Youthful indiscretions and ill-fated wanderings found Paul Brill journeying as an herbal smokes salesman, street performer, valet, corporate errand boy, traveling musician and a marine biology instructor on dusty western streets. Hopes dashed and races run, he returned home to his native New York seeking firmer ground. He found meaning and sustenance in his work with disadvantaged children in East Harlem, yet after several years again felt the song siren stirring in his heart and reembarked on an illustrative songwriting and recording career.

Experimental forays into music production and orchestration soon led him to land compositional commissions in film, television and theater, where his early efforts drew quick notice and earned him consecutive Emmy Nominations on his first three films. The ensuing years found Brill leaning-in-hard on his compositional work, resulting in further acclaim and his scoring over 100 films, series and plays that would carry him around the world to screen, perform and conduct his compositions.

Recently, during quieter and lonelier times, the songwriting spirit reawakened with fury and fired out Brill’s wildly ambitious new musical breakthrough/breakdown: The Cost of Believing – a theatrical lyric-ballet, song-cycle, fever-dream bound soon for a stage of some making. Written, recorded and produced in a matter of weeks, The Cost of Believing is an examination of physical and emotional isolation, the lengths we travel to find fulfillment, and the revival we confront in the pursuit of the promise of light.

All photos by Bernie DeChant