Pavlo could have been a lawyer or he could have spent his life teaching music, but the truth is - all of his life, Pavlo wanted to do one thing only...play the guitar.
From the moment Pavlo was born, June 29, 1969, it seems the stars would line up to fall where he might wish. Pavlo was named after his grandfather. "Pavlo" is the Greek version of the name, "Paul", and ironically, Pavlo was born on the very day of "St. Paul". Being of Greek heritage, this was also Pavlo's "name day". His family always said he was "lucky". To make things even more interesting, St. Paul happens to be the patron saint of musicians.
Since the time the guitar topped Pavlo's Christmas wish list at the age of five, he believed he was meant to entertain the entire world. By the age of twelve, Pavlo had composed his first song, and by thirteen, he would throw himself onstage and in front of any audience that would listen.
As a teenager, Pavlo would play in several rock and roll bands, and as their venues would be alcohol serving bars and clubs, Pavlo would perform, with a signed permission slip from his parents. At the same time, Pavlo would achieve honour roll in school, and then enthusiastically study flamenco guitar, classical guitar and the art of song writing.
In his early twenties, Pavlo would continue playing in rock bands; he worked odd jobs; finished university; studied entertainment law, and on the weekends, he would have fun playing with a Greek wedding band.
It was during a vacation in Santorini, Greece that a melody came to him. Pavlo picked up his guitar, and wrote the song that would spark what became Pavlo's very own distinct style. "It was like a light came on", he remembers. It was a song that was Greek inspired, and the melody made him happy, much like the way he felt growing up in a celebrative household. "It felt like home." In that moment, Pavlo realized doing what he loved meant celebrating who he was.
He baptized his new genre of music as his own "Mediterranean" music. That song was entitled, "Santorini Sunset".
As with every venture Pavlo pursued, his family became his first supporters. His mother would make and prepare his onstage outfits. His sister would stand at the CD table and sell his albums. His father would watch every performance, and go over it later - critiquing every note. George, Pavlo's father, would always keep him at the top of his game, and as an entrepreneur, Pavlo's father would inspire Pavlo to diligently move forward.
Pavlo sent his first CD, self-entitled "Pavlo" to countless record labels. One by one, they all turned him down. Their comments described the music as "too ethnic", they insisted "there was no market for this type of music", they directed him to be "more latin..and lose that Greek bouzouki", and most of them added "when you've made some changes, come back and we'll consider it."
Pavlo appreciated the criticism and he could have applied these suggestions, but Pavlo is an honest man, and honest men are first true to themselves. Pavlo was left alone to self-promote his music and his style.
Pavlo performed all over North America. No venue was too little, or too far-fetched. Pavlo played in cafes, craft shows, festivals, churches, it didn't matter, if there was someone listening, he was there, whole-heartedly. Pavlo thinks back to these times, and credits his sister and his mother for his consistent energy and enthusiasm. Growing up, any regular day could involve dancing with his mother in the kitchen, or having spontaneous dance-offs with his sister for fun. On Pavlo's third album, he wrote a song for them worth dancing to, and he called it "Tsiftitelli" which means "belly dance" in Greek.
Pavlo sold thousands of records from the trunk of his car in those early days. It took a lot of dedication, but Pavlo always sensed an immediate response from his audience. Pavlo never hoped to sell millions of copies. His dream back then, was to simply sell enough to justify making a second album, so that he might continue performing.
When Pavlo recorded his next album, "Fantasia", it was the first time in his working life that he realized he was on the right path, and made a promise to himself to stay on course. This album reflects a time of Pavlo's life that he describes as "freedom". His title track "Fantasia" has somewhat become Pavlo's own personal anthem. It is reflective of his musical life - a slow, beautiful and deliberate lead into a fast-paced competitive celebratory finish.
This is Pavlo living the fantasy of his life, and onstage the fire of this song's performance is contagious!
Pavlo's happiest moments at home are always spent with his young daughter, Dimitra. When she was a toddler, Pavlo would tuck her into bed, and together they would read Dimitra's favorite book, by Robert Munsch called, "Love You Forever". Pavlo admits he loved the beautiful message in that book, and he carries the lesson with him on the road when he is away from home, and away from his little girl. As a constant reminder, that Dimitra is always on his mind, no matter how far from home his music takes him, Pavlo wrote a lullaby for her. He called it, "Love You Forever".
The album "Fantasia" went Gold in Canada, and was nominated for "Best Instrumental Album of the Year" at the 2000 Juno Awards. (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy's) Pavlo's music graced many soundtrack and television shows including The Chris Issak Show, Marine Life starring Cybil Shepherd, The L Word, and more. In 2001, Pavlo was selected to perform for His Royal Highness, Prince Charles....not bad for a guitarist who was told "there is no market for this music."
Pavlo has released seven albums over the last ten years. He has toured around the world every year consistently, playing over one hundred and fifty concerts per year.
His last album, "Live at Massey Hall" celebrates a personal milestone for Pavlo.
As a boy, Pavlo's fondest memories of his childhood were the countless shows and concerts that his father would take him to at Toronto's legendary Massey Hall theatre. His father introduced Pavlo to the inspiring works of famous guitarists such as Liona Boyd, Jose Feliciano, and Paco De Lucia.
Twenty-five years later, after some substantial recognition for his own guitar mastery, it was Pavlo who brought his father back to that legendary Massey Hall theatre, and this time he took his father backstage, to introduce him to his friends - Liona Boyd, Jose Feliciano, and Paco De Lucia.
As gratifying as that was for Pavlo, nothing compared to the first time he performed on that very same stage, in that very same legendary Massey Hall theatre to his own sold out debut, with his father in the audience...critiquing every note.
"Live at Massey Hall" is a record of one unforgettable night in the life of a man who lives by his father's very wise words:
"Have the courage to do what you love, and the drive to do it well."