Paul Gillings

A life with the mouth organ...

At the age of 11, Paul heard the harmonica for the very first time whilst sitting round a campfire at a Boy Scout cook-out. The harmonica was being played by his Scoutmaster at the time: Norman Ives. A bunch more of the scouts became interested in the harmonica and pretty soon they had enough for a full harmonica group. Norman Ives met with David Michelsen (AKA Dr Midnight) and between them started 'Harp Start' a free harmonica school for underprivileged children. The kid's harmonica group 'Random Sound' appeared at Glastonbury Festival and appeared on many national and international TV shows. Paul and Random Sound were invited to appear on Disney's 'Mickey Mouse Club' during a US tour in 1990 to accept a 'Golden Mickey' award for outstanding talent, they also appeared on CNN's 'Nashville Now' and CBS' 'Good Morning America' in New York.

In 1993 Paul won the World Harmonica Championships in the Youth Blues/Rock section. That year Paul received an endorsement from Lee Oskar himself and became a Lee Oskar Preferred Player and later performed with Lee and WAR at the Jazz cafe in Camden. Paul also appeared on the UK Children's programme 'Blue Peter'. Paul, Norman and David then toured as the harmonica group 'The Midnight Specials'.


In 2016 Paul appeared on BBC's 'The One Show' playing 'House of the Rising Sun' with 'The Harpoon Blues Band'. Paul joined 'The Jamos and Sir Mathew Band' in 2018, an acoustic act that plays at festivals and venues around the east of England. Paul also turned back to Songwriting and has been releasing tracks through Soundcloud with more than 80,000 plays to date. Solo tour dates for 2019 included Jurnet's Bar in Norwich, The Fisher Theatre, Upton Blues Festival, Folk East and The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival. Paul's solo acoustic album 'You Don't Even Know' was released in 2019 and is on general release through all digital outlets. The album has received a large amount of radio play and got to number 9 in the International Blues Broadcasters (IBBA) chart. Paul is also a regular tutor at the annual Harpin' by the Sea event in Brighton and Hove.

2020 brings the birth of another solo album, due for release later in the year. Paul also joined the Gypsy Folk outfit Zingaro Blue and was featured on their new album 'A Handful of Songs'. Recent session work includes playing on Kev Walford's new album 'Americanarama' and Paul Marfleet's new album 'On The Edge' on the song 'Grey Skies'.

Paul Says...

"I’ll tell you what, this Ammo clip from Battle Plan Harmonica is the absolute bee’s balls! I’ve been placing my mic on a music stand or resting it in my harp case when not in use and it’s been knocked off and kicked round a stage... not anymore! This fits snug and can’t wait to get it gigging."

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