Parker Scott is a Bistro Award winning singer who's golden voice will leave you wanting more. Parker is taking the stage once again at New York City's famous The Metropolitan Room (34 West 22nd Street, between 5th & 6th Ave) with his new show Someone, which takes the audience on a musical journey of the universal need to be "someone," featuring songs by Ricky Ian Gordon, John Denver, Leonard Bernstein, Ennio Morricone, Erich Korngold, Craig Carnelia, Matt Alber and Peter Allen. Someone plays Friday, October 11 at 7pm, Sunday, October 13 at 4:30pm, and Monday, November 11 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I have sung ever since I can remember. My Grandma Haines sang with me - I had to be 3 or 4. She taught me how to harmonize. And it was without a doubt my favorite thing to do - Sing!!! My mom also sang with me. I would sing - loudly - while doing my chores around the farm. Singing got me through life! And still does.
My crush on "Gretl" in The Sound of Music - inspired me to keep chirping so that if I ever got to meet her, I would be able to sing with her.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? This is a LOADED question. There are so many folks I want to work with!!!!! I will try to keep the list short. Hugh Jackman! No explanation needed! The man is a god! I was so jealous of Jarrod Emick in The Boy from Oz!
Karen Mason. Karen has inspired me every single time I have heard her sing! I tried so hard to get into Sunset Boulevard when she was in it. Unfortunately, I didn’t look old enough, and I am too short! Can someone write us a project where we are best friends and we share everything! Or maybe we are sister and brother...
On the cabaret front, I would love to sing with Jennifer Sheehan. She has such an incredibly beautiful voice. At one point, we studied with the same teacher (Steve Smith) and I think it would be cool to sing with someone who approaches the voice in a similar fashion.
Audra McDonald. I would KILL to sing a duet with her!!!
Also - I love singing with a cello - so the ultimate would be to sing with Yo-Yo Ma.
And I have always wanted to make a movie with Richard Gere and a TV show Kristy McNichol.
And one more diva - Betty Buckley. If I could sing one song with her, one time, I would be would be on the biggest high of my life!
3. Your latest show is entitled Someone, taken from the Jason Robert Brown song "Someone to Fall Back On." What was it about this song that made you want to title your evening this way? I first heard the song when I was on a cruise ship contract back in 2005. My boyfriend sent me a care package that included Jason’s new CD - Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes. The song was a great comfort to me as I finished up my 7 month contract. He had somehow gotten an advance copy of the CD and sent it to me immediately. (Ironically, another song from that album is going to be the title for my next big project).
Almost everyone I know LOVES that song and identifies with it. It is universal. It became the central force behind the show. And working on it last week with my acting guru, Kimberly Vaughn, we discovered some very interesting ideas about the emotional state in which I start the song. Very deep and totally connected to my life!
For the show - I connect the sentiment to Matthew Shepard. When I was 21, I pretty much was running around trying to get laid as many times as I could, and just having a good time! Of course, deep inside, despite all my partying, I also longed to have a solid relationship, though, just kept putting it on the back burner, opting instead for "having as much fun as possible as often as possible for as long as possible." My mind jumped to a crazy place - What if, on that fateful night, October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was sitting in that bar - just wanting to be loved, wanting to be "someone" that was loved, and counted on? I can’t pretend to know what Matthew was thinking that night. Though, in all reality, that night in 1998, I was also probably sitting in a bar - maybe SPLASH - wanting "something," wanting to be "someone" who got to be there for someone else - body, mind and soul. I am pretty sure, we did share at least some of the same thoughts that night. My trusting nature and my desire to have a great time could have led me into a situation exactly the same. It could have been ME hanging on that fence...
4. How did you decide which songwriters you wanted to use to convey this evening? This show comes from a place so deep in my heart - words seem inadequate to express it. At one point, I didn’t think I was going to talk at all during the show. Just sing and let the stories of the songs speak for themselves. I came to realize that I do need to talk - and to share some of those deep personal meanings. The journey I am asking the audience to take with me, needs guidance. My spoken words help provide it.
