Parker Graye is a ball of excitement and so full of life! You can hear the passion in her voice every time she talks about music. It's so refreshing to see someone so passionate and in love with what she's doing. This Canadian is doing big things already. With three singles out, she has found her voice and is digging into her roots growing up on Country Music. I sat down with Parker and we talked about her transition from Electronic and Pop music to Country, how she was competitive in Snowboarding and her single "Last Time".
Get To Know Parker
"I'm from a town just outside of Toronto called Orillia. I'm now in Vancouver and have been here for about 11 years. I grew up participating in my school talent shows and plays. I was always performing or playing sports and felt like I was always on a stage to some degree. I loved the energy and that dump of dopamine you get from performing. I didn't know what my future would look like. At the time, the only path to being an artist was through American Idol, Canadian Idol or having the right connections. I tried Canadian Idol. It was so funny because the audition was me and six other people in a random room and the girl that couldn't sing got put through. That's not me being salty; the guy before me sounded like Chris Stapleton and was phenomenal and he didn't make it either. So I pursued music in different ways. I started writing songs, was really big into poetry and sang all the time. I moved to Vancouver because I was competing in snowboarding and chasing snow across Canada for a while. I was a local at Banff, which is a big ski town here. Eventually I needed to get out of that so I went to Vancouver to chase my dream in music. I started in Pop-Electronic music and then went to Pop. It took me a long time to get back to my roots. I grew up on Country Music - Shania Twain, Dolly Parton and Tim McGraw. It was strange that it took me so long to get to this genre. In 2017, I was working on a Pop single and met these guys (through Instagram) who knew the producer I was working with. They wanted to write and they are in St. Louis. That was the catalyst that got me on track in Country Music. We wrote my debut single Do Over.”
A Dagger To The Heart
For me, there ain't nothing like a good, sad song. The thing that is so magical about music is it makes you feel something. For a few minutes you get to go back and relive some of your best and worst times, which make you the person you are today. "Last Time" shows you that in life, especially with relationships, everything isn't as good as it seems and that it's not always like what you see in the movies. Parker brings these lyrics to life. Honestly, each time I listen I feel like I'm frozen in time. Each verse hits me in the heart because moments of my past are brought to the surface. This song is so real, honest and tells a story... everything Country Music is all about. "Last Time" and Parker as an artist, have been shown so much love by Apple Music. Excited to see what's coming in the future for Parker Graye.
Inspiration Behind "Last Time"
Written By: Parker Graye & Luca Fogale, Produced By: Spencer Cheyne
"As I said, "Do Over", "Before You Leave" and "Last Time" are really a trilogy; about the same guy and relationship. I thought this was the guy I was going to marry. Turns out it couldn't have been further from that. He was moving back to Saskatchewan to his family farm. There was a day I knew something was up. He was talking to another girl and I told him "you are leaving tomorrow, we’re going to be long distance. Do you want to do this or not?" At that point, I should have ended it. Instead I told him this is it, no more girls, no more craziness, like the last time is the last time. I didn't understand the significance of that sentence until we broke up. A couple days later, I went over to my friend’s house. He's an incredible Folk artist and I, very emotionally, dumped every text, feeling and conversation onto him. We threw it into a google doc. This is, hands down, the most honest, real and transparent song I have ever ever ever written. Initially I didn't plan on releasing it. It was going to be a song I held close to my heart and I’d done it as therapy. But then I played it at a showcase and it was the song people obsessed over. It's out and I'm so happy."
Q & A With Parker Graye
Q: What was your "lightbulb" moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "I don't think I had one specific moment. I had multiple moments where I felt that need and desire to pursue music. I've been doing this for 10 years. I had a moment back in 2017 when I started to realize that people actually cared what I'm writing about. Sometimes when working on lyrics, I would put a timer on and go through Instagram stories and brain dump a lyric. I’d make it look cute and post on Instagram to see if people responded well and related to it. I would then put that verse or lyric into an "ideas folder" so I could see what was resonating with it. It's funny because one phrase was "do over" and people really connected to that. That was a moment I realized music was a possibility and that people do relate to what I'm saying. Honestly, a year ago I played my first showcase and I got to play a bunch of songs I wrote. It proved to me that I'm really doing this music thing and I just need to keep pushing. We have this guy who in the Country world is similar to Storme Warren. He's like the Ryan Seacrest of the country countdown here. Recently, he named me the "next big thing" on my debut single which was so cool for me."
Q: Being from Canada, what's your experience with Country Music and how it's impacted you?
A: "I mean, in Vancouver specifically, we don't have the best music scene. Unfortunately, with COVID, the country bars that do exist are now gone. In Canada we just don't have the sheer volume of bars and artists that the U.S. does. We have big artists that have come from Canada such as Brett Kissel, Dallas Smith, Robyn Ottolini who just popped off big, and Meghan Patrick and the James Barker Band. Things are starting to happen in Canada, but we just don't have the same amount of shows and festivals and venues. It's just different. It can be kind of challenging to find "your people". Luckily, with COVID I have been able to build digital relationships and write over Zoom. Going Country has changed my world in so many ways. I believe I’ve found my voice as a female artist and figuring out what I want to write about with good foundational storytelling. I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
Q: Who are some artists and songwriters that have influenced your music?
A: "I'm one of those folks who listens to just about everything. I listen to Dermot Kennedy, Caitlyn Smith, Kevin Garrett, Tyler Childers, Maren Morris, Cam, Emily Weisband. I listen to so many types of music and so many types of Country music. I have so many songs that are vastly different. Some have a Tyler Childers vibe and others are totally Kelsea Ballerini, but that's just who I am. Those artists have truly shaped how I write and how I look at my music."
Q: If you could go back 5 years what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "First, don't believe everything you think. I had a mentor once, even before I really started diving into Country Music. I knew him from before music. He ended up getting into life coaching and the first thing he told me was "don't believe everything you think". I was so confused by what he meant and I was way younger. I get so caught up in the rat race and I've had to work so hard to shut off that negative self-talk. Now his advice makes so much sense. Not all of our thoughts benefit us. There is so much fear of failure or success we think