Versatile artist, SaulPaul, now a music spokesman for city

By Patrick Beach
American-Statesman Staff
August 14, 2013


When we last we checked in, SaulPaul was merely an acoustic hip-hop artist, documentary filmmaker, speaker, author and ex-convict.

Since then, he’s expanded his multimedia empire, which now includes an interactive game app,“SaulPaul: Dream in 3D” (“it’s like Temple Run … but in the ‘hood!”) viaiTunes and Google Play, a new edition of the book by the same name and, after a national tour, a new web site which showcases notable people who’ve realized their dreams.

“There’s this spectator atmosphere,” said the 37 year old born Adam Neal, “like UT football. I like UT football but there’s 100,000 people” watching, not pursuing their own dreams. “I have to go live my dream.”

SaulPaul’s success sounds like a dream. He grew up hard in Houston, graduated from high school, was admitted to the University of Texas, flunked out and was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary, counterfeiting and credit card fraud.

“That’s what I was convicted of,” he said in a 2010 profile. “That’s not all I did.”

SaulPaul started reading the Bible while locked up-he was released after two years-straightened up, returned to and graduated from UT and met and married Bianca Neal, who was getting her master’s in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. He documented his life in the film, “Tower to Tower,” which came out in 2007.

These days he’s as busy as ever. He just finished a tour that included a gig at Washington’s the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts. He’s got a book tour this fall that will include stops at the Barnes and Noble stores in the Arboretum and in Round Rock on October 19th and September 28th respectively.

This month he’ll be on Navy Pier in Chicago promoting Austin with the city’s music office. Back home, he’s got a 6-8 p.m. Tuesday residency at the Parish Underground.

“It’s cool to be a music ambassador for the city,” SaulPaul said. “I love it. I just live it up, whatever city I go to. I just sight see everywhere I go.”