Paula Cole (born April 5, 1968 in Rockport, Massachusetts, USA) is an American singer and songwriter. Cole was born to a visual artist mother and a father who was an entomologist who formerly played polka music. Cole entered the Berklee College of Music in Boston when she was 18, where she studied jazz singing and improvisation.
Cole released her debut album, Harbinger, in 1994 with Imago Records. She so entranced the industry with her vocals that she was asked to tour with Peter Gabriel, both as an opening act and a backup vocalist for Gabriel. She appeared with Melissa Etheridge to sing a duet on VH1 though she was not well-known at the time.
Harbinger featured songs dwelling on Cole's personal experience with discrimination and unhappiness. The songs were musically lush but driven and bleak. The accompanying artwork featured photographs of Cole with a boyishly short haircut, wearing loose fitting black sweatclothes, combat boots and nose ring. Unfortunately the Imago label folded and promotion of Harbinger was limited, affecting its sales. A single, "I Am So Ordinary", was released with a bleak, low-budget black and white...