From the Artist From the Fans
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It all started one November day in 1959, when into this world came one,
Paul William Stokes…
Resides in :
Summerville, South Carolina
During the first half of my life, I lived in central Florida in the small town of Christmas. Yes, it was Christmas year round. It was there as a youth that I began singing in the church choir. I have always loved music, though, a love that I inherited from my mom. My first experience with playing was when my brother left his electric guitar at home one day. The draw of making music was so strong that I took the guitar and his chord book to my room and did not come out for hours. I taught myself to play three songs that day.
Everything was going fine until I was about 13. That was when I first heard Kris Kristofferson and I lost my mind! I loved his style of writing and his lyrics in general because they were so real to me. I learned to play all of his music. I just loved the ease in which it played. Over the next few years, I played around home in small bands with various friends. Since I was only 15 at the time, the bars or clubs would allow me inside only when the band was playing. In between sets, I would have to sit out back drinking sodas. I kept picking up music and putting it back down again. That is, until I moved to South Carolina in 1985. Since then, I have played fairly steady.
In 1999, I met some new players here in Summerville. I began writing on a bet because of them. I wrote a verse and showed it to a friend one night. He said, “That’s cool, but I bet you can’t finish it.” To me that was a sucker bet, I finished the song in about 2 hours. This guy, who happened to be a bachelor, had a three-bedroom house that eventually became our studio. It didn’t take long for us to get a digital recorder and we were off. All of a sudden, it was like the flood gates opened up for me. Ideas and inspiration came from everywhere. I could hardly keep up with my writing and recording.
I really enjoyed writing and recording. After the events of 9/11, however, I felt a sense of urgency in getting my music heard. I got a band together and played a few gigs, but the sound wasn’t there. I can’t really explain, but I decided it was better to not play than to play and the music to have not felt right. I spent the next 10 years or so writing and trying to improve the recording process. I tried to generate interest locally, but it just wasn’t happening.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer which changed my focus from music to survival. So I took a couple of years off trying to get stronger and better in general. My recovery was marked by my writing “Long Dark Night,” a song about my journey through life and almost death.
Now my cancer is back, and I have begun the fight again. I have more work to do, however. There are more songs to write and more music to record. I don’t know what my future holds, but we all live one day at a time and that’s the best we can do. It is like I always say, “As long as you’re breathing you have a chance.” NEVER GIVE UP and NEVER GIVE IN. LOL! I think I wrote that in a song once, and it’s still true, so believe it!
I hope you all keep enjoying my music and as always keep singing along!
The Late Papa Reese Mike Nic