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The first time Paul Childers picked up a guitar he knew he wanted to pursue a career in music.
“I had a euphoric moment,” Childers said. “I knew I wanted to do this and nothing else.“
At only 12 years of age, Childers began to pursue his passion. With the help of a local musician, Brad Lanham, Childers learned the basics.
“From there I would go to my bedroom for eight hours a day and play,” he said. “There was no high school social life for me. But, I didn’t feel like I needed one. I felt like I had all I needed with those six strings.”
But, Childers didn’t stop at learning how to play the guitar. He began to write song lyrics, too. And, while he never intended on singing, he realized even his idols, like Stephen Ray Vaughn, sang while whaling on the guitar.
As a high school student, Childers began to perform locally at various functions, such as the annual Battle of the Bands during Ham Days weekend. It was then that the possibility of pursuing a career in music became much more real for him.
“It became more of a reality when people didn’t leave,” Childers said, with a laugh.
Today, Childers is an 18-year-old college student majoring in accounting at Belmont University in Tennessee. But, he hasn’t given up on his dream of being a musician. In fact, he seems to be getting closer to making it a reality. Speaking with him one might think he was an experienced musician already.
He’s the manager of a studio in Nashville, Magmatone Records, which is where he recorded his first album, “Wasted Space.”
Childers began working on his album, which consists of 10 songs, in December of 2011. While finishing his senior year at Bethlehem High School, Childers would travel to Nashville very weekend to work on his record. And he wrote every song on the album.
“Every single song was written within the four walls of my bedroom in Lebanon,” Childers said.
The album is a snapshot of who he was then, Childers said, although he does admit to wanting to sound like he was 25 years old rather than a 17-year-old.
One of the songs - “Slow dance in sweatpants” – was chosen to be in an upcoming Tom Hanks film.
“I can’t say much about it,” Childers said. “But, I was honored to be selected.”
Childers said he’s pleased with his first album, but he hopes his next one is even better.
“Surely someone will break my heart by then,” Childers said.
And while he said he doesn’t believe in “backup plans” he said earning his accounting degree at Belmont is a way to help him be a more efficient studio manager.
“Even if I don’t become a professional guitar player or singer, I’ll be able to still run a successful studio,” he said.
But, Childers, who has often been compared to John Mayer, seems destined for a successful career as a musician.
“I just need to set myself apart … prove why I’m not John Mayer,” Childers said. “Why I’m different.”
Becoming famous is not Childers’ goal, however. His ultimate goal is to just be happy and have some sort of musical influence, which is why he’s coming back to his hometown of Lebanon to perform with his band on April 6. The Paul Childers Band will be performing live at Angelic Hall and all of the proceeds will go to the music program at St. Augustine Grade School.
“I want students to have the opportunity to discover music. To express themselves,” Childers said.
Childers attended St. Augustine, and he’s glad he can give back to the school that gave him so much growing up.
“It’s not about me … it’s not about the band … it’s about something much bigger,” he said. “It’s about children learning. It’s me paying it back.”
And while Childers was anxious to leave Lebanon when he graduated high school, he still loves his hometown.
“Growing up in a small town, I wanted to leave. I don’t say that in an offensive manner. Because now that I’m in Nashville all I want to do is come back,” Childers said. “Lebanon is one of the greatest places to grow up. To have that as my starting point.”
And Childers is excited about his upcoming performance in Lebanon. He and his band plan on performing music from his album, but he never knows what might happen once they’re on stage.
“It’s like a tightrope walk every night,” Childers said. “We have a set list but we never follow it. But, I’m really, really confident in how we sound.”
The Paul Childers Band to perform April 6
The Paul Childers Band will be performing live at Angelic Hall in Lebanon on April 6. All proceeds will go to the music program at St. Augustine Grade School. Doors open at 7 p.m. Performance begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for all ages. To purchase tickets, call Kenny Childers at (270) 692-0234.
The Paul Childers Band
Paul Childers is a singer-songwriter that was raised in Lebanon. Childers picked up the guitar at the age of 12 and within a couple of years has become an accomplished musician. Childers’ music, though based in blues, encompasses hints of jazz and pop stylings.
Childers started to venture out and play at local festivals and bars, which also included Tootsies in Nashville. Childers has opened for Josh Gracin, a rising country singer.
Childers’ first album, “Wasted Space” is available on Soundcloud.com or can be purchased from him directly. It’s not available on iTunes yet.
Members of the Paul Childers Band are Paul Childers, guitar and vocals, Will McGee, bass, Will Lynde, piano, and Logan Todd, drums.