By Marcus Wright

Along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, where the rolling waters crash upon the sand, there Daniel Jay Paul resides with his muse, spinning imagination and dreams into stories and songs of love.  A songwriter, producer, and author of the novel "The Last Sunset" who prefers to keep to himself, letting his work do the speaking. His hair is dark blonde with a touch of silver just beginning to peak out at the edges, his eyes blue and clear. His face is tanned and weathered with fine lines at the corners of his eyes.

A natural-born romantic, the humble and reclusive Daniel Jay Paul is a creative renaissance man who bridges the gap between literature and music. Some of his credits include writing and producing the album "Love Keeps On Burning" for the band The Flame, and his own music that includes “Once Upon a Time” released in 2000, followed by "Songwriter" in 2008, and “Til The Sun Rises Again” in 2010. He is also the founder of Sunlight Communication Arts, a music production company.

When asked about the eight years between his first and second album, Daniel is quick to remind, “There was a novel written in there,” referring to his romantic tale “The Las Sunset” published by Random House. A visit to his recording studio nestled in the pines, reveals something about the artist himself, It is a kind of magical chaos, with scribbled lyric sheets stuffed in every nook and shelf, and wires strung haphazardly across the room.  Three guitars seem to been given a place of honor standing stately in the middle of the room. When talking about his craft and the business, he refers to performance as "re-creation" and prefers to spend his time "creating" new work.

As a first grade boy, he came home from Oakdale Elementary School with a book of cowboy stories under his arm. He curled up with it on the couch and was awed by the power of the imagination. Since then, he has been trying to harness that power.

After winning some high school journalism awards, he went off to Central Michigan University to become a journalist, but it soon became apparent that you could "reveal more truth" in fiction than in the daily newspaper. So a change of location brought a transfer to the creative writing program of Thomas Jefferson College, and soon thereafter, an independent study on novel writing where the first draft of a novel was produced.

Plagued with self-doubt, but unwilling to settle for anything short of following his dream of becoming a writer, he worked on his craft, toiling deep into the night, all the while supporting himself working in bowling alleys, 7-11's and gas stations. He'll be the first to confess that he's been a long time getting out of his own way; wrestling with the demon of perfectionism, an obsession that can turn a blank piece of paper into a virtual wall of terror.

It was during the Thomas Jefferson College years, while attending a poetry workshop where the professor said, "You don't write poems, you write song lyrics." There are those who say there are no coincidences, but at this same time a new friend came into his life that was a bass player in a rock-n-roll band. Robert Livingston Jr. became his musical mentor. He went out on rock n' roll gigs with the band Challenge, sleeping on the beach because they didn't earn enough to cover accommodations when they played clubs like Whiskey Creek at Silver Lake. In exchange Paul learned how to play guitar and how to set his "poems" to music.

His hallmark song “Someday I’m Going Home” was written during a visit to Baton Rouge, LA in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, it not only bears witness to the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the disaster, but also takes on a higher spiritual significance. In a strange way, one could say “Songwriter”, the album on which the song appears, was years in the making.  As Daniel jay Paul reached his 30th birthday he found himself at a cross roads in his life.  His first wife had just divorced him for refusing to give up his dream, when providence or destiny stepped in, and he fell in love with three young children and their mother.  The rock n’ roll road or building a nest for a new family, it was a life-changing decision. “Given a choice between never having written a word and having the family I ended up with, I’d choose my family every time.”  He said softly, looked out the window, and smiled.

(Copyright by Music Express Used by permission)

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The Last Sunset (a novel)