Published on July 12th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
His Bridge Project, Legacy Foundation and Solo Career is Keeping Q Parker (Of 112) A Busy Man!
Q Parker enjoyed extensive success with the group 112. Now, he’s channeling that energy into his solo career and foundations.
Three numbers described the Grammy winning quartet from Atlanta, Georgia; 112. 112 came onto the scene with strong hits like, “Anywhere,” and “Only You,” but it was, “Peaches & Cream” that earned them a Grammy nomination and although they came up short to securing the Grammy, the group would later capture a Grammy (Best Rap Performance by a duo or Group) for their contribution on the Notorious B.I.G. tribute song, “I’ll Be Missing You,” which featured, Faith Evans and Diddy. Their 1997 hit, “Cupid” went platinum as well. The group would reach double platinum status in 2002 for their “Room 112” album efforts. 112 toured the world with musical icons such as, The Isley Brothers, Whitney Houston, Keith Sweat, Diddy and Janet Jackson. In 2011, group member, Q Parker released a fitness calendar and the following year he released his first solo effort.
Q Parker recently opened up to, The Hype Magazine to discuss his solo career, his foundations and pays homage to, Silk and Melvin Edmonds.
You were down here in New Orleans for Essence Fest. How did that go for you?
Q Parker: It’s amazing when you are in a city surrounded by your people; celebrating and highlighting them. Just being in that atmosphere of your people, there is nothing like it. To take over a city for an entire weekend, celebrating ourselves and just loving on each other.
You performed a little, ‘Silk’ while on stage and you revealed something that I didn’t know. The group, 112 actually sang, “Lose Control” by ‘Silk’ when you auditioned for, “Puff.” How much of an influence was that group for you guys?
Q Parker: Oh my God, man. Anytime I can, I make a point to show some love to the group, ‘Silk.’ When we auditioned for, “Puff” we sang everything we knew. And at that time, ‘Silk’ was from Atlanta, so they were representing Atlanta, and all of us who are a native of Atlanta felt really proud that a group from our own city had made it. We learned every song and, “Lose Control” when we auditioned for, “Puff” in addition to Take 6, Boyz II Men and Jodeci, “Lose Control” was one of the songs we sang. That was definitely one of the records we put in our little show and we sang it for, “Puff.” After that audition for him, he was like, “I want to sign you guys,” so ‘Silk’ was always important to me when I talk about my career and 112’s career. Had they not made an incredible song, we would not have had it to add to our catalog to sing for, “Puff.”
What has the transition to a solo artist been like for you? Is it easy because it’s all on you or difficult because you’re used to having your brothers with you?
Q Parker: It is in some ways scary. In 2012 when I did my first solo album entitled, “The MANual,” it was a journey. And as you said, you are so accustomed to looking to your left and your right and knowing that you have your brothers. In terms of a workload perspective, in a group you just kind of play your part. You sing your verse and then you tag somebody else in. Well, when you are a solo artist, you pretty much have to do all of it on your own. It strengthened me in a lot of ways. It increased my confidence, my security in myself and my talents that I don’t think that I would have ever tapped into had I not took on the challenge of doing a solo record. So, now, that I’m in this state now, the confidence is there, the know how is there, the experience is there, the creativity and the vision is there. I’m a seasoned vet, so because of all of those things, I know exactly who, Q Parker is, and I want the world to know about me. So, it’s just adding on to the 2012 solo record to now talking about some of the things that I’m into right now.
Does it change the choreography a lot because now it’s just you up there and I’m sure you have to utilize the stage much differently now?
Q Parker: Being on stage performing is liberating. That’s the opportunity we have to just truly live in the music and just live on what we created. Hopefully show the world that, what you see is somebody that totally knows who they are. You can look on stage and tell when somebody is uncomfortable up there, but because I’ve been doing it for so long, I can fit in any shoe; whether I’m being the member of the group or Q Parker the solo artist because I have the experience to live in any of those arenas that I have to. I love it just as much as I love being on stage with my brothers. It’s just I’m channeling a different part of me at a different and appropriate time.
Not only did you pay tribute to, ‘Silk,’ but I loved the Melvin Edmonds tribute you did on Instagram. You sang “Ready Or Not” and absolutely killed it. I feel like, Melvin’s death kind of went unnoticed to many, so I thought that was awesome of you.
