It’s a perfectly sunny and warm SoCal afternoon. You feel the soft breeze gently play across your face as you relax under a brightly coloured umbrella at a beachside café, watching people go by and wondering what their stories are as they wander along. This is the sublime scene that long-time Canadian entertainer Paul Saunders sets in his new single, “Afternoon Café” - available now, no travel required.
Reminiscent of the sunshine infused, forever memorable anthems that ‘70s supergroups like Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears brought us, “Afternoon Café” blends latin piano rhythms and percussion with sultry sax that open up into a guitar driven, tempo-shifted chorus like we’ve just jumped in our Mustang convertible to race up the PCH.
The day was shining on the water
The waves kept rhythm to the music
And the sounds
They fit right into the picture
Have I been here before or am I dreaming?
“This is a song I wrote a while ago in Venice Beach, California,” explains Saunders. ”When I revisited it, I felt the need to redo the vocals, then, tweak and remix it.”
Check out “Afternoon Café” on YouTube here:
It’s not surprising that Saunders’ writing was influenced by time spent in the famous west coast beach community with its laid back, boho vibe.
“I wanted to capture the mood and whimsy of what it feels like to sit alone in a beautiful café in the sunshine, thinking of loves past and what the future could hold.”
“Afternoon Café” is the second single release from Saunders’ debut album It’s About Time, following “Courage” released last summer. Mostly comprised of songs Saunders has written over the years while carving out a successful acting career in TV, film and theatre, the 12-track album boast a stellar line up of some of Canada’s finest stage and studio musicians including the late Michael Fonfara, Danny Weis, Danny McBride, Glen Morrow, Stacey Heydon, Igor Romanyk, Demo Cates, Gary Taylor, and Michael St Clair. The album was produced by Saunders and Gord Paton and recorded at Toronto’s Sky Blue Studios, Eastern Sound, and The Rhythm Ranch; Saunders wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs on the album.
The life pause that COVID caused for so many of us is actually what encouraged Saunders to reassess and refocus on his first love - music. It afforded him the time and opportunity to look at his career and future in a different light.
“Oddly enough, I looked to the past to look at the future,” notes Sauders. “I started going over some songs I’d written or half written and decided there was some good stuff there. I used the downtime to tweak and in some cases rewrite some of the songs I had rediscovered. At the end of the day I had enough new material to record a solo album, my first actual offering of my own material.”
Of all the hats that Saunders wears very well as an actor, writer, producer, entertainer and songwriter, it’s the songwriting that he is most comfortable and happy wearing. After all, that’s where he started out playing in the Yorkville Village clubs in Toronto and eventually made his way to L.A. to try his hand at the U.S. market.
“That’s really how I started in the business was as a songwriter with Epic Records in Los Angeles,” he recalls. “It was the kind of gig that paid me to sit in a room and write with a monthly quota of songs required.”
Writing songs in a room led to enough outside connections though to land some stage performance and acting roles, with leads in productions of both Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair.
However, the allure of recording and releasing an album as a solo artist never left Saunders and with It’s About Time, he’s made good on that dream.
“I am so happy to actually release my first solo CD in my long and diversified career,” Saunders says. “After all these years, this is something I have dreamed of doing for decades — and now it’s released to the global community on the EMG label.”
This is truly a full circle milestone by a veteran entertainer who has excelled in many areas of the biz.
“The business for me right now is nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I have the time and the tenacity to want to continue to write, record and perform.”
“Afternoon Café” and It’s About Time are both available now.
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