Paula Cole (born April 5, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter. Her single "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997, and the following year she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her song "I Don't Want to Wait" was used as the theme song of the television show Dawson's Creek.
Cole was raised in Rockport, Massachusetts, United States; her mother, Stephanie Cole, a mixed media artist, was an elementary school art teacher, and her father, Jim Cole, was a professor of biology and ecology at Salem State College and played bass in the polka band "Johnny Prytko and The Connecticut Hi-Tones".
She attended Rockport High School, where she was president of her senior class and performed in school theatrical productions such as South Pacific. Cole then attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz singing and improvisation. She was offered a record deal by a jazz label, but decided to turn it down.