'A striking first impression'
‘TIME DON’T HEAL’
Manchester’s rising star PAUL USHER releases
new music video Friday October 16th 2020
Praise for Paul:
‘A striking first impression...Profound’
Featured on Graham Norton, Radio 2 & Billboard Pride
‘Regret dressed up to the nines’ is how Paul describes his blistering new single. ‘Time Don’t Heal’ is an acerbic yet soulful heartbreak bop - a lovechild of Paul’s Childish Gambino and Elton John influences.
The title is a direct rebuttal to the simplistic platitudes which are offered to people in times of desperation. Shallow sympathy often adds insult to injury; honesty and empathy are far more of a balm to my spirit - throw in dark wit too and you’ve found my favoured brand of panacea. This song is a result of all that’
The wonderful Wes Anderson aesthetic of Swann Street’s ‘Sammy’s’ is the setting of Paul’s ‘Time Don’t Heal’ music video. Original seventies wallpaper of luminous yellow, iconic of-the-time artwork, vintage glassware (and softcore porn magazines) adorn this unique cocktail bar of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. It creates a stunning landscape to equal Paul’s creativity which allows him and the storyline to unravel in an artistic wonderland.
‘How could a second hand grant me a second chance? Do you really think in that way?’ Paul poses on the opening line. There’s a dichotomy between the lush harmony, upbeat 70’s sounding R&B rhodes riff and the broodingly dark lyrics ‘loaded gun chambers emptied and filled up again’. ‘I love that,’ Paul says ‘I feel that’s a reflection of life; it’s always pulling you in two different directions at once.’
Trying to film a music in a pandemic was difficult but social distancing measures forced creativity. The central character is cast as a lone eccentric customer of a cafe, emotionally unravelling seemingly unaware of the only other patron (played by Ciara Tansey) as he dances with his demons. It is filmed entirely on an iPhone 11.
With faux-fur coat, love-heart sunglasses, sequin jackets, water pistols, sand timers, whiskey shots and ticking clocks the video is a smorgasbord of symbolism and art which makes you want to Pinterest every item on screen. Paul has directed, produced, edited and styled the video himself which makes it all the more a tour-de-force.
‘Sometimes a heart breaks so badly that the landscape of your life is forever altered. There is more power in admitting that a cataclysmic event has taken place which has changed you rather than repeating cliches to oneself to numb the pain. Honour it, see the beauty in it and the wisdom that it brings. I’ve always been known for being honest, brutally so at times, and these lyrics are no different. I find truth sexy.’
Writing and recording the track at home during lockdown has been challenging but rewarding, sending files remotely to his co-producer Louis Takoree, but one of the joys has been performing at virtual festivals, Pride events and direct to fan gigs online.
‘The aim of life isn’t to make it from the cradle to the grave unscathed. If you fully engage with life you’re sure to have scars to show for it. Bravado and aloofness is everywhere nowadays especially on the dating scene. I’ve experienced love and even tenderness; no wonder one would feel mournful when that came to an end. Perhaps time won’t heal those wounds and that’s fine - I’ll own them.’
‘NEVER GONNA LEAVE HIM’
Mancunian rising star PAUL USHER releases follow-up single
November 8th 2019
Praise for Paul:
‘A striking first impression...Profound’ - Attitude Magazine
‘Refreshingly Honest’ - Gay Times
Previously played on Graham Norton, Radio 2
A palpable and unbreakable bond draws two former lovers together. Through dancefloors and dark lights, the visceral connection that still exists between the pair is manacled by the knowledge that one is in a new relationship.
Akin to a hybrid of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ and a Drake/Rihanna collaboration, this self-composed unforgettable R&B/Pop earworm sees Paul draped in drink-in-hand, heart-on-sleeve, pop realness which is as exciting as it is daring for a male solo artist in this current climate.
Sexual frustration seethes through the sensual verses which barter with his former beau for a good reason not to start again. A 4-to-the-floor, hands-in-the-air, tears on the dancefloor style stomping chorus laments the chaste love to anthemic proportions.
