"Ask my clients around the globe, f*** with me and get ya sound right." France. United Kingdom. Belgium. Bolivia. Colombia. Montreal. Just a few places around the globe I've already left my mark. The best you've never heard...yet. If you need something that's never been done before, I'm your guy. Come to me for what's different, not conventional.
PRKR (pronounced 'parker') is an artist, songwriter, and music producer hailing from Tampa, Florida by way of Mount Vernon, New York. Over the past decade, he's spent countless hours making and releasing his own music, and also producing and engineering for other artists. Starting from his local Florida scene, he now resides in Los Angeles, California writing and producing for major industry artists on a global scale, such as Colombian-based electronic DJ Argüello, Coventry, United Kingdom rappers Skatta, and Vision, and French-Algerian star Rilès. The versatility he developed from writing for so many genres helped him to grow as an artist and form his eclectic sound. Years of emulation and creativity lead to the familiar, yet unique and fresh style you get from PRKR's music now.
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Interview with PRKR
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I wrote a demo with my good friend and "big sister" Kaydence for an artist that was gonna sign with Timbaland. It was pretty crazy, because she invited me to the writing camp out of the blue, and once I set foot in the studio with these big producers, she encouraged me to walk into the room and take control. That was wild because I was thinking here's a decorated songwriter, who thought of me, and trusted me enough to give direction when I had never done anything like that before. And then just the confirmation of writing with her on that song, I think that's when it clicked in my head "Oh wait. I'm really a songwriter. I'm legit. I'm doing this for real."
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm always doing SOMETHING 😂I'm making demos for major artists with my good friend Argüello, an electronic producer and DJ based in Colombia, as well as a gang of other guys. I'm also gearing up to release another solo project soon, so I've been peppering out some singles here and there, and teaching myself about web advertising so I can learn how to promote myself in this new social media era.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: My brother Arson Daylee. I do the majority of my references and toplining with him out here in LA, and he's a kick-ass mix engineer who's worked with BJ the Chicago Kid, Machine Gun Kelly, Scarface, A$AP Ferg and so many others.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog feels like such a faraway dream. While digital has made things so much more accessible and decentralized, there's no "human" element in it. Analog is an era I missed out on being younger, so I'm always intrigued when I learn about how music was made before the days of ProTools and Logic, and why even today analog is still used because there's just this nostalgic, vintage feel that you just can't reproduce in digital, no matter how far tech advances.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Quality. I'm never gonna give you something sub-par, and if you embrace mediocrity I'll definitely push you away from that. I won't ever get behind something that's not incredible. I hold myself to that same standard.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: It doesn't FEEL like a job. I'll get lost in working on something and then look up from my computer and it's 6PM and dark outside. Suddenly I realize I'm hungry, I haven't showered in 2 days and I forgot to call my mother back 😂I have to remind myself sometimes that I actually get paid for this stuff.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What my sound is like, what my recent work is, am I capable of making something like (insert Top 40 artist here) My answer: YES.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's easy and anyone can do it. There's so much that goes into making a song, especially a GOOD song, and even more so a good HIT song. Most people wanting to do music these days aren't taking the time to study the craft or the business. They don't know the first thing about music theory. They can't explain why certain songs just "grab" them, right upon pressing play. They don't have that "it" factor when it comes to true talent. It's so much more than picking up a laptop and loading up ProTools or GarageBand. Some of your favorite songs that sound simple were written by 8-10 people, and the whole process; picking the BEST toplines, the STRONGEST lyrics, and the RIGHT song structure, can be extremely meticulous and time-consuming. Songwriters are definitely underrated in that regard.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: "What are your goals?" I can't stress this enough, but there's WAY too many people that want to get into music without knowing why. Many still treat it as a hobby or some kind of passion project. It's a viable career path if you're willing to educate yourself about the business, BEFORE you get into it. Also I ask if they have a recording setup, what their singing ability is like, what type of sound they're looking for and if they intend to do a full project with multiple songs or just one. If they're familiar with publishing, if they're registered with a PRO, if they know about splits...all the boring stuff too ;)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be clear and concise about what your goals are. Also, be realistic. The music industry has become very decentralized but at the end of the day, it's an industry just like any other. It pays for both parties to be professional and PREPARED. Be ready to take advice, be patient, be respectful. I spent years perfecting this craft, so even if I am capable of a same-day turnaround, I'm not charging based on the time it took, I'm charging for my experience.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A satellite phone, a torch lighter, an air mattress, my laptop and a wi-fi card 😈
