After a successful career with R&B group 112, Atlanta's Q Parker is branching out and stepping into a solo career. In the midst of working on his solo debut, writing, and collaborating with many of the music industry's best producers, Parker isn't holding anything back this go-round.
Recently, we had a chance to chat with Q about his new single "Show You How", why he's giving the ladies what they want, and how he appreciates his time with 112, but thinks it's time for something new!
AllHipHop.com: You've got the new single. "Show You How". What's happening with that? This is your first project, though?
Q Parker: Yeah, this is my first solo record. The title of it is called The MANual, the lead single is "Show You How". We're moving up the charts. We just shot the video a week and a half ago in New York. The leading lady was played by Olivia, and the "other guy" in the video was Willie from Day 26...shot by G Visuals and Randy from the Fat Cats in Brooklyn and Times Square. I'm just excited with the response that I've been getting over the blogs, and just from the programmers, man, it's just really been a great response, so I'm just grinding it out. I'm from the Old School where we actually get out there and roll the sleeves up and do a lot of the leg work ourselves. Just on the campaign, trying to build awareness, and get the most that we can get out of the record.
AllHipHop.com: Right, is it totally independent? Is this your label?
Q Parker: The way I did it, I have a unique set up. I signed myself to my production company, New Fam Entertainment, and I took my company and did a partnership with Malaco Records. And Malaco is an independent, but they operate as a major, with all the staffing machine and everything. Ideally, it was the best situation for me. For somebody that's been in the game for almost 15 years, I surely did not want to go back into the major sifting. I would have if that was the last resort, but I wasn't really in favor of the 360 deals and the kind of deals they're really giving artists these days. The fact that I was able to do this partnership, it's a whole new respect for it, because not only am I sitting across the table as an artist, but I'm a business partner. I get to make a lot of the decisions. We colloborate on certain decisions. It's just a good look for me and my company.
AllHipHop.com: It must be something about New York that made you come here and shoot the video.
Q Parker: Well, of course you know how the process goes. When you pick up the phone, and you send it out to all the directors, and they draw up the treatment and we'll exchange ideas, and we were talking about it, it just made more sense for us to go back up to New York. What was so crazy about the video - my very first video that I've ever been to was the Faith Evans and B.I.G. "One More Chance" Remix, which was shot in Brooklyn. My video was shot in Brooklyn. And the very first video that I was a part of which was the "Only You" Remix with B.I.G. and Mase and Puff and all that, it was in Times Square. I have a scene in my video that's in Times Square. It was the perfect place to do the video. Plus, Olivia is in New York. It just made the most sense. Take the whole thing up to New York. The video is crazy. I can't wait for it to be released.
AllHipHop.com: Did that bring back memories from the Bad Boy days?
Q Parker: Aww man, it reminded me so much of the Bad Boy days. Being in Times Square, it's almost like we were on the same block that we were on when we did the "Only You" video, and I could just see Big, Mase, and Puff, and the other guys, and Total. Faith came down. It was very nostalgic. But it just kind of gave me a sense of "Okay, you know what? It's official. I'm officially doing this as a solo artist!" And it's just amazing, man, I'm enjoying the ride.
AllHipHop.com: So, you like being solo more than in a group like with 112?
Q Parker: It's not so much of if I like one more than the other, because those are my guys. We came into this game together in high school. Don't get me wrong, I love performing with my guys. I love sharing this whole movement and everything that we've shared. I will tell you this. As a solo artist, I'm a competitor, and I love challenges, and being a solo artist has brought to me a lot of different challenges that I'm looking forward to overcoming. I'm looking forward to seeing how far and how well I'm going to be able to take this solo mission, but I enjoy being in the spotlight. I enjoy allowing people to get to know who Q Parker is, and not just Q from 112. Being able to just share my story, and my whole journey going from a member of a successful group as 112, to now being a solo artist.
AllHipHop.com: What's so special about now, compared to a 2007, or 2008? Why 2012?
Q Parker: It's just timing. I started this whole solo mission in 2010. I've been going through so many meetings with different labels, and they're saying, "I like what you're doing, man, but what about 112?" or "Here's a deal that we want to present to you," and me not feeling like it's what I rightfully deserve. The timing was just perfect. I say that because the president of Malaco, Lionel Ridenour, and Lionel was an executive at Arista, and when we were signed to Arista, it was distributed through Arista, so we have a relationship. He knows me. He knows what I'm about. I know who he is. I know what he's about. He knows my work ethic. I know his. It's just like the perfect timing. I say this everybody. Had I come out when I thought I was ready, it wouldn't of been right. The fact that I had to utilize and exercise patience, it ended up turning out in my favor because, I got the best deal that I know was out there for me, and it's a great partnership with Malaco and I do believe that 2012 was the perfect timing for me and I'm starting to see the results of my patience now.
