Debuting her highly anticipated freshman project, Frankie Parker is excited about her new-found reception as one of Chicago’s premier R&B singers/songwriters. With such songs as, “Divine Destiny”, “Divorce Party”, and “Hot Pot of Grits”, Frankie Parker combines vulnerability, life lessons, and most importantly love to create “Breezy”. Her currently released single, “Peace, Love, and Wine” was rotated on Chicago’s WVAZ 102.7 FM radio station and has received rave accolades. “This is a hit- an ultimate steppers’ cut”, says V103’s DJ Eric E.T. Taylor. Frankie Parker’s mature lyrics and derivatively vintage voice serves as a promising concoction for a music career full of success and longevity.

“Breezy” is a melodic diary that depicts the emotional changes one faces when dealing with marriage and its challenges. She combines her love for the old school R&B, hip-hop, and spoken word to create a fresh, yet familiar sound. Frankie Parker patterns this musically, semi-biographical journey after one of her favorite albums, entitled, “Here My Dear”, written by Marvin Gaye. “I consider my album to be the long-awaited response to “Hear My Dear”. Maybe when people listen to my project, it will prompt them to take a listen to what I consider as Marvin’s ‘hidden gem’”. Writing nine out of the ten songs on the “Breezy” project, Frankie paints vivid pictures, giving the listener an opportunity to envision themselves as the various characters written in each song. “Hot Pot of Grits”, has brought smiles to women and fear to men. After listening to “Grits”, DJ Neva from New Jersey City, New Jersey stated that “Grits” has, “Actual lyrics that actually have significance. Thank you.” DJ Chuckfresh from Des Moines, Iowa described the single as “smooth and also funny”. “Hot Pot of Grits” was voted as the 2010 number one single for independent artists on the “Marvell Gable Radio Show”. “Breezy” is scheduled to be released during the first quarter of 2012.

Although Frankie Parker is a talented songwriter, she has a natural niche for captivating her audience through her stage performances. Since the age of 4, she has been performing in front of a crowd. She’s performed at the House of Blues, The Grand Ole’ Opry, Close Up II, Northern Illinois University, The Green Dolphin, Little Black Pearl and many other Chicagoland venues. She’s opened for Montel Jordan, Shai, rapper Sweet Juices, the Stellar Awards, and others. In 2011, she took first prize at the Femme Fatale M.C. Music Competition. She creates an experience that allows the viewer to feel every note she sings. “Her show was awesome. She did her [thing] [for sure]…I’m feelin’ this joint”, says Philadelphia’s own DJ Russ.

Frankie Parker’s musical odyssey began at an early age. According to her parents, as a toddler, she taught herself how to change the albums on the turntable. At 5, she recorded her first album with a local community choir. After being involved with the school chorus, band, and several community choirs, she decided to pursue a degree in vocal performance at Columbia College- Chicago. Although she has yet to complete her education, she has applied all that she’s learned to her craft. Frankie has also trained at A&A Music Academy, studying vocal performance there, as well.

Frankie Parker is expected to have a large impact on the urban music scene in Chicago, and eventually the world. She is dedicated to perfecting her craft and continuing to write songs with substance and soul. When asked where she sees herself in five years, she confidently says, “I see myself on tour, with my band, and creating music for myself and others…You know, living the good life!”

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Things I See....At 30- Part 1

For years, I’ve tried to prove two things- I’m strong, and I’m intelligent. I felt that as long as I provided proof that I naturally carried these traits, no one could say the opposite without validity. Since I could remember, my mom and dad always told me that I could do and be anything I desired. Yet, there were a few roadblocks that I would encounter because I was always told that I inherited a make-up of characteristics that could become obstacles while in the process of attempting to achieve my goals. I always heard, “You’re smart, but you have to work harder at what you want because things don’t come as easy for you.” Lovingly so, my dad would say, “Your sister is my smart child. She’s the more logical one. But, Meek, you are my hardest worker.” There was nothing wrong with what he said, but being a hard-worker just wasn’t enough for me. Then, I would also hear, “You’re the toughest one out of the rest, so we don’t worry about if whether or not you’ll make it.” I felt that I had no choice but to live up to what was expected of me. These words became so prevalent in my being, that I began to stand in those words, whether I believed in them or not.

