Paula was raised by her paternal grandparents, Paulo and Renée. Paulo was a retired surgeon, an ex-adviser of the president of Brazil and of the government of the state of Guanabara, a historian and also an author of several books. Renée was a homemaker and the manager of a boarding house for senior women. In her infancy and adolescence, the predominant music in her home was that of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, among other classical performers. Along with Spanish music and opera.
On the more modern side, she also listened to the music of Carmen Miranda, Elis Regina and The Beatles (the only rock her grandfather would accept). In school, Paula took ballet and English classes with the intention of becoming an English professor. At the age of 17, she began taking courses in Industrial Design and Visial Comunication at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro (PUC) and started studying French. In conjunction with her course work, she did an internship in a visual programming office where she would put into practice the things she learned in school. In the meanwhile, she would arrange side jobs to complement her small salary.
Her side jobs included translating books and term papers for her fellow students, assuming the position of secretary in her dance studio during the holidays and revised her grandfather's books. In her brother's room, she heard for the first time James Brown and Tim Maia. The first discs she bought were the soundtracks of her favorite telenovelas (which included songs by Stevie Wonder, Marcos Valle, and the Jackson Five). After that, she got interested in Janis Joplin and Rita Lee. She would often go to small parties called "Arrastas" where they would play artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Billy Paul, Michael Jackson.
Once in the university, she became addicted to listening to the radio. By 1982, she was already singing in the group Kid Abelha, and two years later, she gave up on school right before reaching graduation. In the same year, she began taking voice lessons with a professor and lyrical singer Vera Maria do Canto e Mello and started singing Lieder (songs) in German, which awoke her interest in the language that she still studies today. One of her favorite pastimes is to take long drives alone in her car, listening to loud music. This is how she comes up with most of her lyrics which she tries to write down while she drives. The bathroom tub is also one of the places she prefers to think of lyrics in. Since 1987, she has been married with the cinematographer Lui Farias and has one son, Gabriel. More about in www.paulatoller.com Read more on Last.fm.
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