Ready to connect with Australians

Heartfelt tunes: Paul Thorn performs at the Hallam Hotel this month.


Paul Thorn’s mentors come from polar opposites – Thorn’s father, a Pentecostal minister in America’s deep south, and his uncle, a former pimp, are the driving forces behind his music career.

“I was a young disciple to pimps and preachers,” Thorn exalts in one of his songs.

The 48-year-old singer and songwriter, who will perform at the Hallam Hotel thismonth, said his father’s affinity with preaching taught him how to engage an audience.

“Part of being a minister is that you have keep a crowd entertained and engage them with your words. That’s what I try to do,” he said.

“When I go out on stage I want the crowd to feel like we are having a collaboration.”

Growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi — the birthplace of Elvis Presley — Thorn said he “cut my teeth” listening to gospel music.

“Even though I sing secular music there’s still a thread of gospel music that runs through everything I do.”

Thorn said his uncle taught him how to connect with others. “He really taught me to take the time to listen to people and understand what they are going through.”

Now, Thorn tries to incorporate his uncle’s teachings into his shows. “All people want when they go to a show is to feel like someone cares about them, and the artist on the stage wants to connect them.”

Thorn also credits his uncle with teaching him “street smarts” having coached him during his professional boxing career.

Thorn retired from boxing after a record of 14 wins and four losses, saying “I had taken my career as far as it could have possibly gone”.

Now, Thorn says he is trying to do the same with his music by touring Melbourne next month.

“I want to come out to take my music to a different type of people. I really feel I will be able to connect with the Australians.”

Thorn’s eclectic style is a mix of blues and rock — punchy riffs, melodies with roots in America’s south and lyrics that reflect life experiences.

Songs range from the candid I guess I’ll just stay married to the spiritual He touched me.

Thorn begun his professional singing career in 1997 and has released 10 albums.

His fifth album Pimps and Preachers has been topping the American charts for three weeks and breaking into the Billboard top 100.

“I just try to put out a quality product so my fans will hit the repeat button instead of eject.”

Paul Thorn will perform at the Hallam Hotel on June 25 at 8pm.