I never questioned how smart I was, but I always questioned if I was the SMARTEST. I could recall coming home and telling my parents that my teacher was mad at me because I wanted to answer all the questions in class. Every time the teacher would open her mouth to pose a question, I was off to the races- hand in the air, and the “Pick me!” shake in my arm. I guess the teacher became so annoyed that she told me to stop raising my hand. When I presented my issue to my parents, they were beyond livid. They confronted this teacher, questioning why she felt it was appropriate to stunt my mental stimulation by basically telling me that I was too smart to answer anymore questions. I must admit, I didn’t understand why my parents were so mad about this. My cocky ass was beyond proud! After being told in so many words that a little black girl from the Harvey and Markham, IL school systems could in no way be as intelligent as the upper middle class students in the, at the time, predominantly white Lansing school system, I felt that the only way to keep the nay-sayers in line was by proving that I was smarter than them. This was the thinking of a fourth-grade student. That same thinking continued into my adulthood. By college, I was reading any and everything that I felt would enhance my intellectual competitiveness among my peers. I started writing and creating these abstract worlds of words that even I had trouble understanding. I attended poetry sets and sociologically-infused meetings, not for entertainment, but for the sole purpose of saying that I was an ’interpreter’ of a rare group of misunderstood people. I would arrogantly argue an opponent down to my last breath just to make it known that my point was valid, and that their opinion held no weight in my universe. Eventually, I found myself immensely exhausted from the task of feeding the need of proving and justifying my intellectual ability. This thinking got me nowhere!

I come from a family of women who have no qualms with standing in their truth and persevering through any tough situation. Both of my grandmothers are modern women in their own right. They both had the spirit of fighting for what they wanted for their families and themselves. As a little girl, I spent hours in the car with Nana, driving from the office to her clients’ homes, as she was simultaneously ‘driving’ her career. I watched Grandma work a nine-to-five, serve the community, and take care of an ailing husband without an utter of a complaint. My mom spent thirteen years working towards her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, while holding down a household, three busy kids, and a husband who was still finding himself. As far as I was concerned, I had no room to deny myself of any determination. If they could handle all of that, I could handle the sleuth of duties that was assigned to my life. I understood their courage at a young age, so the only way that I knew how to honor them was by being the strongest person they knew. I became my siblings’ bodyguard. I was my mother’s doctor and in-house psychiatrist. I was my dad’s mother, judge, and jury. Eventually, I began to fill the shoes of mother and enforcer for my husband. That is where the buck stopped. For so long, I provided solutions for my loved ones, but when it came to my own issues within my household, I was tapped out. When I began to search for answers, I found I couldn’t trust anyone because I felt that the people who I had taken care of for so long couldn’t possibly take care of me! How could the caretaker be taken care of by those who needed care themselves?

As I contemplated the constant turmoil in my life, I realized that the turmoil came from within. Instead of accepting the gifts of intelligence and strength as tools to build the world that I desired, I used those same powers in the destruction of my being. It was more important to me to ‘show-and- tell’ my traits, so I spent more time telling folks who I was, rather than using those characteristics to discover more things about myself. It’s pretty difficult to prove all is right with you when everyone sees that the effects to your actions are dead wrong. My personal revelations have led to the questions, “You’ve told people what you possess, so what’s next? What will you do to make your gifts matter? How does GOD see you? Does GOD see you as someone who has been given everything, but doesn’t see you GIVING anything?” Acknowledging that you have something special is part of the journey. You don’t have to justify who are. Just live and apply those tools when necessary without the announcement of doing such. If you possess these powers and you carry them with humbleness and appreciation, you won’t have to do much but BE.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nepotism: Alive and Thriving?

