CJ Parker is literally living the dream — he works at musical jobs he loves and he will perform on Friday night to celebrate the release of his first album.
Spotlighted on MTV Music News as a “Rising Star Due For Take Off,” the friendly, multi-talented Parker is a 22-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Davenport. MTV Music News over a year ago called him a “rising star” and “a name you should probably start remembering.”
“Blending the genres of R&B, funk, soul, gospel, and even jazz, this kid has something to show the world,” the MTV piece said.
He grew up in church, singing and playing at a very young age where he honed his piano and vocal skills, creating his soul sound. He brings multiple genres, blending styles similar to Prince, Earth Wind & Fire, and Justin Timberlake, and has traveled the country performing both solo and with his band.
His father is a pastor, and when CJ was growing up, he was also choir director at Mount Sinai Christian Fellowship in Davenport. Parker was deeply influenced musically by both parents – his mom loved Broadway and his dad played everything from Prince and Michael Jackson, to classical. CJ sang in the church’s adult choir as a kid.
His father (Corey) is senior pastor of Life Church in East Moline, and CJ is a member of that praise and worship team.
Parker works as an InTune Mentor at Common Chord, a paraprofessional educator at Davenport’s Eisenhower Elementary School, a brass teacher at Davenport Central High School., and a private tuba instructor.
He is kicking off his 2023 with the release of his debut album, “The I Album,” on March 31st. His show is 8 p.m. Friday at the Redstone Room (upstairs at Common Chord, 2nd and Main streets, Davenport).
Tickets are $10 in advance / $12 day of show, available HERE. The opening act is The Textures.
“I’m so excited for this album,” Parker said Monday. “This album was finished just about a couple weeks ago, with music spanning almost four years now. One thing I can credit to the producers and friends involved is that we didn’t rush the process at all. We took our time, and detailed every step.
“It’s SO satisfying to finally feel like. WOW. It’s done! It’s finished,” Parker said, noting it was recorded at Eastside Studios in East Moline.
“Wes Julien had everything to do with the production aspect. This album is a huge mixture of funk, soul, R&B, with some rock influences as well,” he said. “I think it’ll be a different sound for the music industry.”
Parker serves as the lead mentor of the InTune Mentorship Program, which is an educational program through Common Chord, aiming to provide interactive musical experiences to the younger generation.
“It really warms my heart to be able to introduce kids to new forms of learning, especially in the music sense,” he said. “I make sure to come up with fun interactive things that the kids will enjoy, while still making sure the goal is still music education.”
Parker this spring also will be music directing his first community theater show, the classic “Hello, Dolly!” at Moline’s Black Box Theatre, starring Shelley Cooper in the title role. Performances are scheduled June 1-10, 2023.
“I was actually recommended by Tracy Singleton to direct the play, which turned into meeting Lora and doing the first couple rounds of auditions. I am so excited for this show,” Parker said of Lora Adams, co-founder and co-owner of the theater at 1623 5th Ave., Moline.
“It’s going to be super cool stepping into the role as musical director for this show! I have always been a fan of Broadway musicals,” he said. “They’ve been a huge part of my life growing up, as my mom was and still is a Broadway fanatic.
“I can’t wait to get started with rehearsals! This will most definitely be a show to remember,” Parker added.
For more information on his own music, check Parker out on Facebook HERE and Spotify HERE.