MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you again Darren, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
For those whom didn’t catch your last interview with us, tell us a little about who you are.
Darren Parry: Thanks guys, it’s a real pleasure to chat to you again. Well, I’m a singer/songwriter from Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, UK. I was brought up listening to all kinds of music that my parents played, especially Motown, my mother loved Motown. This soulful music seemed to get under my skin with its great melodies, vocals and hooks and that led to me having a passion for listening to and trying to write melodic, get to the point, hook driven, Pop/Rock/Soul/R&B songs!
I’ve been fortunate to have won a few awards along the way including…2004 ‘UK Songwriting Champion’ (“Reality”), 2014 USA ‘Song Of The Year’ contest ‘runner up’ (“So Into You”) and have awards from ‘Billboard’ and ‘Unisong’, among others. I’ve toured the world singing/performing over the past 20 years or so, as a solo artist, or as part of numerous groups (including The Black Mountain Male Chorus Of Wales, The Graceland Band), visited 40 of the 50 US States, France, Hong Kong, Europe, and all over the UK. You may have seen me on TV shows such as BBC’s “Test The Nation” (with Phillip Schofield and Anne Robinson), BBC2’s “Identity” (with Donny Osmond), BBC2’s “Let Me Entertain You” (with Brian Conley), ITV Christmas productions from Cardiff Castle or singing on The Millennium Stadium pitch in Cardiff. I’ve performed with/shared the stage with artists as diverse as Scouting For Girls, Bryn Terfel, Michael Ball, John Barrowman, The Story’s and The Crazy Frog!
MuzicNotez: What have you been up to since we last talked? Any exciting new releases?
Darren Parry: Since our last interview I’ve been very busy fortunately working on new songs. I’ve been busy releasing new songs of mine such as “Could’ve Had The Best Of Me” (check out my YouTube to listen: www.youtube.com/darrenparryvideo), working on new songs for my new EP and writing lots for other people too, which has been a new adventure for me… but has been fun. I’ve also been performing live a lot, either doing my own material acoustically or performing with the fantastic 9 piece band I’m part of… Sounds Familiar.
MuzicNotez: You have been working with the teen sensation Nina Jones, how has that experience been?
Darren Parry: Nina is great. I’ve been working with Nina for just over a year now seriously on various projects and she’s a wonderful talent. Nina is 18 yrs. old now, 17 when we recorded a lot of the songs and for such a young age, has a lot of maturity in her voice. She originates from Newport, South Wales.
Following the success of her debut single release “Never Let You Go” which was written by myself and renowned songwriters Dan & Laura
Curtis (they’ve written for Ramin Karimloo, Paul Potts, Lea Salonga etc.) with TV slots and radio play including BBC Radio Wales, Nina then geared up for another single release, with a brave cover of Prince’s timeless classic “Purple Rain”. This has already racked up 105,000 views plus on YouTube and has had airplay on radio around the UK.
However, alongside that release, Nina released another track, “Never Let You Go” (Adventurer Remix), a Dance/Club remix of her debut single. I scoured the UK for the right EDM (Electronic Dance Music) producers and eventually found Adventurer. EDM specialist producer duo Adventurer, hot from working with the likes of Pendulum, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Young Guns and Pixie Lott, got hold of the single “Never Let You Go” from me and gave it their very own brand of remix treatment, with some thumping results. I worked very closely with Adventurer on the remix as a sort of executive producer. I had produced the original Pop mix for “Never Let You Go” (at Shabbey Road Studios with Al Steele) and was thrilled with the way the remix came out from Adventurer. We wanted a different slant on the song from the Pop mix and certainly achieved this (take a listen on Nina’s Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/ninajonesmusic).
MuzicNotez: One of the new singles you released with Nina is entitled ‘Promises’, you wrote, played and produced this track. What was the inspiration behind the lyrics?
