Paul's Open Road

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    Roadtrip Nation Staff


    Costa Mesa, CA


    Live: Season 1



“If I let myself worry about what people are going to think, and my reputation, and try to prove myself—I’ve done that before, and it's exhausting. At the end of the day, the real person you want to make sure is happy is yourself.”




Culture Family Pressure Struggle


Being Creative


believe, changing your major, classical music, follow your gut, Following A Path, internet, jazz, losing friends, modern music, parents, USC, violin, youtube


Paul Dateh makes street-cred-worthy hip-hop with the likes of Public Enemy, Ghostface Killah, and The Roots. But he didn’t grow up in the hood. In fact, the only kind of trouble Paul got into as a kid was when his mother would chastise him for failing to complete his 5th hour of violin practice for the day. He was born into the blithe bubble of the suburbs, raised by well-to-do Japanese parents who stressed hard work and education. But being classically trained in Tchaikovsky didn’t stop Paul from connecting with the soulful sounds of hip-hop. He was sent off to the prestigious USC School of Music after high school to begin a lifelong career of classical performance. But something happened to Paul on that first day of school: he couldn’t commit to the life his parents imagined for him. Yearning to break free from the strict mold of traditional orchestral music, Paul changed his major from classical to jazz. His parents promptly disowned him. But Paul followed his gut, started playing his violin to hip-hop tracks, and as a result, has blended polar opposite genres in a way that makes us rethink the rigid categorization of music. He urges everyone to chase the thing they love—no matter what the peanut gallery thinks.

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