Can the American Dream be reached through hard work and dedication? Is that a real question in this society? My answer is, "no". In this country, you have to possess three things to obtain a successful career and financial stability: power, money, and the right connections. Easily, with money, you can buy the power and connections. However, the right connections will take you further than the other two. Knowing the right people at the right time can be your ticket out of the world of poverty. In fact, if you are related to someone with authority, you are set for life if you choose to follow the same career path as your relative. I consider the latter to be nepotism. Nepotism is a practice that has been in existence for thousands of years. Receiving the crown as king or queen because you were born in the family way is an example. Running and eventually being elected to the United States presidency because one's father was elected beforehand is another example that I'm sure we can relate to (Bush Family). We are taught that our legacy should live on through our efforts and offspring. We are also told that the next generation will be better off if they are able to reap what we have sown. Exactly how fair is it that those who have been handed their future wind up receiving and controlling more than what they're entitled to, while the rest of us struggle to create our own? There have been several recent occurrences that have made me pose this question, and I would like to share them with you.

I would like to begin with the scenario that influenced me to write about this today. This morning while at work, I was approached by a young lady who was looking for my manager's daughter. I had no idea that the daughter was on the premises, so I was thrown off a bit when asked about her whereabouts. I discovered that the daughter was conducting interviews for a business that was not affiliated with the company; this was occurring in one of our vacant offices. I had no idea that this was happening, so the first thought that came to mind was that of me turning the visitor away and explaining that there was no one here by the name that she announced. When I was notified that the visitor was looking for my manager's daughter, I escorted her upstairs to find the daughter. Before I knew it, we received more guests who were looking for the daughter. I'm wondering why my manager thought it was appropriate to allow her daughter to conduct a meeting pertaining to a matter that had nothing to do with the company. I imagined my manager's reply being, "Because I'm the boss, and she's my daughter! And furthermore, this is none of your concern." Then I began to wonder what may have happened if I handled the visitors incorrectly. I would've been professionally persecuted for something very personal. Lastly, I began to ponder what would happen if I chose to conduct meetings about my music career at my corporate gig (How sweet would that be?!). Would my manager allow such an event to occur? The answer would be, "no", and I would receive a pink slip with the quickness.

Of course my thinking didn't stop there. I began to think about all this drama with Beyonce and Jay-Z taking over a hospital floor, so that they could birth their daughter privately. I know, I'm tired of this topic too, but I couldn't help but think of them. They were able to shut down parts of the intensive care unit and prevent a father from seeing his newborn, premature twins simply because they had the funds to do so. Now, they have brought this child into the world while simultaneously manifesting the idea that their baby requires special treatment that others can't receive. They are setting this child up to think that ownership of the world can be sought with the drop of dime in the right man's palm. I don't knock them for doing what they thought was best for their child, but at what cost? Why should a decision like that have such an effect on others? Call me a hater, but the act of nepotism in this case has been initiated so early into this little girl's life that if they aren't careful, they might create a monster. This child may one day feel entitled to everything without putting forth any effort to earn privileges. Then what will they do?

Lastly, I thought about Kim Jong Il's son and successor Kim Jong Un. He has been appointed to the highest position in North Korea after his father's passing, but everyone is uncertain of his leadership style. Why, you ask? HE HASN'T HAD TO PROVE HIS LEADERSHIP SKILLS! Why? HE HASN'T HAD TO ANYTHING BUT EXIST! The world is on pins and needles, waiting for him to show his true colors. If he were voted into the position, it may have been a different understanding because the citizens would have had a chance to familiarize themselves with his character. However, since he was simply an heir to the throne, the citizens'opportunity to become familiar with him was bypassed because of, say it with me, NEPOTISM! The question becomes, "How do we prevent nepotism from affecting us negatively?" I believe that it starts with the parents. Parents, there is nothing wrong with providing your child with a healthy lifetstyle and few perks every once and a while. The problem settles in when children are not taught to earn the things that they desire. Presenting their needs and wants on a silver platter is a set-up for disaster. When you're dead and gone, they will still have to live for themselves. If you are blessed enough to leave a fortune to your child, but they are unaware of how to handle what you've left them, your hard work will be a faded memory, and please believe that your money will be lost. Am I completely against nepotism? No. I just think that too much of it can be a major 'spoiler'.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012...No "Resolutions"....Business As Usual

