Listening to Doe Paoro’s music, one would think the singer’s had years of vocal training. Her voice is deep and soulful, containing hints of Adele and Lykke Li. Even without backing music, her voice conveys a range of emotions.
Paoro’s music has a haunting, R&B-steeped sound that she calls “ghost soul.” The proud Williamsburg resident celebrated the release of her debut album, “Slow to Love,” at Glasslands Gallery on February 13th.
“I’m just in the right place in Brooklyn,” she said. “My friends are all in Brooklyn and [the album has] been 100 percent DIY and collaboration. It’s happening because of all the talented artists here who have been involved in this project.”
“Slow to Love” was recorded in home studios in Williamsburg and Park Slope, and produced by friends and locals. Paoro, piano player and producer Adam Rhodes, and cellist Yuri Hart made the music for the album. In March, the three are showcasing at South by Southwest, the annual indie music Mecca. She credits the attention from the festival organizers to music videos she released for the original song “Can’t Leave You” and her cover of Future Islands’ “Little Dreamers.”
Paoro hasn’t always sought a career in music. In fact, she was pursuing art when she decided to start singing professionally six years ago. She draws inspiration from the female musicians she has always looked up to. “When I was a kid, I liked Fiona Apple,” she said. “Lauren Hill consistently gave me the chills. I just want my music to ignite some sort of feeling. I don’t want it to be a passive experience. I want to make somebody more present. It’s the best gift you can give to somebody: presence.”
Paoro spent a month in India taking Hindi singing lessons and even learned a song from a Tibetan opera master. She returned with a fresh sound, incorporating the Eastern training into her new tracks. “After she went on her trip, I was instantly drawn to the stuff that she brought to me and I wanted to work with her,” said Hart. “[I admire her] songwriting ability, and her ability to express herself. The influence she has from her travels comes through in her songs. She has the ability to channel all of her experiences into her music. It draws you in. It makes you listen.”
Rhodes said that the band’s music incorporates a traditional R&B, but still sounds fresh and original. “What I like about it, and what people like about it, is they can feel comfortable with it because it is soul and they are familiar with it. But then there is a new spacey sound to it that catches people’s ears.”
Paoro aims to connect with audiences on an emotional level. “Art is the supreme way to transform your experience and make it live,” she said. “Good art, when I’m inspired by it, holds energy and can ignite emotion. For me this is the feeling of offering; this is what I can do through music. The ultimate goal is to make music that really moves and touches people, and to reach them on a level where they experience something else that they wouldn’t have access to. Supreme art is when you can unlock something in someone else.”