What brought you to Nashville?
I always wanted to produce records and work in recording studios. I attended Belmont University from 1998-2002 (BM in Commercial Music) and stayed after graduation. I now work as a studio musician in town.
Any similarities between Nashville and where you moved from? Well, more so now than ever! I moved from Marietta, GA, right outside of Atlanta. As Nashville has grown, it has become more like Atlanta!
Most surprising revelation about the area?
Nashville is SO much more than country music! Without a doubt, Nashville has country roots, but we do everything: pop, Christian, video games, classical music, movie scores, etc.
Favorite restaurant…and why? Oh goodness, there are too many to name now. I’ll stick with two: Subculture Urban Cuisine and The Catbird Seat. Living in SE Nashville, I LOVE having lunch at Subculture. It is one of those “hole in the wall” places and everything is excellent. The Catbird Seat is my favorite “experience” restaurant. High end, contemporary dining that is a “must” experience.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed how you live life in Nashville? As a musician, our lives have changed drastically since we can’t perform in as many live settings as normal. Rather than contracting large orchestras, I am contracting smaller groups of people. I am also doing a lot of “online overdubs” at this time – recording tracks at my house and sending them back to clients. Like most of the country, my kids are mostly socializing online rather than in person. This is a time that creativity looks like “figuring out a way forward.”
A must “to-do” for visitors from your perspective? The biggest “hidden gem” for our family is Radnor Lake State Park. It is inside the city limits but feels like stepping out into rural trails. It is a great place to relax and recharge from the hustle and bustle of the city (and to get a little exercise!).
As a professional musician, it’s easy to fall in love with the level of talent in the city. From churches to coffee houses, symphony halls to bars, it is everywhere and it is undeniable. Beyond music, Nashville is great for entrepreneurs, technology, medicine and such. The diversity is really fantastic. Most of all, Nashville, has many features of a larger city while still having the advantages of not being as large as places like Atlanta or Chicago.
Paul Nelson is a studio musician/contractor in the Nashville area.