Q and A with ...PAULA CAMPBELL

Q and A with ...

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October 21, 2004|By Ashley Burrell | Ashley Burrell,Sun Staff

Blending smooth vocals with a rough, yet emotional attitude reminiscent of Mary J. Blige's bittersweet breakup grooves, Maryland R&B artist Paula Campbell has seen her share of struggles as a fledgling artist.

Now she proclaims in her debut album that it's her turn to collect. Who's Got Next? was released in May on Blackbyrd Music and features the club hit "Take You Home," as well as the smooth ballads "You Make Me" and "Love Again." The charismatic Owings Mills vocalist says she is determined to give the Beyonces and the Alicia Keyses of the business some competition.

In 2002, Campbell was a finalist in the "Baltimore Idol" competition, which was aired by Fox 45 and led to her April 2004 opening performance for Kanye West at UMBC Fieldhouse. More recently, she was an opening act at the 2004 African American Heritage Festival before LL Cool J. Singing the vocals on a Fat Joe "Lean Back" remix, Campbell demonstrated how far she has come from talent shows at Frederick Douglass High School.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in last Thursday's LIVE section about singer Paula Campbell gave an incorrect age for Campbell's daughter. She is 7 years old.
The Sun regrets the error.

With her next effort, Campbell plans to move away from her local radio / club hits like "How Does It Feel," released last year, to avoid the ebb most new artists experience after early success.

What does the title of your album mean?

... I was going through a tough time where I was feeling like doors were basically being shut in my face. ... It's saying that no matter who thinks somebody else is going to do it better than I am, I believe in me, and I'm the person that you're going to see next in the limelight.

What is your main concern as an up-and-coming artist, and what have you learned about the industry so far?

My only concern is really with the major labels because so many people go in and get deals, and they really don't get out what they expect. ... The industry is filled with a lot of negativity. ... It's just something you have to educate yourself on, and you have to make sure you're surrounded by people who know the business, who want to grow and learn more, who are definitely in your corner.

You have a 12-year-old daughter named Dominique who is the subject of one of your songs on the album. What will you say to your daughter if she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps one day?

Wow, well, I'd definitely encourage her. My daughter is around for a lot of the things that I do, so I think that she would already have some knowledge about the business.

What can people expect from you in 2005, and what are you anticipating for 2005?

We're actually working on another album, but 2005, I want the papers, magazines, radio and television stations to be able to say, "This is the chick with the No. 1 single and not only the No. 1 single, but the No. 1 album in the country." I'm a proven entity, a proven talent. ... The fact that I've been able to have so much success locally gives me a bigger story to tell.

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