2011 is almost over, and the New Year will be welcomed in a few days. Many of us have already began the process of setting goals for 2012. Some of us use the terminology "resolution" to describe these set goals. However, I believe that "resolution" is a bit of a curse because when it becomes as such, we become too intimidated to follow through. I stopped that practice a long time ago. The list would start out long and would include dreams that I knew were intangible. The list would reduce itself to 1-2 thoughts that were mistakenly accomplished, so I just ceased at creating the lists. I found myself feeling guilty and ashamed for not completing these "resolutions". Now, I simply call these manifested ideas "goals". Yes, terminology matters. I feel like that term "goal" makes things more realistic and obtainable and not just a fantastic array of 'sugar plum fairy tales'. So, here's my list of goals.

The first goal that I have set is something that I've been working on for a while- weight loss. Cliche right? I lost 45 pounds last year, and I intend to lose another 50 before 2012 comes to an end. I am doing this for my well-being, as well as my business venture. I want to feel good on stage and comfortable in anything that I wear. I would also like to prove to myself that I have enough discipline within to not concede to diet pills and strict plans that result in starvation. I want to have some serious guns and a flat stomach. This can be accomplished by vigorous workouts and healthy eating habits. I can do this!

The second goal is to gain enough musical success that I am able to REALLY quit corporate. I got my song on the radio and performed a little bit of everywhere this year, but I'm just beginning to reap from all the hard work. I consider this to be an easy goal because "Breezy" drops in the first quarter of 2012, and I expect nothing but great things from it. Royalties are already stacking, and the album hasn't dropped yet! I want to have enough work that I won't have to touch royalties and still draw in enough revenue to pay bills. Along with promoting the album, I will take vocal lessons again and continue writing. I might even get into the hook writing business for hip-hop artists. I find myself in that position these days, so that avenue might be lucrative.

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to "get my happy back" (shout-out to NeNe Leakes!). 2011 was a very trying year, and I refuse to carry a dark cloud into the new year. I want to stop neglecting my needs. I want to get pedicures again. I want to network three times a week without the feeling of shame overshadowing my pursuit. I want to be FREE! Everyone deserves to have a smile on their face every once and a while; I want that smile everyday!

My desires are simple and to the point. I haven't challenged myself to anything that is impossible to achieve. I haven't wished upon a star to ensure that my dreams will come true. I know that in order to obtain the goals that I've set before myself, I must remain committed, true to self, and focused. Y'all, I GOT THIS! If you have the same caliber of goals, you can do it too! Happy New Year Everyone! God bless you in your new endeavors, and always remember to keep God as the constant in whatever you do! You can be nothing but successful when you allow HIM to be your third eye!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Recently, I completed the last song for my "Breezy" album. Knowing that the last song had to be written quickly, I wanted to make sure that the deadline didn't create a sense of haste that would be detected in its sound or lyrics. As I sat with the pen and pad (went back to the old school style of brainstorming for this one), I questioned what was missing from my project. I decided that I needed a song that spoke to the bitter/ hurt woman from a positive perspective. This thinking led to the creation of, "Let It Go". I think I made a mark with this one.

I always find myself in a place where I'm dishing out relationship advice. I don't consider myself an expert at all, but I do feel that God has allowed me to experience and see things that I can use as precautionary tools for my loved ones. Many of my female friends have posed the question, "What do I do now?", and I quickly reply with, "Nothing!" Most of the time, they expect me to answer with some vindictive plan, but that's not my nature. Revenge never works (been there) Although I do have a bit of a temper, I believe that when dealing with men, sometimes the best approach is to do/say nothing and keep it moving. Instead, we find ourselves 'stalking' men for answers. Before you know it, innocent bystanders become involved, and you wind up in a mess of chaos.

