theaussieword.com catches up with Parker.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a singer. When I was in primary school I sang in the choir. In high school I learned guitar and when I was in year 12 I sang my first original song in front of the school and received a standing ovation from 2000 girls dressed in green blazers. From that moment I was hooked!
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
Finding ways to create magical worlds for my songs and stories to live in. In recording you can create spaces that defy the laws of physics.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
To make and release music, film clips and large scale installation works as often as possible. It would be pretty amazing to exhibit and perform at the Tate or LACMA.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I’ve got another single and music video ready to drop early next year. I’m currently making visuals for my new live show and I’ll be playing shows in 2020.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
Can’t Keep Waiting is the first of a suite of songs I’ve been working on the past few years. The music video I made with Jaymis Loveday is an extension of my own video art concept called Dissolving Self. When Hans and I first started working on this song in the studio we used a visual narrative to help articulate what sounds we were going to use in the production. The story begins at the bottom of the ocean. Slowly trudging along the silty ocean floor, arriving at the edge of the abyss and being brave enough to leap off into the dark unknown. Suspended by the water the fall feels more like floating, supported by the current, eventually landing in a vast underwater valley.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
Over time I have developed a disciplined writing practice. I used to only write when I felt sad but then I joined I Heart Songwriting and started writing to the briefs every week. This gave me the opportunity to write when I was happy and also pushed me to try different approaches to starting songs. Instead of just using my guitar I started writing songs from a bass line, a sample loop, a vocal riff, etc. I get friends to send me instrumental sketches to write to now so I always have a bank of ideas to riff off.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Absolutely! There are many layers of meaning in my work. Sometimes there are lyric references to other artists who have mused and inspired me or I reference lyrics from my other songs to link the overarching narrative. Hans and I have also made some choices in the instrumentation of some songs to pay homage to those who’ve inspired a song. These are very subtle. Just a little extra for those who want to dig deeper. The most important element for me is that the lyrics are ambiguous enough to allow a listener to insert themselves into the story. No matter what a song/artwork means to the maker, every person who experiences the work will view it through their own lens of experience. It’s really important to me to give the audience that space.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Define what it means to you. I used to think success was having so many page likes, Spotify plays, followers on instagram, spins on radio, etc. Now I define my success as getting up everyday and working on my music and art practice. Having a balanced life of rest and inspiring experiences combined with times of reflection and dedication to making art and music.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Singing with Ladychoir on ABC television with Missy Higgins last year. Such an amazing experience to sing with a group of some of the most inspiring women in the Australian music community.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Laurie Anderson – She is constantly creating work at the intersection of art/music and new technology.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a VR music video project with Norweigian artist Gina Thorstensen and Brisbane based Technology artist Jaymis Lovely. I’m also working on more animated video concepts with Hans Van Vliet for our next batch of singles for 2020. I have an exhibition of my art and installation work with Jo Lane in Melbourne next July. And my other music project Runaway Belles is set to release our first single very soon.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
On a world tour of planetariums and aquariums.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
Favourite part is making weird and wonderful things with my friends. Least favourite part is spending days auditing online platforms to make sure my songs are linked to the correct artist profile.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Musicians – Codachroma, Paper Kites and Wafia
Visual Artists – Jo Lane, Adam Lee and Angkaliya Eadie Curtis
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Instagram is just like having a virtual gallery space and I love curating. Being able to share creative ideas directly with my audience is really liberating. I think we are living in an exciting time where we can reach audiences in far away places. A lot of my new fans are from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I feel a deeper sense of belonging as a citizen of the world because of this. The internet is dissolving boundaries in this way for artists to connect.
How do you plan on cracking the international market?
It’s cracked! My music video has received awards in the USA and is screening for the Austria International Film Awards in November. My focus now is to keep making quality content and consistently release it online.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I mostly collaborate. I start things on my own but I always build a team of creatives around me for both my art and music practice to help me realise my ambitious visions. On the top of my wish list is to work with Devandra Banhart. His multidisciplinary practice is so rich and I just love how surprising and weird his work is. I think he would be super fun to make a record with.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Get really clear on your goals. Every time you have to make a decision on how to spend your time, energy and resources ask yourself is this getting me closer to my goals or further away? Life is full of distractions and limitations and only you have the power to overcome those for yourself and for your art. Every time you feel terrified you won’t be able to achieve what you’ve set out to do lean into the feeling and keeping going. Even if you fall short you’ll be closer than if you didn’t try at all.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans?
Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support! I’ll have more for your ears and eyes to enjoy very soon.