Songwriter/vocalist/pianist Paula Cole was born into an artistic family in rural Rockport, Mass. Her mother was a visual artist, her father an entomologist who performed in a polka band as a young man and who strongly encouraged Cole's musical development. After high school Cole matriculated in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz singing and improvisation.
Cole's debut album, Harbinger, was released on Imago in 1994. In addition to performing with Peter Gabriel's band, Cole was invited by Melissa Etheridge to perform with her on the VH-1 "Duets" broadcast.
Cole's self-produced sophomore release , This Fire, was released by Warner Bros. in late 1996 and featured the hit singles "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" and "I Don't Want to Wait."
In 1998, Cole received the Grammy Award for "Best New Artist."