R&B is getting an additional push from one of our faves who has definitely been there to do it already. Q. Parker, from famed group 112, has set his eyes on solo success and delivers his new album ‘The MANual’ on October 30th. RoJay spoke with the established singer/songwriter about his new project, standing on his own and more. Check it out.
RoJay: Let’s talk about this music you have coming for us? What was the process for you like coming from a group situation and doing a solo project?
Q. Parker: The major difference is the obvious. Me being alone and solo as opposed to me being a member of a group and I would go in and sing my part when the time came and then tag the next man and he would go in and sing. Now everything falls on me and my responsibility. It has allowed me to grow and I learned a lot of things about myself in the past two years while recording this album. I think when we do decide to get back together and do another 112 group album; I’m a better group member now because of my growth during this whole solo process.
RoJay: Yea, because you started out young with the group. Did you even have a chance to figure out who you were as an artist so young and being in a group?
Q. Parker: Right. We were kind of like thrust into it and I was learning as we went along. Like on the job training. We’ve grown a lot in this industry and it’s propelled me to the decisions to do the solo album.
RoJay: So did the solo idea come about because the group was not currently active or you really had so much on your heart and felt the need to get it out on wax?
Q. Parker: It’s kind of both. When we decided to kind of pause for a second it allowed everybody the chance to explore their individuality. As a songwriter I demo’d the male records that I would write and as I would demo these songs one ended up becoming four which ultimately became the foundation for ‘The MANual’.
RoJay: The title alone is interesting. Very unique. Let me know the premise behind the title.
Q. Parker: It’s titled ‘The MANual’ and it’s not necessarily Q from 112, but a man that has grown up and gone through some stuff and has grown man responsibilities and grown man views and one of the views I have is that I think women should be treated a certain way. Respected, loved, talked to, held, nurtured, made love to… all of these things are how I feel and what better way to express my opinion and my stance on certain issues than through my music?
RoJay: Definitely feel you on that. I checked out the single ‘Yes’ and I must say you sound real good on that track. It’s that grown and sexy type track…
Q. Parker: There it is.
RoJay: Oh yea. On point. How do you do a sexual record without it sounding too immature?
Q. Parker: One of the things that you cannot deny is that I want a product that firstly I am proud of and also an album that women and these ladies out here and feel like someone understands them and actually gets them. In doing this album, it dawned on me that sex and being sensual and being sexual is a part of our culture. It’s a way of life and it’s simply about how you choose to talk about it and sing about it. One thing that 112 has always been good at was talking about the dirtiest things but sing it in a slick voice so that it won’t come off as offensive. I was a very important part of the songwriting for the 112 records so when I decided to do ‘Yes’ I knew that I wanted to talk about something sexual, but I’m in control of the words I put together so that it’s not offensive to anybody and anybody can explore their sensuality and sexuality when they listen to the song and not feel cheap, dirty or feel like they’ve been disrespected.
RoJay: Do you think that we have gotten to that point with music now? Where it is overly sexual and not so sensual as much?
Q. Parker: I think that kind of depends on the individual and where they are in their life. The life that I live, I won’t be the one saying anything aggressively to a woman. I choose to be respectful and more subtle route. My music is an extension of me so if I wouldn’t do it in my regular life then I wouldn’t sing about it.
RoJay: I hear that. Now tell me a little bit about the process for making this album. Did you totally depend on yourself or was this a chance for you to reach out to some of your industry friends? Who did you link up with?
Q. Parker: I was able to get on board with some great Grammy Award Winning producers… Carvin and Ivan. Warren Campbell, Kendrick Dean and The CornaBoyz. I have a duet with Faith Evans on the album and a duet with Styles P on the album. One thing I am big on is relationships and the fact that I could call these friends and let them know I am working on an album and they give me good prices and good rates and we were able to go in and just be musical and do what it is that we’ve all been doing for years.
RoJay: That’s the best feeling ever. What would you say is the most personal track on ‘The MANual’?
Q. Parker: That’s a tough one. They all kind of assume that role because they all came from me so they are all important. They’re all special. If I had to choose one record that just kind of sums up the album it would be the first single ‘Show You How’. That was saying as a man, I’m here. I’m listening to you. I hear your complaints and what you desire and give me a chance and I’ll show you how. To say to women don’t settle for less. You have to be stern on what you want and you definitely don’t have to settle. That’s basically what that song is talking about and it’s special because that’s the first time the public was able to hear me as an individual and not as a group member from 112.
RoJay: Speaking of being the individual now… when you performed with your group there were three other bodies to look at, now it’s solely you! Does that put pressure on you?
Q. Parker: I’m not doing anything different then I was doing in 112 and being Q from 112 because I’m always gon work out and I’m always gon sing how I sing. Like I said earlier, the only difference now is that it’s all me. It’s just all Q. Parker now and if you ask my mom she’ll tell you that I always loved attention so I’m not complaining.
RoJay: Can’t be mad at that. How was your chemistry with Faith on the record you two did together?
Q. Parker: Man. It’s like sister and brother. I go way back with Faith and it was just simple. I called her and said ‘Yo, I need you on this record’ and she said ‘Send it to me or come out here’ and that’s what I did. I went out to LA and recorded her part and it was that simple.
RoJay: How do you feel about working a record in this era where you have to have so much more going on then you did back in the day? Like you could drop a record when you came out and be straight, whereas today you gotta have reality shows and hosting gigs, movies and more to go along with your music. What is your approach to make things happen?
Q. Parker: My approach is just getting it out there to everybody. I want everybody to know about ‘The MANual’. I want everybody to know where to get it from so I’m on like a 30 city promo run where I’m shaking hands, kissing babies… just really building the awareness where in the next few months I hope Q. Parker will be a household name, sitting on the charts consistently and touring regularly to build onto the fan base that I already have from 112 and the new fans.
RoJay: And what would be your dream tour?
Q. Parker: Hmmm. You know what? Anything that’s gonna help propel the R&B genre. Everybody is talking about how R&B is not doing what it is supposed to do or be where it is supposed to be. I think one way to change that is that you have to start seeing more R&B artists support each other. Personally, I can’t just pin point exact artists here and there but as long as it helps build up the whole genre of R&B then I’m down for it.
RoJay: Speaking on support, what has been your top three favorite R&B albums released this year so far?
Q. Parker: I love the Elle Varner album. Just got my Brandy album today and Tyrese’s album ‘Open Invitation’.
RoJay: Dope. Well we look forward to adding your project to the list of favorites. We are suckas for R&B over here on MCP so trust me when I say we are ready to check you out and support.
Q. Parker: That’s what’s up.
RoJay: And just on a side note as far as your group I have to let you know my all-time favorite records from 112 is ‘U Already Know’, ‘It’s Over Now’ and ‘Like I Did’. I go hard for those records among most of the others.
Q. Parker: I appreciate that.
RoJay: No doubt! And holla at me if you need anything. We got you.
Q. Parker: My man. I appreciate you. Thank you.