Words are the unique domain of the vocalist in the world of music. Paula Lammers has made it her artistic mission to use the lyrics she sings to paint pictures with words. She chooses songs with lyrics rich in visual imagery, weaving a word-tapestry with the arrangements she creates. Paula draws upon a variety of literature from many genres to create jazz-based interpretations of her songs. Her newest album, Deep Purple Dreams (scheduled for release May 22, 2011), draws its material from folk, pop, cabaret, and newer musical theater songs, anchored by a selection of some of her favorite standards. Paula’s recordings and performances have earned her praise for her beautiful clear tone, her presentation of interesting music and arrangements, and superb vocal technique.
Lammers started out as a vocal music major at Gustavus Adolphus College (where, incidentally, she got to know Kurt Elling while they were members of the Gustavus Choir). She continued her studies at the University of Minnesota, earning a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. While her training was largely classical, an opera improvisation class she took while working on her master’s degree highlighted her innate ability to hear chord progressions and opened up the idea that she could improvise—and that she enjoyed it. Twelve or so years of participation in the Twin Cities’ rich classical music scene combined with teaching high school and college voice lessons led to an unexpected detour. In 2001 Paula landed a steady gig with a vocal quartet singing 40’s tunes for passengers on the Minnesota Zephyr, a luxury dining train. Her interest in jazz and big band music blossomed and she began to sing with local big bands, eventually forming her own 9-piece group, Paula Lammers and Cloud Nine, where she serves as the bandleader.
The place where Paula most clearly defines who she is as a singer, however, has been in her work with small combos. It is there that she finds herself able to create and express herself most freely as she sings. Her two professionally recorded CD projects utilize this instrumentation and show her commitment to high quality musicianship, programming, and production. A Blanket of Blue, her debut album, received impressive reviews from national sources and was selected for the Top Ten List for 2005 by Live 365, an internet radio station based in Syracuse, New York.
In addition to performing, Lammers is an active voice educator, conducting vocal workshops and maintaining a busy teaching schedule at local high schools and colleges.