Well who am I?
No big accolades here…yet! I’m just like you. Your regular, average, working class hero, with a dream.
I was born, Paul Denis (Pronounced De-Knee) Belair, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. A family of six, we lived in a small house in the Norwood Flats of french St. Boniface. My father was a world war II vet. Our neighbors were holocaust survivors. What an amazing, small world. My mother was a homemaker. No frozen t.v. dinners in our house. There was never a shortage of help as she was one of the youngest in a large family of fourteen. Aunts and Uncles were always dropping by. There was never any shortage of laughter. Gin, the familiar smell of Matinee cigarettes, card games and plenty of good food was the norm in our french Canadian family.
We had an old upright piano with ivory keys in the basement and one day, I started tinkering. I still remember feeling the elation of creating notes and instinctively beginning to sing melodies or hear full symphonies and/or rock choruses in my head. Nothing much has changed since then. I was a simple guy, who loved to create but I was never a prodigy. I couldn’t sing very well and I was no Keith Emerson on the keys. So, for a young man growing up in the 70’s it wasn’t until a decade later when MIDI (Musical Instruments Digital Interface) came on board that I could see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Now, technology was giving me the tools to take the sounds out of my head and record them. Fast forward to today and only someone as keen as Hans Zimmer or John Williams could tell the difference between a virtual Oboe or Cello and a real one.
In 1987 I moved to the country and with modern gear in hand I began recording music. Fast forward another decade and all those dreams fell silent as I had a one year old son to look after. Work, mortgage, bills, family, all took center stage and music was always hidden within a a veil in the back of my mind as I would dream of great songs and quickly hum melodies in my miniature recorder for future reference.
In 2009 with four kids under the age of twelve, I found myself alone having gone through a divorce and began picking up the pieces of my broken life still putting kids and finances first. Sometimes out of chaos , life opens up a new chapter and I was able to put more time and effort into my dream of recording music. I spent a few years in the recording studio and was fortunate to meet and work with some phenomenal musicians such as guitar player and producer Murray Pulver (Crash Test Dummies, Doc Walker) as well as the amazing “Spider”, bass player Ken Sinnaeve (Streetheart, Loverboy) all introduced to me by recording engineer Howard Klopak (the Guess Who?). Money has always been an issue and ways heavy on the recording process. After eight years of trying to record, attempting to push my music in film and television, having tracks placed in several music libraries around the world and releasing my test single “Stars” through CD Baby (which incidentally to any independent musician without a solid marketing campaign is like pissing in the ocean) I could not find any avenue to get my independent music heard….until now!
It’s been a 40 year journey and finally I have something to share with you. My long awaited concept album “A Passing Storm”. I hope you’ll also join me in the final chapter. Together, I’d like to share with you as time goes by, and, as more songs develop, the creative process, some finished pieces, some nearing completion, the demos, and all the mess that goes with the finishing touches. Interact with me, share your thoughts and watch the songs unfold. I look forward to hearing from you!