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Interview Thu Nov 19 2015
You may not know Anthony Pavel's name just yet, but soon it will be everywhere. An accomplished producer and musician, Pavel is about to release his original EP, Windows, and just dropped a unique take on Justin Bieber's coveted new R&B pop hit, "Sorry." I chatted with Pavel regarding his artistry, his upcoming release, and what called him to cover a song by the Biebs.
What pulled you to cover this top pop and R&B ballad, "Sorry," just following its release? Does this song reflect future qualities of your upcoming album, or did it strike a chord as personally meaningful to you?
Bieber has been on a tear lately, making some really great music. It usually takes a bit for a song to really latch on to me and get stuck in my head but this particular song hit me right at first listen. I couldn't stop listening to it and singing along. The song is actually right in my vocal range and it feels really natural to sing the song. I'm a huge fan of taking any good song and flipping it into a cover of my own, and I feel that this cover really does a good job of showcasing my vocal abilities and style!
Let's go back a bit. How did you get started in your production and musical track?
I've been around music my entire life. My dad would always play records in our basement when my brother and I were little and I was exposed to so many different genres and artists at a very young age. He would blast anything from Pink Floyd to Marvin Gaye to Frank Sinatra. Growing up, I went through a couple phases of listening to different genres and styles of music and I think that's why I like everything now!
I was actually introduced to theater and Broadway first, as my parents enrolled me into a theater summer camp for a few years. I also took piano lessons for quite some time, during my childhood and all the way up till college as well. To be honest, I had no idea I could actually sing until my freshman year of high school. I was auditioning for a musical and a cute girl said, "OH MY GOD I DIDN'T KNOW YOU COULD SING!" I then joined the vocal jazz group of my high school and after being exposed to what it felt like to sing on a stage in front of an audience, I was hooked and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
Towards the end of high school, I happened to meet Robbie Mueller, who is now my manager, at one of my high school talent shows. He quickly became a friend and mentor to me, as he introduced me to a whole bunch of different artists and producers in the city who I would soon work and create music with. Ever since I decided to stay in Chicago and go to college here, I've really delved into the booming music scene here. I've gotten the opportunity to work with some crazy talented people and it's taken me to some pretty cool places so far!
You performed your live music for the first time for a competition, and won. What was that like and what opportunities did that bring about for you?
It was an experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life. It felt so amazing to finally get up on a stage by myself with a band and perform my music live! It was something that I wanted to do for such a long time and it was funny because I wasn't nervous or anxious at all. I envisioned that moment and that feeling of being on stage in front of a huge audience so many times that it felt natural when I got up there. I consider that performance to be my first real solo artist performance and after experiencing what that felt like, I was very confident in what the future could hold.
It was so cool to be a part of that competition because it exposed my music and myself to a large part of the student body of my school. I gained some fans that night and that felt really cool. Winning the competition also got me a spot on the main stage of Columbia's College's end of the year festival, where I got the opportunity to headline with Saba and Twin Peaks.
You've written and collaborated on an A$AP Rocky ft. Most Def single as of late, and have worked on production with Saba and other talented groups. What have these experiences been like, and who are you yearning to collaborate with next?
They have all been huge learning experiences. I took the time in all those collaborations to be very observant and patient. It's crazy how much you can take away from other talented artists, producers, and writers by just watching them work. One of the things I love most about being an artist and a creator is that no studio session is identical and nobody works the same exact way. It never gets old and you learn something new every time! Apart from Saba, whom I love working with, I'd love to collaborate with Monte Booker, Peter Cottontale, or the whole Social Experiment gang in general, and Cam O'bi. I want to continue working with my guys, CHAD...they are the best -- they helped produce my entire project along with Ken Ross. My ultimate dream is to make music with Pharrell [Williams] one day.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP, Windows? Your new single is about to be released as well, "HerStory," and we're really excited for that.
This EP is huge for me because it is the first time in my career that I'm releasing an original body of work. It's titled Windows because this is the first time I'm letting people delve into my personal thoughts and feelings through a form of art. I'm about to open the blinds and let people take a look through my window. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but I'm definitely more excited than anything! It's an awesome blend of numerous different genres and influences.
From pop and R&B to jazz and soul, I'm confident that there's a little bit of something for everybody in this project.
I'd love to keep our readers up to date on your future live performances. Is there anything in the works you'd like to share?
Absolutely! I am performing a set on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at Reggie's Rock Club (2109 S. State St) at 8pm for a Toy & Food Drive Charity Concert. I am really excited about that one, and then we plan on having a big release show around February-March of next year when Windows comes out!