Darren Parry: I had the chorus of the song going around in my head for about 6 months before I decided to sit down and do something with it. Nina wanted another original single after “Never Let You Go” so I built on the idea that had been plaguing me for months. All I had at this point (with a bit of a melody) was “now all your promises, promises, promises, they’re killing me, killing me, killing me, take me up, take me down, spin me half way around and forget about me”. I was singing it to myself every day, like a little worm in my head it was, so I thought….”there’s gotta be something to this song”. I sat down and finished the bulk of it in about an hour or so and finished it off over the coming days.
“Promises” is Nina’s fourth single release. I hope people see it as an infectious, contemporary Pop/R&B/Ballad that really showcases Nina’s voice. She really nailed the vocals on it. “Promises” is a song about not trusting someone anymore, being tired of their lies, promises and deceit. It’s about being strong and moving on to better things. I hope listeners will relate to this song as it embraces emotions that lots of us have encountered throughout our lifetime. The track also features my go to guitarist, the great Rob Devereux on guitar and the talented Al Steele on bass (and a few other things). I played the keyboards and did backing vox. Between the 3 of us, we played everything on the track.
MuzicNotez: Your other new single is entitled ‘Soar’ and was performed by Lee Gilbert. This was written specifically for Lee, how come he was such a good fit for it?
Darren Parry: Lee is a tremendous talent. I’ve been a friend of Lee’s for over 12 years or so…he has a great voice with a great range. Lee is from the Rhondda, South Wales. Lee approached me to see if I would have a go at writing a song for him. We met for a coffee, I took my note book and just jotted down what he was telling me about his recent life events. He wanted a song that expressed some of his recent tough times but was a song of hope, with a ‘rising from the ashes’ kinda theme. It’s easy to get carried away with slightly clichéd metaphors with this type of theme, with talk of a Phoenix rising etc. so I tried to stay away from the totally obvious whilst still allowing the song to remain accessible. I wanted a Pop/Gospel theme (hence the choir near the end!) but also wanted a hint of Musical Theatre in there, as this is very much Lee’s background.
I hope the song comes across as a memorable, uplifting, Pop track that would not be out of place in today’s Top 40 Chart. It has overtones of R&B/Soul also that really set it apart from your ‘typical’ modern Pop song. It is a song about bettering oneself, about rising from adversity, getting over difficulties and soaring above negativity. It’s a song that has a message and a meaning for us all; never give up and follow your dreams! The song also features Rob Devereux and Al Steele again. The song already has Welsh fans and the thumbs up from the likes of Lucie Jones (X Factor, Les Mis, Ghost The Musical) and fashion designer David Emanuel! Look out for the music video soon.
MuzicNotez: What’s the writing process like when you need to write for another artist?
Darren Parry: For most of my songwriting life I’ve mostly written for myself. I try and find out as much as I can about the other person before I attempt to write for them so I can get a good feel for their personality and what they like from a song. Overall though, although I keep in mind the range of their voice, their style and the sorta theme we are going for, it’s pretty much as I would normally write. I do what comes naturally to me and feels right. I have no real formal musical training, I’m mostly self-taught and do everything by ear. I can read music (slowly!) but never write down musical notes normally. What comes out, comes out. Fortunately so far, the people I’ve written for have liked what has come out of my head I think!
MuzicNotez: You’re also working on a new album set to release this summer entitled ‘Learning The Hard Way’, how is that process going?
Darren Parry: I meant to release the EP last year but with other things going on…I haven’t had the chance to finish it yet. I’ve got about 2 new songs that I want to record before the EP is finished. One is a raucous, Pop/Country track and the other is a sorta mainstream Pop/Rock song. I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio and recording. I love the recording process and being in the studio. Some of my happiest times are in the studio creating something from nothing. It’s very satisfying!
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Darren Parry: Thanks to everyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc. I’ve met some cool people on social media with a like-minded taste in music. I’m just a big music fan really, so anything to do with music, I’m interested. If people dig my music along the way and I can communicate with them through music, then that’s the biggest thrill. Also thanks to the radio stations who continue to play my songs…hearing my songs on the radio still makes me feel like an excited child! I’ll never get tired of that!