To prevent this situation from happening, I would like to share some steps in letting go. First, stop all communication with the man. Unless you have children with him, there is no reason to speak to him after he's hurt you and been dismissed.Cutting off the communication will make him see that you mean business. Secondly, keep a distance from his friends. Good friends are loyal friends, and whether or not the guy was to blame, his friends will take his side regardless if you consider them to be mutual friends. Yes, they may have the power to speak to him about his relationship and reach him in ways that you can't, but that has to be done without your assistance. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! Third, and most important, don't have sex with him after the break-up. Women, we are emotional creatures. If you have sex with him, you will naturally resurface those feelings you've had for him. It also causes of a lot of confusion that may have you questioning yourself about ending the relationship. In essence, there's nothing wrong with second-guessing, but you can second-guess yourself into a cycle of make-ups and break-ups. Last, but not least, keep some of your business to yourself. Sometimes, involving friends can make you question how you've handled the break-up. Girlfriends may have good intentions, but they can make matters worse by forcing you to rehash old drama; the masking term for this action is "venting". When you say that you've left it alone, LEAVE IT ALONE. Discuss the drama when you know that you are over it completely.

If you follow these rules, you will have no problems saying, "On to the next!". The process is much harder than the discussion, but if you keep in mind your self-worth and happiness, you will find yourself moving on before you know it!Letting go is a good way to ensure that you're not going to carry any of your old madness into your new relationship. It is never fair to make the new man suffer because of the unfinished business you have with the ex. Do yourself a favor,and move on with a clear mind and heart. LET IT GO!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gospel Industry vs. R&B Industry

I've been involved with music one way or another since I was 5. Like many R&B singers, I began singing at church. I was blessed to be surrounded by many talented musicians and singers all my life, and I imagined working in that field as an adult. I loved the idea doing what I love for WHO I loved. However, to accomplish that was much harder than expected.

I discovered that the gospel industry did not fully represent the message conveyed in its style of music. From a naive place of reasoning, I thought that gospel artists and musicians would be welcoming, supportive, and all about the ministry. I know I was nuts for thinking that, but how could one sing about righteousness and be so unrighteous when it came to the reception of new artists? I've dealt with more judging, belittling, and backstabbing in the gospel realm more than I have as an R&B singer.

I can recall auditioning for a popular gospel singer who was gearing up for a tour. On the way there, I began listening to the "What's Going On", album, and all I could think about was, "What's REALLY about to go on if I get this gig?". Yes, it was an opportunity to visit places that I'd never seen and make some change while doing so. Yes, it would've been another notch on my 'vocal performance belt'. But, was it worth the gossip? Was it worth putting up with catty women and men, who I could never be myself around? Was it worth being judged for every move I make? Was it worth being around a bunch of people who had trouble about their own identity? After repeatedly asking myself those things, I decided to sabotage my audition by picking the most depressing song and singing it with no effort. I didn't want to let down the person that gave my the chance to audition, so I thought that was the easiest way out. When I walked out of the audition, I knew that I had done my very best to fail, and I was so relieved that the pressure of me changing me to accomodate others was null and void.

