Paula Boggs has nearly done everything anyone would ever want to do in their life — and then some.
An Army Airborne veteran, a corporate attorney, a social activist, a TedX speaker and an entrepreneur are just a few of the careers she’s held.
Now, her new career is as a singer-songwriter.
Boggs and her six-piece band—The Paula Boggs Band—traverse the genres of jazz, world, rock and Americana, and are bringing their unique sound to The Black Dog Arts Cafe in Snoqualmie on Jan. 5.
The top executive-turned-bandleader, has shattered glass ceilings throughout her life. She became one of the women to earn Army Airborne wings and receive a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. She served as Starbucks’ lead lawyer for 10 years, and as Dell’s vice president for five years. She was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities during the Obama Administration, and has served on numerous boards and committees including Seattle Symphony, KEXP, School of Rock LCC, and American Red Cross.
It was when Boggs was at the height of her career life that she said she wanted to return to music.
That’s right, return to music.
Music has always been a part of her life, she said. Being raised by a saxophone playing and singing father, and a church choir singing and piano playing mother, she felt urged and supported to play music.
However, Boggs said it wasn’t until she attended Catholic school and saw the nuns singing and playing guitar that she truly felt called to pursue music.
“I remember working odd jobs around the neighborhood to earn enough money to buy my first guitar. I was 10 years old,” she said.
Boggs said she began songwriting at about the same time. A few years later, upon her parents’ divorce, she moved to Germany. That was the first time she ever performed her original music to an audience.
“It was one of the strangest but most wonderful feelings ever,” she said.
Of course, like most childhood passions and hobbies, she said, music took a back seat as she grew older.
Years later, upon the sudden death of her sister-in-law, Boggs revisited her music roots as a way to grieve.
“It was my beginning of coming back to music,” she said. “I realized music was a way for me to communicate and express things I couldn’t otherwise.”
A songwriting course at the University of Washington and a series of playing at local open mic nights later, Boggs formed her band with musicians she met through those performances.
Now, Boggs has fronted the Paula Boggs Band for almost 11 years, released three albums and tours nationally.
Boggs recently released an original single — a Christmas song — as part of the Acoustic Guitars Project.
The Acoustic Guitar Project is a global music platform that inspires musicians to write an original song and record it live in one week. Boggs was selected as one of five singer-songwriters among 55 cities across the world to participate. All five participants were required to write an original song and record it in one week, using one communal guitar.
“This was one of the biggest challenges I’d faced,” she said. “I don’t write under a deadline, I write under inspiration, so having to adopt a completely different writing style was a huge challenge.”
In one week, Boggs wrote and recorded “Mistletoe and Shiny Guitars.”
“Now, having done it, this was one of the best experiences because now I know I can do it. I think it was good for me, good for my writing and good for my band,” she said.
Boggs said she is looking forward to performing on the Eastside for the first time since the band’s origination, and especially at The Black Dog because of its intimate atmosphere and welcoming audience. This will also most likely be the last time she and her band performs “Mistletoe and Shiny Guitars” until the next holiday season.
The show is all-ages and there is a suggested $10 donation. The Black Dog Arts Cafe is located at 8062 Railroad Avenue.