th fret of the guitar but only covering the first 4 strings. The chords felt just right. That was when I started refining/editing the lyrics to fit the new chords and those lines you mentioned came about.
How do you manage your own emotions? What do you do in those moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Good question. I feel like a big part of my emotional management comes from meditation. I practice meditation once a day for at least 20 minutes. I feel like this is an exercise for the mind. Most of us do some sort of exercise for our body on a regular basis but we can easily forget about mind management. Fortunately, my wife was a meditation teacher in the past and she has taught me a lot about it. The other way I do this is by playing tennis. It’s a great sport and I love it!
In the moments when I feel overwhelmed I utilize breathing exercises to help calm me down. Deep breaths and turning my mind to gratitude whenever I can.SIMON PAPARO
What is the biggest treasure that you’ve discovered in your life?
Is it cheesy to say, my wife? Haha. Well, she is a treasure that is for sure! She has taught me many things about love, loss, care, kindness, mindfulness, and meditation. All of these things are treasures. I believe love is the biggest treasure of all. My late, great father, Vince Paparo once said “Embrace everyone you come across. Show them love and tenderness. See if it comes back to you.
Tell us more about your creative process. What is the source of inspiration for you?
Quite often my sources of inspiration comes directly from life experiences. I write a lot about certain feelings and interpretations from things in my life. I feel this is a good way to capture honest lyrical content and helps to provide relativity to the listener. Sometimes I’ll hear a line from a movie, or hear people talking and start developing an idea from there. Most of the time it’s more direct from an experience I’ve had.
What is the biggest lesson you learnt while trying to make it in music?
To not take it all too seriously. I’ve found that during my early days of being a musician, It was all about taking over the world and being famous. I look back on that now and laugh. To me, it’s all about creating and writing a meaningful song that I’m happy to have made. If I can make a piece of music that I’m happy with, then It’s job done. Collaborating and getting help from others is also very important. You don’t have to go in solo and try to work out everything yourself. Most of the best songs are collaborations.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?
Most likely, it would be to have fair treatment and fair compensation for all workers in the music industry. There are too many stories I’ve heard of people being unfairly compensated or sometimes not even paid at all. We build up a lifetime of honing our craft and it does become dull when you hear the old and uneducated line, “Come and play for exposure”.
2020 has been an extremely challenging year. What kept you sane and how did the lockdown impact your creativity?
Indeed. COVID has certainly challenged the world. I hope all the people out there are being safe. I feel like love, gratitude, sport, meditation, and re-focusing helped to keep me sane. For a lot of musicians, myself included, there were no gigs at all and this meant I had to shift the focus onto studio work. I’m fortunate to have my studio space (which I’ve built up for the last 15 years). Lockdown really pushed me in the right direction to build my skills with production, mixing, and mastering. Last year’s singles and ‘Pirates’ have all been the fruit of the lockdown labor.
I feel like there are many great positive stories to come from COVID, with plenty of people changing their occupations entirely and getting by with their new businesses, etc.SIMON PAPARO
What would you like to be remembered for?
If people remember me as someone who was a friendly, caring soul then I’d be more than happy with that. If my songs live on then that is a bonus.
Can you please finish the sentence: Music to me is….
A way to connect to many artists’ life experiences, stories, and ideas. Music is healing on a deep level and can touch the soul. I love that the power of music is able to help people through difficult times and bring them much joy during wonderful times!
You play guitar, harmonica, mandolin, bass, keys, and drums. How did it all start and how did you decide to pick these instruments?
When I was 12 I did a few piano lessons but wasn’t really into it. I then recall seeing my older brothers playing guitar and wanting to do that instead. It all started with the acoustic guitar and playing along to my favorite songs. Over the years while experimenting with the recording I decided to try my hand at these instruments. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at all of them. I just do enough to get by with recordings and guitar and vocals will always be my main instruments. I picked these instruments most likely due to the music I listened to as a child. We grew up with a healthy diet of high-quality folk music in the house thanks to our parents.
How did you decide to start busking? What’s the fondest memory you have?
I started busking all the way back in 1997. It was early evening in Newtown, Sydney, Australia, I was playing guitar and my school friend was playing guitar. We both were too shy to sing at that point. We had made up a number of original melodies. I didn’t realise it at the time but our first $2 coin donation was a golden moment in my life that I won’t forget.
We all need this right now, when you feel down and you want to feel better, what is the first song that comes to your mind that is guaranteed to make you smile?
Definitely the Arcade Fire song ‘Everything Now’. It’s a sentimental track to me. It’s also a great song to dance to and have fun with. It feels ABBA influenced.
Close your eyes. Imagine its 20th of January 2022. How would you summarize 2021?
“2021 was an amazing year! The world broke free from the shackles of COVID. We partied, we danced, we connected on all levels. The learnings from the Pandemic gave us all a new lease on life and we worked out how to set the world back on track for a sustainable future for the next generations. On a personal level, I released my second debut album and was able to tour it to a number of audiences around the globe!”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Thanks for the interview Indietop39. To your audience, thank you for reading this interview and being a part of the wonderful musical landscape this world holds. I hope your personal journeys are made up of soul-nourishing experiences filled with love. I’ll sign off with a great quote
Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of painBob Dylan
Make sure to connect with Simon Paparo
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