Drew Parks, writer, producer, videographer—you name it he has done it. His hands on approach to his brand of music is admirable. From the D to the world, with stops along the way as an opening act for Gym Class Heroes, Kendrick Lamar, and the New Boyz hasn’t hurt. His performances at Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Music Conference have done wonders for his buzz, and odds are his production going forward will be just as stellar. Drew Parks Recently released The Batch, an ode to his fans, and a teaser for what 2014 and beyond hold. Judging by the attention his hit single “I Am King,” is getting along with his mantra, ‘the more content, the better,’ the future is very bright for this Greek-American artist. Parlé with me as I introduce to you… Drew Parks.
Parlé: Detroit has been a hot bed for talent for quite a number of years. How do you see your sound as being a great representative of the vibe musically in the D or do you see yourself as taking an initiative to be innovative?
Drew Parks: My music is definitely influenced by the sound of my hometown, Detroit, but I will add to that the fact that I have always tried to do things my own way. Of course I looked up to Royce Da 5’9″, Eminem guys like that and tried to emulate their success and approach to music if anything, but I pride myself on being different. I am making my own lane.
Parlé: You are Greek-American correct? How do you intertwine both cultures in branding yourself as a noteworthy artist?
Drew Parks: Actually being Greek has not impacted my music, I haven’t went out of my way to infuse anything cultural into my sound as of yet but I have plans to do so in the future. Growing up my dad played a lot of reggae and a lot of Sergio Mendez, so musically I am influenced by a multicultural sound. I did listen to a lot of Greek music during occasions centered around family, like weddings, etc. But to answer your question I haven’t done it yet but definitely will going forward. I have sampled in past projects and I have a Brazilian themed video coming soon.
Parlé: You have performed with some great artists such as J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Gym Class Heroes, how has that helped you artistically as well as understanding the grind of the industry?
Drew Parks: The biggest help it has been is performance wise. The way J. Cole commands a crowd is really dope; it was great to see. His along with everyone else’s work ethic is inspiring. When I went out with Gym Class Heroes I was pretty much just starting out, and I incorporated the live band aspect as a result of seeing how they rocked it. I learned that presence is everything being alongside these guys, so nowadays I am better prepared for large crowds.
Parlé: How was it performing at Sundance Film Festival?
Drew Parks: It was dope. I got flown down there by a promo company who was helping me work my brand, which I was grateful for. The venue was unique, something you had to see with your own eyes, something like a cabin. I remember being excited that Associated Press was one of the sponsors, and there were so man great artists there. 50 Cent ended up making an appearance as he was promoting a movie so that was a plus. Overall, it was great experience.
Parlé: The Batch volume 1 is your current project: congrats on going bronze on datpiff. How’d you come up with the title?
Drew Parks: The funny thing is that the concept being The Batch is not that deep. I had a lot of unreleased music over a year ago, as I was recording and waiting to put out different projects. I thought to myself about the great response I get at shows, and just wanting to give the fans something to look forward to, or to have rather. Before the EP, I wanted to drop a mixtape and to me it was about ‘the concept of not having a concept’. Just wanted to give something to my supporters. My brother’s girlfriend asked me why one day, she was saying howThe Batch sounded like I was baking cookies, so I used that theme on the cover if you check it out its like an update of my work and what’s coming next.
Parlé: You produced the lead single “True Colors” on the mixtape; how long have u been producing?
Drew Parks: To be honest I have been producing almost as long as Ive been rapping. 85% of my music I produce myself. I like to be really hands on when it comes to my product, and brand as a whole. I feel like it gives me a way to have a bigger impact on the final piece, and be very authentic. When I produce the record and spit, it gives people a chance to see what vibe I was in when it was done. The music creates the aura that matches the lyrics. I do work with outside producers, but producing is definitely a passion of mine. ‘If I wasn’t rapping, I’d be producing.’
Parlé: I listened to “True Colors” and it felt quite autobiographical. Can you touch on that? Is there someone in particular you are speaking to?
Drew Parks:Yes it definitely is. The content is related to a real situation. I was mad over a relationship and I was leaving class one day, I just parked in my driveway and wrote the song; it took me 15 minutes, and literally that’s the quickest song I’ve ever written. Usually I take my time you know, I am a perfectionist but for some reason “True Colors” came easily. It was really personal so at first I didn’t want to release it but over time it grew on me, the hook was catchy and the beat was smooth. I directed the video also, and edited; as I said before, I am very hands on, which is a gift and a curse. Seems to take a lot longer when you do it that way.
Parlé: You also have a webseries that you are up to episode 3 on… what’s the inspiration behind that ?
Drew Parks: I fel like the webisode was needed, out of my want to connect with fans and give them insight on my day to day, get a little more personal than I can when on stage or on someone else’s camera. You know image is everything now a days, but I wanted to put all the hype aside. I watched other artists do VLOGS etc; overall I just wanted the fans to get the real me, in studio, hanging out things like that. One of the biggest factors was me thinking how dope it would be to have seen my favorite artists in that light coming up. Like how cool it would be to get an Eminer webisode, you know? I wanted to give my supporters exactly that.
Parlé: To date you have officially released 4 projects. How do you feel you have progressed from beat selection to features to the marketing ?
Drew Parks: I’ve actually put out more projects but those 4 are my favorite. In total I think I have about 8 or 9. The early stuff, I was really young and you can hear it in the music. Its cool to see my progression, I definitely have grown. Its noticeable; Sunrise on Your Dreams has a different sound than Label Me which is different than The Batch Each project I put out gives me a chance to perfect my craft, and find myself sonically. The more content, the better is my motto.
Parlé: What’s next for Drew Parks?
Drew Parks: My new project is gonna be crazy, its untitled as of yet, but its gonna be something cool and dedicated to my new fans. I just got word that the “True Colors” video is being picked up by MTV on Demand, and online as well which is dope. Just wanna make sure all the fans check the videos out. Also follow me on IG @drewparksofficial Twitter @DrewParks