The songs in this show all point to being "someone." The show is built around Someone to Fall Back On, as mentioned. And also, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Home of the Brave and Cinema Paradiso (Se). I got to perform Home of the Brave with Ricky at the piano in 2007 at The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Singing this song - about Matthew Shepard - was one of most cathartic experiences I have ever had while singing. To stand on stage and BE that voice... left me speechless, with tears streaming down my face after the song finished. I turned to Ricky, who was playing the intro for the next song and we shared a quiet smile. I knew that I wanted to sing the song again - in New York. And now, I am finally getting to do so.
The songs were chosen based on content rather than by composer. There were a bunch of songs that I knew I wanted to sing, a couple of pop tunes, a couple of classical songs, a Korngold aria from Die Todt Stadt. I started making a list of all of them, and discovered that I had this show. My boyfriend and I put this show together in about 20 minutes, before I even half-way finished a glass of Malbec. The order flowed, the ideas gelled. This was all back in 2009. My pianist - Wells Hanley - completed the arrangements in early 2010 and we were planning to do the show in Fall 2010. We got distracted, first with our Bistro Award winning CD project - Selecting Souvenirs. Then a German tour of A Christmas Carol for me. And then a personal health crisis in 2011 also delayed the show. We got delayed yet again in 2012 with promoting the CD and with my last show, No Expectations, which we put together to make my debut at The Metropolitan Room.
All of this being said - the gods have led me to now - and now is the time to share all of this.
5. Proceeds from your October shows are going towards The Matthew Shepard Foundation. What made you want to partner with them out of all the G/L/B/T charities out there? Like so many, what is your personal connection to Matthew's story? I am haunted by Matthew Shepard! That could’ve been me...I am reading Judy Shepard’s book The Meaning of Matthew as I continue to work on the show. I am struck by how Matthew and I seem to have very similar spirits. Mrs. Shepard has been such a strong influence for getting hate crimes on the agenda and passed into law. In the current societal climate, there is still a lot of hate being dished out onto gay, lesbian and transgender folks, and other hate crimes based on race and other issues, that it is important that organizations like The Matthew Shepard Foundation receive support as they continue their courageous journey of trying to "Erase Hate." I want to give something back to the folks that are fighting on my behalf for the world to be a better place. The 12th of October marks the 15th anniversary of Matthew’s death.
6. Someone is playing at the Metropolitan Room. What do you enjoy most about singing at this venue? What does it offer that another venue might not? It just feels so good to be on that stage and singing there. It is that simple! The managing partner at the club, Bernie Furshpan, talks about it being a family, and indeed, it does feel that way! There is space all around. The piano is great. The vibe of the place just puts me at ease. The candles burning on the tables casting prisms of light - I love being in that room, seeing shows there, and feeling like I am part of the family. On another level, it provides some "clout!" When folks hear that you are performing at The Metropolitan Room, they are excited! They are more interested in coming to the show. And they have really good wine!
7. You are a Bistro Award winner and a MAC nominee. What does it mean to you to get this recognition for your work? Winning that Bistro Award meant a lot to me. And to Wells. We share that award equally! I like that the Bistro Awards are not a competition. When an artist does great work, that work can be recognized, without the cut throat world of being up against another artist. That project - Selecting Souvenirs - was a true conversation between singer and pianist, listening and responding to each other inspired both of us to just be free and make music. We were thrilled and honored to receive it. Wells is one of the most brilliant pianists on the scene today. Winning the award got his name in front of people. His arrangements are stellar and the world at large needs to hear them!
The MAC process was fun. It is just fun to participate. I was up against Karen Mack - so there was no way I was gonna win. I didn’t even write a speech! I think I may have even voted for Karen myself. She is so incredibly talented.
Seriously, though, singing is the most joyful way that I can express all of the huge emotions that I constantly feel. I have learned to be a man who is honest and vulnerable and willing to take chances! Singing makes me free! Because I can sing, I have had the opportunity to see the world, literally. Over 40 countries. All of those memories bring joy to me. Seeing the world has changed the way I go through life. When you see a family of 6 or 7+ living in a one room shack in Guatemala, or see the way the Russian Tzars lived, or see the sun shine in Tuscany, you cannot help but see and feel life differently. I have learned that I like to be free and that I like to share what is going on inside my heart. I have learned to care, about life, about other people, about the world!
