(Mental Health Conversations):  PAOLA PROCTOR

(Mental Health Conversations): PAOLA PROCTOR

Editor’s Note:  Paola Proctor is a true artist in every sense of the word.  Paola grew up singing in church choirs, taking cello lessons and also trained in classical singing all of this has allowed her to experience what others can only dream of.  She’s performed as part of an orchestra for the Prince of Wales, at the world famous Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, and performed for the Florida All-State Choir with Gulliver Preparatory Academy.  She’s performed the national anthem before a Miami Marlins baseball game and for various collegiate sporting events while attending school at University of Miami.  She has recently released a single for “How Can I” on all digital streaming platforms.  Recently, Paola Proctor sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss her world music, mental health awareness, and the most valuable lessons the year 2020 has taught her.  Fans can find Paola Proctor at the following locations:

www.paolaproctor.com

www.facebook.com/paolaproctormusic

www.twitter.com/paolaproctor_

www.instagram.com/paolaproctor_

Madness To Creation:  Your single “How Can I” is sultry and emotional.   What can fans expect from that single?

Paola Proctor:  Fans can expect a lot of pain from that single; it describes an agonizing experience and the confusing mixed emotions that came along with it. 2020’s theme for me has been all about embracing, showcasing, and really leaning into uncomfortable vulnerable moments. I have a really hard time being vulnerable but feel like it’s the direction I need to be facing if I hope to help change the mental health stigma in our society. I used to think that wearing my heart on my sleeve was a weakness, but I’ve learned over the past decade just how powerful it is to feel and process your emotions to get to the other side of a traumatic experience. On the other side of processing the hardships I’ve found tremendous growth and maturity as a result. I know it’s really cliche but it’s so true that change begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

Madness To Creation:  You incorporate some classical and world music into your brand of music, you have some incredible experiences while training in music, take us into some of those memories while you’re training

Paola Proctor:   I was very fortunate to be exposed to world music at such a young age; I grew up living and traveling around the world as a result of my parent’s work. I started classical singing lessons and cello when I was in 5th grade so having a fundamental understanding of music theory has helped tremendously with songwriting and collaborations as I’ve gotten older. I always knew I would eventually transition into commercial music but playing in international orchestras and choirs introduced me to music I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I think that’s what makes my music sound so different because I love bringing non-conventional instruments together and making a genre-blended song. I see it as putting a puzzle together, the pieces (instruments) have to fit in with each other just right in order for it to work sonically

Madness To Creation:  What do you do to train your vocals or when you prepare to go into the studio?

Paola Proctor:  I make sure to do 20 minutes of vocal exercises daily to make sure my voice is prepared for a studio day. I can always tell the difference if I’ve been slacking on my vocal exercises because my voice will get tired a lot quicker than if I stay consistent with my daily exercises. My biggest take away from classical singing lessons was the importance of relaxing your throat muscles and engaging your diaphragm; it’s important to never reach or scream to hit a certain note.

Madness To Creation:  Your music video “Can’t Help Myself” has over 10,000 hits on YouTube, take us into that music video.

Paola Proctor: That was such a fun music video to create! I worked with Jeano Brooks from Raindrops Productions and his amazing crew to get the vision together. Jeano and I had worked together on my first music video, Tongue Tied, and were looking to create a completely different artistic vision from the previous project. Can’t Help Myself is all about letting loose and being extremely present in the moment by dancing your a** off. I just had this vision of a painted glowing dancer in my head the more I listened to the final mix and wanted to really go outside of the box. I wanted bright vibrant neon colors juxtaposed with more muted, black and white tones so we sent each other many different inspirations for what we were thinking. That music video was also a really big learning curve for me, I’ve always had a hard time accepting help so there were several things that I could have executed better. Fortunately, there was no serious damage done to anyone or anything during the video shoot, but it was the final swallow of pride I had to endure before I really started to put my ego aside and accept input and assistance from other people.

Madness To Creation:  You’ve performed the national anthem at collegiate sporting events and for the Miami Marlins, what are some of your favorite memories doing that and what does being patriotic mean to you?

Paola Proctor:  I had a lot of athlete friends at the University of Miami so it was really awesome performing for a crowd of my peers but also my friends on the field or court. I have always supported my friends so to get to perform in front of them for our school always made me feel really proud to be at the U. Singing for the Marlins was really exciting because it was the largest crowd I’ve ever performed for.

-Being patriotic to me, is about standing up for what you believe in no matter the cost. Having lived and traveled all over the world growing up I’ve learned so much about different cultures and I’ve really grown to appreciate the opportunities available in the United States. As a nation, we’re not perfect. Like everywhere else in the world, we have a history, change doesn’t happen overnight, but I believe we will evolve and continue to do better as time goes on.

Madness To Creation:  We cover mental health awareness at Madness To Creation, what are some important things that you do to take care of yourself during this difficult time?

Paola Proctor:  I just started being more open about this in 2020 but I’ve been in talk therapy since 2011. I’ve been through some difficult things growing up, including living away from my family starting at 16 years old. As a high schooler I thought it was going to be a huge party, little did I know what I was actually getting myself into. On top of an extremely rigorous academic schedule, extra-curricular activities, I had to do most of my cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc… starting at 16. I remember developing hives, bald spots the size of golf balls, and migraines as a result of stress so one of the best things my father ever did for me as a parent was insist I go to therapy. Nearly a decade later I continue to go to therapy as needed and use a daily meditation app to balance my emotions. I’ve also been very aware of anything my body consumes including food but also what I read, the music I listen to, the people I spend time with, anything my body can absorb.

Madness To Creation:  What does 2021 look like for Paola Proctor?

Paola Proctor:  That is a wonderful question, still trying to figure out the details of that one myself. I know long term I have a vision for what I want my life and business to look like. 2020 derailed the immediate steps to get closer to that vision so I think 2021 will continue to be about getting creative and thinking outside of the box to provide value and services for different entertainment avenues. I do know, however, that I am going to be much more vocal about the importance of mental health in 2021. There is one person in particular I wish I had had the courage to open up to about my experience in therapy and wish I could have proved through example that there’s absolutely no shame in getting help.

Madness To Creation:  What is the biggest lesson that 2020 has taught you?

Paola Proctor:  Vulnerability is a sign of strength. I experienced my first real love as well as my first excruciating heartbreak this year and I learned neither are a sign of weakness. Oddly enough, love is still scarier to me than heartbreak, even though heartbreak is one of the most unique pains I’ve ever experienced in my life. Love, however, is so illogical, irrational, and yet so incredible that I realized I would do anything I could to protect, care, and be there for that person. I’m grateful to know what it is to truly love someone unconditionally. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.

Madness To Creation:  What else would you like to add in regards to your music?

Paola Proctor:  I hope through my music and by example that people will lean into vulnerability more. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and with the next single I hope to show that there’s strength in pain, strength in kindness, and most importantly strength in vulnerability.

Madness To Creation:  Thank you very much for taking the time to interview with me for Madness To Creation!

Paola Proctor:  Thank you so much for having me, I look forward to working together more in the future to end the stigma surrounding mental health!

And there you have it!  While you’re at it, check out her music video for “Tongue Tied” below!

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