Entertain. Inspire. Empower.
Words by Sommer Brugal Photos by Eric Morales
SaulPaul is a singer-songwriter in Austin who uses music to encourage youth. With every song he writes, the Austin native strives to tell his full truth. It’s what defines him as an artist.
Speaking his full truth means discussing his journey from prison and incarceration to college and graduation. SaulPaul says his personal story influenced his desire to serve others and inspire youth, specifically Hispanic and African American males.
Though he’d never considered music as a career, SaulPaul said something clicked when he wrote his first verse in 1999. He says “I didn’t choose music; music chose me.” A few years later, while speaking at Garza High School in East Austin, SaulPaul says he felt that light bulb once again.
Realizing his talent as an artist and a public speaker, he combined the two, determined to positively impact those in his community. It was at this time his mantra, ‘musician with a message,’ was born.
WeDreamIn3D is SaulPaul’s latest project. Last fall, he partnered with Pecan Springs Elementary School to work with students grades K through five. For two days, he deconstructed his songs with students, teaching them the meaning behind each.
“Great songs [have] layers, deeper layers with a meaning and a purpose,” he explains. “The coolest thing [about the residency] was that I was able to go deeper than the surface, talk to the students about the meaning of each song, and help them see what the songs are really about.”
One of the songs they worked with shares its name with the project’s title, WeDreamIn3D. Its meaning, SaulPaul says, is that everyone was born with a purpose, for a purpose, and that they, too, can make their dreams come true.
“Being the kid who grew up in the hood [I recognize] that having someone come talk to [me] didn’t work,” he recalls. “So being able to spend time with the kids and have a positive impact was an incredible experience.”
SaulPaul has worked with just about every school in AISD. Although he’s incredibly proud of the work he’s accomplished as an artist, he hopes to continue expanding his reach, working with youth in areas outside of Austin and around the country.
Beyond the Music.
SaulPaul is 2017 Austinite of the Year, placing him alongside previous recipients like Kendra Scott and Andy Roddick. He also serves as the Texas Governor for the Recording Academy and the Official Creative Ambassador for the City of Austin. He says all roles enable him to continue serving people in the community.