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? In college - I had a substitute teacher for a few weeks in my Speech for the Stage class - an 82 year old man (Michael, I cannot for the life of me, remember his last name) who had experienced just about everything there is to experience in life - professionally and personally. He was more than willing to share what he knew with me and anyone else who would listen to an old man’s ramblings, as he called them. He spent a lot of extra time with me working on my Shakespeare monologue from Richard II - "Oh, I have passed a miserable night..." In the middle of one of these extra sessions - He imparted this..."Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth!" In other words - Listen! Don’t talk, Listen to what is being said to you, without the need to speak back, or defend yourself. Listen to the voice of experience and learn from it. It doesn’t negate your own thoughts and opinions, it just opens you up to make a well informed decision. Listen to your teachers, Listen to your fellow actors, Listen to your friends, Listen to people as you go through life.
Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth...
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Well - I’ve have always wanted to be Robin! Working along side Batman and getting rid of the bad guys! Driving around in that car, and spending fabulous nights in the Bat Cave would be really awesome! But, did Robin even have a super power?! I guess his super power would be Batman!
Hmmmm...Being able to fly like "Angel" from the X Men.
That being said, I think we singers - each one of us - have a super power! The ability to heal and create a place where folks can forget, for an hour or two, about what is troubling them. We can transport them to some place beautiful and peaceful with our voices, our hearts and our souls. Truly, whether we are singing a toe tapping uptune, or the most haunting ballad, we can bring joy to people. Janis Ian has a whole "speech" about it being a privilege to sing for the audience. I feel the same way...
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? XXX - Censored! Though - for the PG version - Sleep til 11am - get up and make a pot of Pumpkin Spice or Hazelnut coffee. Lounge for awhile drinking said pot of coffee. Watch some TV. Read a book. Go for a walk in Nature in Central Park or Inwood Park. Happy Hour margaritas (Watermelon) at Arriba Arriba. Dinner at Arriba Arriba - Budin de Tortilla. Home to watch one of the Dance shows. I would be a happy camper at the end of that day, and I would sleep like a dream!
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga. Walking through Central Park. One of these days, I will reinvestigate my love of tennis. I used to play the Junior Circuit in Washington, DC when I was a kid. I miss getting all my aggression out by slamming away at a tennis ball. Also - I will be re-joining a gym very soon. I do actually enjoy working out.
13. Boxers or Briefs? Commando!!! Though - on days when I must - Briefs!!! Brand - Jack Jones - the best underwear in the world!!! I got lots of them when I was on tour in Germany and Holland! They fit like a glove and are outrageously colorful!!! What better support could one need to go through the world?! :)
Parker's performances recall the elegance of the Golden Age of Cabaret at such venues as The Persian Room and The Maisonette, where audiences could experience an evening of elegance, sophistication and beautifully interpreted songs. His passionate singing will transport the audience to a place where life is free of hate and full of love and just might inspire some to go out and try to help change the world to that hopeful place. Parker has been a MAC Award nominee, and his first collaboration with Wells - Selecting Souvenirs - resulted in a Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording of the Year. The series of shows promoting the CD thrilled audiences and critics alike with honest, personal and heartfelt interpretations of songs from the Great American Songbook. He possesses a voice critics have hailed, as "seductive," "velvety," "sexy," "glorious" and "hauntingly beautiful."
Parker’s nightclub appearances include engagements at The Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, Danny’s, Eighty-Eights, and Somethin’ Jazz Club. He was the lead male vocalist aboard The Silver Whisper and sailed to 38 countries, along the way also giving performances in Camogli, Italy and St. Petersburg, Russia. He played the title role in Bring Me John Denver (directed by Judy Norton of The Waltons fame) at the Granbury Opera House in Texas, where he delighted audiences and critics in a concert of Denver songs.