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.