Q Parker: Absolutely! So, I started this brand a year ago called, “Q Parker and Friends.” The title of the show which we keep it on the road is, “Tribute to the 90’s Number One.” It’s basically me assembling people who are in the industry and paying tribute and just singing our favorite songs. All of the number one records from that era, we’re performing. One of our favorite songs from that set is, “Ready Or Not.” ‘After 7’ is one of my favorite groups and that’s one of my favorite songs of all-time. So, when I heard of, Melvin’s passing, I called up my friend, JK [Howells] who is like a musical mentee of mine. He performs the record with me when we take the, “Q Parker and Friends” show on the road. When we heard, Melvin Edmonds passed, we wanted to perform the “Ready Or Not” song to pay tribute to him. It was received very well. The song is a classic R&B record and I wanted to be true to it, so that it wouldn’t lose the essence of what ‘After 7’ did and what they created. It was an honor to pay tribute to a legend. A lot of times when you’re in groups, people identify with one somebody. It takes everybody’s part in order for the group to be successful. So, you may know, Kevon as the most recognizable voice, but Melvin and Keith Mitchell played a very intricate part too. I wanted to shine some light on Melvin for his contribution; for his vocal contribution to ‘After 7.’
You also started “Bridge Project” where you are bringing some talented artists both R&B and gospel together. What made you want to do a documentary combining these two genres?
Q Parker: I grew up praising God and Christ. It was just known that, as a musical opportunity came, I would be a gospel artist. No gospel opportunity presented itself and my group was getting R&B record deals. At the time it just sent my choice into haywire. To the point where I just felt disconnected. And just going through my career, I’ve come across so many other artists, who got their start in church. But they ended up getting record deals in other genres because there weren’t enough opportunities to get us signed to a gospel contract. Just navigating that world, they had this huge divide between the two genres. It’s like, just because you sing R&B music you’re not connected spiritually or just because you’re singing gospel, you can’t like R&B influenced music or what’s going on in the R&B industry. I just wanted to break that wall down that has separated the two genres for years. That’s where the “Bridge Project” series came along and it’s a volume series.
The first volume is, “Brother’s United,” so it’s an all- male cast. I break it down this way, there is one big, “We Are The World” type of song where there are 48-men representing. So, imagine your favorite gospel male artists and your favorite R&B artists doing one collaborative song. And then the remaining songs on the album are duets with a gospel guy and an R&B guy. As much as it is a musical project, it’s also a project to promote brotherhood, unity and togetherness. It’s a social project as well. The documentary will be showing the importance of unifying. That plays a huge part in our community. It will be similar to the ‘Black Men United’ project, the difference is we’re crossing the genres. ‘Black Men United’ only brought R&B together. Ours is R&B and gospel.
I’m a huge fan of TV One’s “Unsung” series and you’re right, I was amazed at how many artists got their start in the church.
Q Parker: Absolutely! That’s our breeding ground. That’s where we got our stability, the tough skin, discipline, encouragement and the continued practice was instilled in us. That’s where we learned. We learned everything by being in church. You can hear it; you can feel it and you can see it. The way that the R&B records are being delivered, you can always tell the church influence.
It seems that your mission is all about empowerment, unity and just connecting the disconnections. Tell us about your, “Q Parker Legacy Foundation.”
Q Parker: So, “Q Parker Legacy Foundation” started in 2013. Our mission is to impact every level of family structure. We have programs for men, women, children and even the senior citizens. For the men we have, ‘Brother’s United of Atlanta’ which is a safe space for men to, encourage, motivate and empower each other. ‘Women United’ will do the same thing for women. ‘Couple’s United’ which is our married entity. We have a ‘Youth United’ which is a summer camp, which is a leadership camp and technology camp. And then we have other entities where we do caroling for the senior citizens. We have about 600 plus senior citizens in one room and, “Q Parker and Friends” we sing Christmas Carols for them. Then throughout the year we do other initiatives for them, providing Christmas for needy families, families in need, toy drives and supporting other organizations, Breast Cancer and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta and other entities as well. The point of our organization is to make sure that every faucet of the family is not left untapped. Throughout the calendar year, every faucet of family will have their opportunity to be connected with, “QPLF.”
You have some great things going on and I’m glad we were able to get it all out there. Keep doing your thing and we will talk soon for sure.
Q Parker: We have a lot going on. Please follow us on all of our social media sites, @qparkerlegacyfoundation @qparker112 and @officialbridgeproject.