TABLES TURNED: Doe Paoro on 5 Legendary Artists That Inspired Her Forthcoming Album ‘Soft Power’


Photo: Rinny RIot

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Doe Paoro looks into the past to create a musical vision that feels unquestionably modern. The brainchild of Sonia Kreitzer, Doe Paoro crafts inspiring works of contemporary pop magic that pull from '60s inspired instrumentation and soulful R&B. 

2018 has seen the announcement of the rising artist's forthcoming third album Soft Power, due out October 19 via Anti-Records. Introduced by the single "Over," a song that hits all the right chords and then some and produced by Grammy Award - winning producer Jimmy Hogarth of Amy Winehouse and Sia fame, Soft Power already has us counting down the days until October.

So, in anticipation of Soft Power, we spoke with Doe Paoro herself to gain some further insight on five of the legendary artists that inspired her soulful, timeless, and impeccable sound.

Kate Bush - "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)"

Somehow, not sure how, I'd never heard Kate Bush's music before making this record. A friend of mine gave me a few of her albums before I flew out to London to make mine. This song became my anthem every day on my way to the studio. I admired how in control she was of her own vision and it inspired me in trusting my own instincts.  I can hear the influence of her music in some of my songs on this record – the backup vocal part that I wrote for the breakdown in "Fading into Black," for example.

Leonard Cohen - "You Want It Darker"

Leonard Cohen has always been a hero of mine and I relate a lot to his duality – specifically his having one foot in an almost monastic life and another in music and a sort of Dionysian propensity. He channeled eternal lyrics. This record came out when I was making my album and I knew he was going to die when I heard it. He passed shortly after and I was listening to this album and thinking a lot about it.  I felt we tapped into that spirit that Leonard Cohen served in our recording of "The Vine." Lyrically, it may be the song that I have written that I am most happy with.

Amy Winehouse -  "What It Is"

I made this record with Jimmy Hogarth, who had worked with Amy Winehouse on her first album, 'Frank.' I was captivated by that record, loved both her records, but especially that one. I've had some interesting things that have happened to me in my career that seemed to trail behind hers, and she has always been one of those artists I listen back to every few months. When I met Jimmy, I learned that he had worked with a few female artists that I felt made really beautiful, authentic, raw and soulful albums (Duffy, Sia among them.) I had faith that he must have been able to hold space for them in a way that allowed them to truly shine in their essence, which is what I was looking for. He was the perfect partner for this album.

Nina Simone - "Ain't Got No (I Got Life)"

Years ago, I saw a video of Nina Simone playing this song, and it moved me deeply. She is probably my favorite singer and songwriter and because of how much I have listened to her music, it naturally comes out in my songwriting. When I was writing "Guilty" and coming up with the chord changes for it, I thought of her songwriting.

Carole King -  "So Far Away" 

When I started dreaming about this record, my intention was to make something pure-hearted, and I wasn't so concerned about having it be inventive production-wise, as much as completely honest and authentic in the songwriting. This decision was based on my experience in my previous two records where I was more experimental and sometimes felt I lost the message of the songs in the production, like I couldn't hear myself somehow in them. 'Tapestry' has always been one of my favorite albums, and taught me that a good song doesn't need much more than a piano and a voice. I let that be a guiding principle in empowering myself to step away from the production style of my previous work, and try something that felt more vulnerable.