paul-cortez-1Paul Vincent Cortez was born on March 18, 1980. He grew up in a rough, low-income neighborhood in the Bronx borough of New York City with his loving mother, brother and sister.

From the time Paul learned to speak and walk, he was singing and dancing. Once he learned to hold a pencil, he began to draw and sketch and even created his own comic books. From the time he was a child, Paul worked tirelessly on his academics and art pursuits hoping to one day be able to support his family and move them out of the Bronx. 

Paul’s hard work paid off very early on in life. In sixth grade, he gained a three-year academic scholarship to the very prestigious Buckley School on the affluent Upper East Side in Manhattan – a feat extremely rare for a youngster from the Bronx. At the Buckley School, Paul excelled in academics and athletics. He was the captain of both the football and wrestling teams. 

In 1995, Paul’s academic efforts paid off again as he earned another academic scholarship to an elite institute for his high school education. At Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, Paul left behind his sports interests to focus more intensely on his passion for the arts. At age 15, he began formal training in ballet and jazz dance. He starred in numerous school theater and dance productions. During his senior year at Poly Prep, Paul was selected for a student exchange program in Argentina where he studied Spanish culture and was further inspired by dance. paul-cortez-18sm

At age 16, a Comparative Religion course piqued Paul’s interest in Eastern scriptures. He was spiritually drawn to Buddhism and Hinduism. Paul then began to incorporate meditation and yoga into his life.

Upon graduation from Poly Prep in 1998, Paul elected to defer his collegiate studies so that he could pursue his music career. He joined his first band, Stillwater, and performed at many local New York City venues.

The following year, Paul accepted a scholarship to attend Boston University’s Theatre Arts Program, which only admits 40 students per year. Soon after arriving in Boston, Paul formed another band, Ramzi that was selected to perform at the university’s Comstock Annual Music Festival.

He also began recording solo albums beginning with “Voice of the Visitor” in 2000. Follow-up solo albums included “CME 04609” and “The New Land Project.” On these solo albums, Paul wrote all of the songs, played all of the instruments (guitar, percussion and synthesizer) and sang all vocals.

As a student at BU, Paul starred in Amadeus at the Huntington Theatre, and performed in other popular performances such as Ahknaten at the Schubert Theatre and The Nutcracker Ballet at the Minnesota State Theatre. He also performed in numerous Boston University theater and dance productions. During his junior year at BU, Paul studied abroad at the London Academy of Music, Dance & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA).

paulcUpon graduation from BU in 2002, Paul returned home to New York in hopes of chasing his musical and theatrical dreams. To support himself, Paul became certified as a physical trainer by the National Academy of Sports & Medicine.

He worked as a physical trainer at the New York Sports Club, and then later at Equinox Fitness Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In addition, he began studying Hatha yoga and working towards certification as a yoga instructor.

In 2004, Paul recorded another solo album entitled “Wanderlust.” Soon after, he formed a rock band named Monolith. The band performed at many hot Manhattan venues such as CBGB’s, Arlene’s Grocery, Don Hill’s, and The Continental.

At the time of his arrest in December 2005, Paul was in the midst of auditions for the Broadway Show Rent, and was completing another solo album. In fact, many of the recordings for this new solo album are on the computer that the police seized at the time of Paul’s arrest and have not yet returned to Paul’s family.

On February 15, 2007, Paul was convicted for a crime he did not commit.

On March 23, 2007, Paul was sentenced to 25 years to life for a crime he did not commit.

Paul is currently enduring his 25 years to life sentence at one of the most dangerous, maximum-security prisons in the state of New York.

Despite such harsh conditions, Paul continues to concentrate on painting, writing poetry, song lyrics, practicing yoga, reading the bible, meditating, attending Protestant services, and fighting for his freedom.

Paul knows that one day the truth will come out and he will regain the life he worked so hard for and the freedom he deserves.

Paul Cortez 34b

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Paul's Life

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