Award-winning adult contemporary singer/songwriter DARREN PARRY takes his turn in the NLM interview seat as his single, ‘Feels Like The World’s Stopped Turning’, scooped the Song of the Month Title back in April. So find out what he been up to and his plans for the year. Let me tell you, he’s been really utilising his time during lockdown – so upcomers, you might learn a thing or two on how to make a name for yourself during these trying times!
NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. What have you been up to?
DP: Hi Tracey/New Lease Music, thanks so much for having me. I’ve been up to about 5 foot 8 recently! Ha ha, sorry, couldn’t resist!
I’ve been keeping busy, before and during the lockdown. I’ve been co-writing some songs over the last few months. I wrote a lovely song called “Broken” (as yet unreleased) with the great James Warren (of The Korgis). James wrote the massive worldwide hit “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” (covered by Beck, Erasure, Yazz, Queen and Baby D etc.) and had a ballad hit with The Korgis called “If I Had You”. We wrote the song together (“Broken”) and James sang it… we’re looking for Publishing or maybe a Nashville sort of artist to cover it as it has a ballad/country vibe. I’m pitching it at the moment.
I’ve also started a new podcast the last few months called ‘Music Matters’ where I interview singers, songwriters, producers, actors, comedians, presenters etc. about what music means to them and how music has affected their lives (www.anchor.fm/darren-parry). So far I’ve interviewed… Steve Balsamo (Jesus Christ Superstar), Juan Lozano (singer/songwriter) and Lee Gilbert (great vocalist/performer). It’s on hold at the moment as we need to be in the same room really to get good audio quality. Lots more people lined up though after lockdown!
I’ve released the new single as you know “Feels Like The World’s Stopped Turning” and I wrote a song for Lee Gilbert called “Take Me As I Am” (released soon). I’ve been co-writing via Zoom during the lockdown. I’ve written a song with Steve Balsamo that I’m very eager to record. We’ve written it with a certain artist in mind, can’t say yet as that artist doesn’t even know we’re gonna pitch it to them! Ha ha. Working via Zoom is new for me (Steve was my first Zoom co-write) but Steve is fantastic; he’s written for Cliff Richard, Meatloaf and Slash, a great talent. I also wrote another song with a friend called Gareth Lewis (singer/songwriter) who was doing a ’26 songs in 26 days’ challenge… to write 26 original, new songs for ‘Mind’ (suicide awareness charity). We wrote a cool song and posted it on social media (like he has for all the other songs he’s done) and so far he’s raised 177% of his justgiving.com target for the charity, which is fantastic.
NLM: You released your single ‘Feels Like The World’s Stopped Turning’ featuring Sian Elson back in March (named Song of the Month by the blog in April). Have you received other accolades on the single?
DP: Thank you so much for the mention of the single and for making it ‘Song Of The Month’, your support is always greatly appreciated. The song was very well received, with having been put onto 45 or so playlists on Spotify, play on BBC Radio Wales (and other radio stations around the world) and mentions in… Entertainment South Wales, VIRI AOR, Fresh Out Of The Booth, MuzicNotez, Music Trails, MTV Rock and Stereo Stickman blog. Of course… my favourite mention was in New Lease Music 🙂
NLM: The single features singer Sian Elson. How did you guys meet and who sparked the collaboration for ‘Feels Like The World’s Stopped Turning’?
DP: The song was a funny one for me as I was working on it off and on for about 2 yrs. I recorded the basic track but then would leave it for a bit, come back to it, do a bit more, leave it and so on. The reason why I had gaps with the song was because it was a very personal song for me with a lot of meaning and to be honest… I wasn’t sure if I wanted to record and release it at all! After some thought though… I decided… I have to get this out there! Sian is a female singer in a band/another project I am part of, we do corporate events and big parties, big weddings etc. I’ve been in the band with Sian for about 8 yrs now and she has an amazing voice, a real Soul/Rock/Pop sorta Pat Benatar edge to her voice which was perfect for this song… I think she did a great job.
NLM: For anyone who is unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your sound and what inspire you to produce your songs?
DP: I suppose my stuff is mainly Rock/Pop but with maybe a twist of Country at times. I’ve written all types of songs, from R&B to Rock, Soul, Pop, Country, Christmas songs and even EDM but mainly adult contemporary sorta stuff, some might say AOR (Adult Orientated Rock). If you like Richard Marx, Michael Bolton, Michael McDonald, Paul Carrack, Don Henley and Stereophonics… you may like my songs 🙂
NLM: Has the current climate (CoVid19 pandemic) and lockdown affected you as an artist?
