I was born and raised in the small Norwegian town of Arendal - the inspiration for the Kingdom of Arendelle in Disney's Frozen. My musical journey started when I, as a kid, would hide in my parents’ loft, recording multiple track recordings with the help of two old cassette players. As a teenager, I got myself a job at the local radio station, which was also in the loft of a small wooden house, situated on a hill above the town. This way, I would continue sneaking into lofts, only now to record songs with the radio mic.

 

As I grew up, I found that I couldn’t continue to lock myself into lofts. A college drop-out, a shipwrecked marriage and an identity crisis later, my life had gone down in the basement. I went from performing weekly to not doing anything in music at all. At one point, I couldn't attend a concert without suffering from withdrawal.

 

One day, as I was in tears on my living room floor, feeling like the loneliest man in the world, crying over lost love, lost music, and was almost losing my mind as well, the words of Leonard Cohen came to me: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." I realized I had been digging my own grave too long, and decided to hold on to whatever tiny little ray of light there was left in my life. I so needed something to reach for, that I told myself that one day I was not only going to do music again, but I was going to work with the best. I even wrote down one particular name on a piece of paper, hid it in a secret place, and never told anyone.

 

Six months later, I found myself performing my own songs for the first time in years. I had even moved into a loft – or at least a top floor, where I eventually built my studio. Since 2010, I have been involved in 40 releases, have had my songs played on radio in four continents – and have had the privilege of working with some of my musical heroes. One day, I even took out that old piece of paper, that had been lying untouched in a secret place for years, and wrote “check” on it. It was then that I realized, as I was thinking back at my life, that all this time I had been a cripple on the run.

Where do you go when there’s no rock’n’roll?

Where do you go when you’re fed but not full?

Where do you go when the spotlight is off?

Where do you go when you’re done playing tough?

 

Where do you climb when you’re down from the top?

Where do you climb when there ain’t no way up?

 

Where do you go when you’re haunted by fear?

Where do you go when you can’t go nowhere?

Where do you go when you’re dull from the fun?

Where do you go?

You’re a cripple on the run

 

Where do you climb when you’re down from the top?

Where do you climb when there ain’t no way up?

 

Where do you go when your walk becomes a crawl?

I come undone but in your arms I fall

Through it all

 

Where do you go when you’re burnt by the sun?

Where do you go?

You’re a cripple on the run

© 2013 - 2020 JP Paulsen. All rights reserved.

Design: JP Paulsen. Background photo: Thomas Sandfield