A few months later, I found myself at a rehearsal for another gospel performance. There was one particular woman who had given me a bit of trouble before, and she tried to do the same that night. Of course, I wanted to take her outside and punch her in the face, but I had no bail Instead, I was complimented by one of the greatest gospel composers of our time, and it was done so in front of her. That was the sweeter than any left hook that I would've landed. Although I received the victory in the end, I knew that this particular event would be my last performance as a gospel singer aside from my musical contribution to worship service on Sunday.
Some of you are reading this and shaking your head with the thought that I've allowed others to push me away from what I really wanted to do. That is not the case. I chose to stick with R&B because I expect to receive the backbiting and disrespect in this field. If I chose to come out of the closet as a lesbian woman (ain't happening b/c I LOVE ME SOME BLACK MEN!), I could, and I wouldn't have to live a double life to sell records. If I chose to work with a new sound, I wouldn't be accused of "taking the tradition out of the gospel". There are no restrictions, which can open the door for all kinds of garbage, but I am ready for it. In the gospel scene, I expected to be loved and accepted without prejudice or apprehension. That wasn't the case. I've shed more tears when dealing with church folk than I have with the secular world. I love Jesus, but I don't love the people who run the industry that supposedly praises HIM. Does my opinion make me heathen? I still believe that one day, I will accomplish the goal of completing a gospel album, but I need to gain a tougher skin first.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Evening With Carl Thomas

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending "The Experience With Carl Thomas" at the DuSable Museum. I must admit that when the idea for going to the event was initially introduced to me, I was a bit apprehensive about going because I felt that I wouldn't appreciate it as much as someone who was a loyal fan or avid listener. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that Carl Thomas is very talented, but I can't say that I knew much about his musical journey.
For those of you who are unaware of the functions of "The Experience", let me just brief you on how the event works. The artists are interviewed by Dedry Jones, and the style of the interview is similar to that of James Lipton's on "Inside the Actors' Studio". This format gives the audience the opportunity to learn unknown facts about the artist. After the interview, the audience is treated with a brief performance by the artist.
This was the perfect setting for me to grow as a fan because I was able to see Carl Thomas from a personal aspect.I was able to see the man beyond "Summer Rain", "Emotional", and all the other songs that received heavy rotation on the radio. In his short, 30+ years on this this planet, he has been through a lot. Many of the friends he made through his career have passed on,(Heavy D, Notorious B.I.G., TuPac, Gerald Lavert etc.). He tragically lost his brother during his tenure at Bad Boy Records. He was raised in the projects, with very little money but lots of love. He's been through more than any us will ever experience in our lifetime. I guess that's why he's been blessed in his craft. Sometimes, we have to struggle a bit so that we are humble enough to receive what the LORD has for us. Boy, did that hit home! It seems like lately, I've been catching hell from everywhere, and that only means that I'm moving closer to my reward. Come on reward!
So, it's official! I am a Carl Thomas fan. If you get a chance, check out his latest cd "Conquer"; the title says it all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't be my footstool!

Yesterday, I attended church and received a word that I knew sent just for me. The sermon was about the effect that enemies can have on your ministry. The pastor spoke of how when you're attempting to be on the right path, there's always someone who you consider yourself to be close with that attempts to corrupt your plans and visions. Since the enemy has a tendency to appear as a friend at first, one can be completely unaware of the enemy's intentions at the beginning.
How many times have you heard of stories where chit-chatting with girlfriends about relationships lead to a boyfriend being stolen by that girlfriend that you were discussing your relationship with? How many times have you heard of women who's significant other didn't agree with the girlfriend/wife returning to school, so suddenly, the woman is with child and unable to complete her studies? From the industry side of things, how many times have you witnessed backstabbing take place for the sake of notoriety? One way or another, we've all witnessed this. I've dealt with jealousy for a long time, and it hurts more when it comes from people that you love and look up to. I lost a friend to that evil spirit, and I had no clue they felt this way until it was too late to salvage what was left of our friendship. Don't get me wrong. I love that person, but now that I know that he/she is capable of hurting on that level, I could never be as close to him/her as I was before.
It's not a good feeling to witness blatant betrayal for a slight gain, but it happens in all the time in our lives. When dealing with haters, the best thing to do is pray for them and keep it moving. And here's a little hint: If you have a hater every once and while, it can be used as a gauging tool to determine just how successfully dedicated you are to your craft/ talent. Haters only come out when they feel like you're doing something right. They're just not ready to admit it.