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been writing since the 8th grade, I think age 13 was when I started penning lyrics. Professionally I actually started out as a Christian rapper from 2011-2015. I had moved to Tampa, FL for college, and was signed to a small publishing label based in South Florida. The end of 2016 through 2017 I started to produce more, and start getting my feet wet in the big pond, traveling to beat battles and songwriting competitions. Then in 2018 I made the jump to LA, and I've been here ever since. 2021 makes it my full decade in professional music. I was also a drummer for over 15 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm a chameleon 😂but I tend to default to a loud, bright sound that's got some DNA from modern R&B and rap, and blues. I got a little bite in my vocals. Also VERY lyrical, hip-hop has me trained; I'm always gonna have some bars in there. And harmonies. I love big, orchestral sounding harmonies sprinkled with some background vocals.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: T-Pain and Jon Bellion. T-Pain just because that's really my biggest influence in music and he's SO VERSATILE. He started out as a "Rappa Ternt Sanga" but he can do almost any genre. And then Jon Bellion just because he's one of the last true producers in music. A producer doesn't just make the beat, they arrange the entire feel of the song. They facilitate the collaborative process and apply a vision to it. They have an ear for EVERYTHING, not just a hot loop or sample. And he's truly a profound songwriter and artist as well.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: LESS IS MORE. So many producers love to overproduce their tracks, and oftentimes end up leaving the artist with no space to perform. No one can focus on the main attraction because there just HAS to be a 30-piece orchestra sample, WITH 3 different hi-hat loops, and 5 different synth leads. Sometimes, it really is as simple as one drum pattern and a melody with a backbeat. All the best songs have it. Whether it's Billie Jean, When Doves Cry, or Hotline Bling. Simple. To the point.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I don't like using the term "urban" but I feel like it best describes what I usually do. Although lately I've been doing pop, EDM, and electropop, with some indie mixed in there. And 80s synthwave. If you ever need something 80-s inspired, PLEASE CONTACT ME. I am a monster at that stuff 👹
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Combining wordplay WITH challenging topline. I started out singing but then quickly moved to rapping for a few years, so that helped to cut my teeth on lyrics and wordplay, but then I was able to combine it with everything I've learned from singing. So my songs will always have a unique melodic element but witty lyrics that more avid listeners may catch onto later.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Energy, tone, and proper structure. Those are things I learned working in LA. If a song is feeling a bit dull, two things that can improve it are a bouncy topline (even on ballads) and vocal tone. I'm always playing around with different vocal inflections on the same track. Might start with a full tone and then drop to a raspy whisper, with opera-like vocals in the background, it all depends on the mood of the song. How a song starts is so important, and how it flows is also important. You never want your verses to drag along, you never want to be too wordy, and you never want to have the listener waiting for the hook. Whenever possible, start the song with the hook. Not always, but most of the time.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Fast. Most writers come up with topline first, and lyrics second, but they both kinda hit me at once 😅I usually have to rush to put my ideas down before I forget them. I only need to hear the beat for a few seconds or so, once I start up a topline lyrics come right after, and I'll stop the beat. Then after about 5-10 mins of awkward silence you'll have a full song. Might even come with a bridge!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a humble, but capable home studio setup. The industry-standard tried and true UAD Apollo Twin, as well as an Audient iD4 for mobility. 2 mics, a Shure SM7B, and an sE Electronics X1A. Some Audio-Technica M50x headphones and a pair of Mackie CR4s, all hooked up to a MacBook Pro. Not much, but they more than get the job done. Though if need be I can bring out the big guns at a local studio in Burbank.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Akon and T-Pain. They shaped my whole sound. And Akon is a total visionary. I love Jon Bellion as well. I call him "White Kanye" 😂The guy's a genius, thoroughly. 50 Cent, Donald Glover, Logic, the "renaissance men". They can do it all. As far as professionals I gotta give it up to Master P. He's a living legend.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of the time I'm doing songwriting and topline with other writers and/or producers. But I also produce music.