DP: Yes, live gigs have been cancelled sadly and I can’t go to the studio and record but I’ve been busy online via Zoom as I said writing some new stuff. I’ve also been using Zoom with another project I’m part of called ‘Black Mountain’ (male vocal harmony group). There’s 10 male singers and we sing contemporary songs these days… we’ve been rehearsing in sections (i.e. bass, baritone etc.). As people may know… it’s almost impossible for a few people to keep in time singing to music via Zoom (due to internet connections/latency/time delay) but it’s been quite therapeutic and we do what we can… at least we’re getting together and trying to make the best of a bad situation!
I’ve been putting out some live songs of mine and some covers (online from my living room) too on my Facebook, Insta etc. So far, covers wise… I’ve done a bit of Whitesnake, Ben E. King, Richard Marx, Jackson Browne, Bill Withers and others. Any requests, people can get in touch! I’ve also been giving away some FREE downloads on my website to stimulate people’s interest and give something back to people who like my music and support me.
NLM: What advice would you give to new artists who are trying to get noticed in these challenging times?
DP: I think artists should just do what they love and follow their heart; just try to produce/write the best songs they can… in whatever genre they’re in. You have to have a passion for it, there’s no point in trying to get thousands of Instragram likes or re-tweets, or Facebook likes or whatever if there isn’t genuinely good music/passion behind the hype/illusion of popularity.
It’s easier than ever to get music out there these days, with many people self-releasing (with no need for record companies as such), but because of this, there is a LOT of noise out there and it’s hard to break through it. However, believe in yourself and your music and anything is possible, it’s about positive mental attitude. Many times what you think… will be, what you think will manifest itself as reality! If you believe it will happen then hopefully you can magnetically attract the Universe to you and what you need.
It’s easy to get sidetracked and down about the music industry sometimes but if you want it… just keep going, don’t give up if it’s really what you want to do. Get your music out there on as many platforms as possible, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MusicLinkUp (new and could be good for making connections). Do some covers of songs you love and get em up on Youtube, TikTok, whatever… to gain some traction and then introduce people to your own music is one way of doing it. Very important… get yourself a website (doesn’t have to be fancy) and a mailing list to connect with your fans 🙂
NLM: If there was ONE mainstream artist you would like to spend time with during the lockdown period, who would it be and why?
DP: Michael McDonald is a big hero of mine. Maybe the best ever live show I’ve seen was Michael at The Royal Albert Hall, circa 2003. I’d love to sit down and just pick his brain on songwriting and chord construction etc… he’s a legend and very humble it seems! Still sounding kick-ass too!
NLM: So what are your plans for the rest of the year?
DP: Plans are to continue to write songs, on my own and via Zoom of course (not much choice, ha ha). I’m also pitching songs to Nashville a lot and for media/TV/Film opportunities which keeps my days busy. Hopefully we can get back to performing live towards the Autumn, that would be good, there’s nothing quite like being in front of an audience for a performer. Be fantastic to see theatres, clubs, pubs etc. getting back on their feet by Christmas. Hopefully I can get back to my podcast by the end of the Summer as I have Chris Needs MBE (BBC Radio Wales) and Boyd Clack (comedy actor/writer BBC Satellite City, BBC High Hopes) lined up to record an interview with me. Lots of others too I’m working on! I’m definitely missing human interaction… it’s not quite the same via the net/phone is it!
NLM: How can potential fans contact you?
NLM: Finally, if music did not exist, what profession would you do?
DP: When I was a kid and teenager I was obsessed by golf. I got to a pretty good level and wanted to turn pro eventually. I’d love to be a professional golfer if music wasn’t around. Nick Faldo was my hero and talking of attracting the Universe to you with positive mental attitude… I actually met him and spoke to him briefly which was a thrill. I’m just a frustrated golfer now who doesn’t play that much, but still love it… I never throw my clubs these days though! 🙂 The venue coulda been better though, I spoke to Nick in a toilet in the woods of Wentworth Golf Club! Now I think of it, I’ve spoken to many people in toilets… Faldo, Ant & Dec, Trevor Sorbie! Stories for another time maybe! Ha ha.
Thanks for having me. Stay safe and well Tracey and the same to all your readers.