Singer and songwriter Jalen Parker joins us on Close-up Culture to chat about his music, an upcoming EP, appearing on Dance Moms, and much more.
Q: You’ve put out singles ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Mrs. Independent’ in recent weeks. Can you tell us about the songs and what they are about?
A: The song Jennifer is about showing interest in someone else, but still having feelings for the last female you were with. That distraction from the past that there’s no longer hope for, it clouds your feelings for the new person that’s now present in your life, and stops you from moving on.
Mrs. Independent is about realising women don’t need men. In the song, I realise that at the end of the day, females don’t need men, and they never have. Women are just as strong, if not stronger, and more independent on their own than they are in a relationship.
Q: You’ve teased your upcoming EP on social media. What can we expect from it?
A: You can expect truthful music that comes from the heart. My EP is called ERA, and it’s about trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. Once you’ve learned from your mistakes and faults, you realise you don’t have to carry it with you anymore and that a new era has begun. Which means new goals, new friends, new lessons, and new priorities.
Q: I understand you write and produce all your own music and music videos. How much do you enjoy being hands on and involved in every part of a project?
A: Being hands-on with every project is something every artist should experience. It helps you focus on your personal feelings and creativity. It also allows you to fully embrace your vision of your music and your music videos. I highly recommend being hands-on every project you’re a part of.
Q: What is your creative process like? Do things come to you immediately or do you have to seek out inspiration?
A: It’s very rare that I have to search for inspiration. 9 times out of 10 inspiration is always right in front of me, rather it’s a situation, or a friend’s story, or a movie you just watched. Everything plays a part in your creativity, you just have to use them to your advantage.
Q: Who is top of your list to collaborate with in the future?
A: I have so many people I would love to collaborate with, but to just name a few: Beyoncé, H.E.R, Bryson Tiller, Chris Brown, Trevor Jackson, Rihanna, Usher, Jhene Aiko, and the list goes on.
Q: You’ve been on the set of ‘Better Things’, ‘Dance Moms’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’. What did you take away from those experiences? Any stories to share?
A: As far as a story, I remember doing a Trio with my friend Nia Sioux, and Simeon Johnson on Dance Moms. We were going head to head with Jojo, Kendall, and Kalani. Jojo and Kendall watched us rehearse a few times and said that there was no way we were going to beat them with how we were looking. Next thing you know, WE GOT FIRST PLACE, haha!
Q: How do you stay humble and grounded?
A: Being humble requires you to know your gifts, but to always be willing to learn. As for staying grounded, prayer. God is your best friend and will be there longer than any of your friends and family. When in doubt, pray it out.