Paul Oveisi – Owner, ZirZamin, NYC

Paul Oveisi

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Paul Oveisi, who describes himself as a father above all else, was born and raised in Austin by parents who emigrated from Iran speaking hardly any English to attend the University of Texas. He was born into married student housing (the Colorado Apartments on Lake Austin Boulevard), and his father taught economics and finance at UT and St. Edward’s University.

Paul bought the local music club Momo’s in 2001 and left behind the law and a civil litigator job for the passion he had for the live music business—just as Austin’s downtown began its transformation. His work at Momo’s (including as bartender in a pinch) led him down a related path to his involvement in the music community.

A three-term member of the Austin Music Commission, whose goals include reviewing and advising City Council on music development issues and assisting in implementation of programs to meet the development of the industry, Paul has earned praise for his level-headed approach to concerns voiced by all parties. He was appointed chairman of the Commission’s Live Music Task Force, whose goal is to build a solid infrastructure to help musicians and what he calls “music industry folks” do their thing.

The love he found for live music spurred his bringing together of several singer-songwriters at Momo’s into Band of Heathens, and has also managed Dan Dyer, among others.

Paul has taken the same energy and drive to community organization, working on Austin’s Downtown Commission and serving as the Executive Director of Austin Music People, a non-profit trade organization formed by the music industry including C3 presents, SXSW, Transmission Entertainment and charged with protecting and growing Austin’s music culture.

An occasional adjunct professor at St. Edward’s himself, Paul earned an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Texas and left Austin only as long as it took to earn a law degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. On his list of things hard to find time for are camping, swimming with his children and cooking with his aspiring-chef daughter, relearning the Farsi language, and practicing the Persian Santur, a centuries old Persian classical instrument.

Since Momo’s closing, Paul has recently opened ZirZamin in NYC.