Paul Ellis Profile

Murray Cammick
19 Oct 2017

Paul Ellis was the A&R – artists and repertoire – executive at Sony NZ from 1990 to 1997. He signed a roster of successful songwriters and recording artists that included Dave Dobbyn, Shona Laing, The Strawpeople and Bic Runga.

New Zealand music history has had a small number of “Camelot” A&R eras when a label boss employed staff specifically for A&R work and had a budget to record and market local musicians. This was one of those rare eras. After six fruitful years in local artist development, Ellis moved to New York to work as a director of A&R at Sony/ATV Publishing from 1997 to 2002. Ellis then returned to New Zealand and was a judge on NZ Idol for two seasons and later New Zealand’s Got Talent.

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The Fan Club's Paul Moss, CBS Records' Paul Ellis and Phil Warren, at the Apra Silver Scroll, 1988
Paul Ellis with former Auckland music publicist Jane West
Photo credit: Gary Verberne
Paul Casserly and Sony Music's Paul Ellis, 1994
Paul Ellis with Cyndi Lauper
Paul Ellis and Shona Laing at the 1992 Apra Silver Scroll; Laing had just won for her song Mercy of Love
Paul Ellis, second from right, during his stint in New York with Sony Music. In white is singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan
Paul Ellis
Near East Cape, May 1987, when Herbs launched their Sensitive to a Smile album at Ruatoria. From left: Paul Ellis (Auckland Star), unidentified, Chris Bourke (Rip It Up). Photo by Jocelyn Carlin
Photo credit: Jocelyn Carlin
Robert Rakete, Malcolm Smith, Rikki Morris, Sony Music's Paul Ellis and Mike Chunn at the 1991 APRA Silver Scrolls, Hammerhead's restaurant, Auckland
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Paul Ellis has been a Starship Foundation Board Director since 2015. He was the executive producer for the 2012 and 2013 Starship Christmas albums that sold 50,000 albums and raised $490,000.