This is the follow up to the Graham Norton premiered ‘Paper Cups’ which Gay Times called ‘Refreshingly Honest’, and debut ‘Jesus Is A Preston Boy’ which Attitude magazine called ‘A striking first impression...profound’. ‘Never Gonna Leave Him’ is a continuation of the LGBT love story first mentioned in his debut.
‘I saw the first guy I’d ever loved across the dancefloor for the first time since we’d parted ways. Even in the darkness of a club, filled with seemingly thousands of people, we locked eyes, instinctively; the connection never falters. We caught up and the attraction was still powerful. But he was with somebody new and the song wrestles with the internal conflict created, which I’m sure others can relate to.’
This tour-de-force cements Paul’s place as an artist and songwriter to be reckoned with who will not shy away from lacerating his music, lyrics and videos with pride.
Mancunian rising star
Releases follow-up single June 14th 2019
First radio play: The Graham Norton show, Radio 2, Sat 15th June 2019
‘A striking first impression’ ‘Profound debut’ - Attitude Magazine
Tender and brave, ‘Paper Cups’ ruminates upon those transient moments, those
spontaneous nights when fledgling love flourishes. Sparse, contemporary R&B
production reminiscent of Frank Ocean and Jessie Ware, beautifully underpin the romance and melodic joy in this affecting and unforgettable pop song - released June 14th 2019.
Delivered with a disarming charm Paul Usher recounts this LGBT love story ‘on a pauper’s high’ - with little money but little care for anything other than his beau. The self-taught pianist, who was writing songs from the age of 12, recounts cheap wine in paper cups, drinking games and make-shift beds on best friends’ floors; all imbuing the lyric with the rapture and abandon of youth, swollen with the joie-de-vie and possibility of young love.
‘I remember sitting by the river in Camden; laughing, loving and learning all about this beautiful Portuguese boy I’d just met. The date was so simple but so natural. The evening unfolded effortlessly and I remember feeling so unashamed about simply holding his hand in public. I couldn’t help but write this celebratory boy-meets-boy song and capture the feeling of surrendering to a moment with a kindred spirit.’
Building upon the success of his debut ‘Jesus Is A Preston Boy’ which premiered with Attitude magazine who called it ‘A striking first impression’ and a ‘Profound debut’, PAPER CUPS cements Paul’s reputation as a rising star on the music scene who is lyrically original, charmingly relatable and queering pop with style.
‘JESUS IS A PRESTON BOY’
LGBT Mancunian ‘green-eyed-soul’ artist
Releases debut single November 9th 2018
Northern, working-class and gay. Paul Usher’s courageous and intelligent self-penned debut ‘JESUS IS A PRESTON BOY’ is a startlingly original contemporary R’n’B pop song which is lacerated by an Amy Winehouse-esqe wit, honesty and charm. RELEASED NOVEMBER 9TH on all streaming platforms.
Produced and performed like a British Frank Ocean, the title of his debut alone arrests and intrigues the listener. Achingly romantic yet strikingly defiant, the song tells the tale of Paul meeting his first love amongst his beloved Northern landscape. ‘An awe-inspiring experience mixed with profound contentment, happiness and understanding’ is what Paul supposes meeting Jesus would be like and yet, he says, ‘I found all those qualities in a Preston Boy’.
Same-sex pronouns, Pop hooks, Gospel backing vocals and rap coalesce with synths, 808s and razor-sharp one-liners. ‘Who knew love would be found / Off the M61 Northbound?’ is one such Alex Turner-esqe lyric; ‘Get on your knees and worship him / That ain’t different from what I’ve been doing’ another, which marries the tongue-in-cheek with sincerity in a way only the best pop-stars do.
A self-taught pianist from the age of 12, who has self-directed the accompanying music video, Paul Usher is an irrepressible artist. He describes his ‘Green-eyed soul’ music as ‘Like blue-eyed soul but with more lust and jealousy’ and is inspired as much by Childish Gambino as he is Oscar Wilde.
Finding salvation and redemption in love is a notion that will resonate with many. However, the brilliantly inspired simile of Jesus as a Preston boy is indicative of a songwriter who is destined to excite and compel audiences for years to come.