AllHipHop.com: Why'd you decide to call the album, The MANual? Is this our definitive guide to being a man?
Q Parker: There you go! If you notice, the way we spelled it - we capitalized 'MAN' and lowercased 'ual.' The reason behind that is, you guys have watched us grow up. We started at 15 years old. You watched us grow from teenagers to men. Well, I felt like, as a solo artist, I needed for everybody to get to know who Q Parker, the man, was. Not Q Parker from 112. Just how I've matured as an artist, as a songwriter, as a performer, producer, and as a man in general. And really let you guys in on who that person is. A lot of the music I wrote, so I'm letting you in on who I am. Then you add the other part to it, to make it 'MANual'.
I just feel like my music is a how-to guide to women. I feel like women need to know that chivalry ain't dead, and there are still some gentlemen out here, that there is a correct way that a woman should be treated. And again, this is just my opinion on how I feel like a woman should be treated, and I want to let these women know that there's a way that you should make these guys treat you. Case and point, my first single is entitled "Show You How", and it's just my take on being the man on the outside witnessing a friend of yours, whether it be a girl, or from a girl's perspective, her watching a male friend of hers being in a relationship and just settle. A couple of the lines in the song say, "It's a shame that you settle for less," and if given a chance, I can really show you how to be loved. There's a right way to be loved, and how to be treated. It's definitely in my opinion, a how-to guide, like a manual.
AllHipHop.com: I guess that's your Southern hospitality coming out?
Q Parker: Of course, I'm an ATL-born, bred, Southern gentlemen. I'm a romantic at heart, and I make my music for women, and I believe that women need a go-to-guy. They need a guy, a male artist, that's making music for them. Forget trying to be in the club, forget trying to pop bottles, but just really sing and croon, for the women. They're lacking that. Too many times, as R&B artists, our main focus is what's going on the other side within the Hip-Hop industry. We have to go get this rapper and be in the club, put them up in the VIP and all that kind of stuff, whereas, we're leaving these women still wanting more from male artists. I took all that into consideration and I said, "You know what? I'm going to be their go-to-guy." When they hear my records, they know it's going to be designed specifically for them.
AllHipHop.com: Are you working with any of the producers in Atlanta? Tank?
Q Parker: Some of the producers that are on the album are Chuck Harmony, who did a lot of the Ne-Yo, Chrisette Michelle records, Ivan and Carvin out of Philadelphia, they did a lot of the Jaheim, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild. I had Warren Campbell, who's married to Erica of Mary Mary; he's a great producer, won Grammys and all those other things. I need to just write a list, because every time I answer this question, I forget. J Q, Kedrick D, Cristyle Crystal Johnson.
As it relates to collaborations, I wanted to keep that limited, because as a solo artist, especially coming from a group, I wanted everybody to really be able to digest Q Parker and not be dumbed down because there's too many features. A lot of times when artists have so many features on their album, it negates their ability to shine, or have the focus solely on them. I opted to just only have two features. I have one with my sister, Faith Evans. I have an interlude with Crystal Johnson, and I'm working on the last record on the album, a duet with Willie from Day 26. I may do a remix or something like that, but as far as the original versions on the album, there will just only be those.
AllHipHop.com: We actually had a chance to speak with Slim a few weeks ago, and Dawn Richard from Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money. We always ask how's life after Bad Boy, or life after Diddy. Some folks sign, and then they leave the label, or they're dropped from the label, and we never hear from them again. For you, how is life after Bad Boy?
Q Parker: Life after Bad Boy was an introduction to Def Jam. We still released two records on Def Jam. Even after Def Jam and even being Q Parker, life after Diddy, I respect him, and I'll always credit him and be indebted to him for the simple fact that he gave me and my group an opportunity. Four boys from the projects of Atlanta that just wanted to fulfill their dream. He gave us an opportunity. I can say that I learned a lot just being on Bad Boy, and I say that whether it's the result of something positive or something negative. I just learned a lot.
Me as a businessman, the things I went through at Bad Boy, it prepared me to be in the position that I'm in right now. Being the owner of my own production company. Doing a partnership with a major label such as Malaco. At the end of the day, I would just say it prepared me for what I'm going through now, because dealing with Puffy ain't a piece of cake. It has its moments, and we had plenty of them doing three albums and selling a whole lot of records. But at the end of the day life after Puffy really just prepared me. I learned, and I matured. I matured as a businessman and I matured as a recording artist. If you can survive Diddy School, yo, you're ready for it!
AllHipHop.com: We spoke to Slim, and he gave us no hope for a 112 reunion. You got some hope for us?
Q Parker: Well, I look at this way. We're all currently doing our own individual things, but there has been talks amongst the four of us about possibly doing some overseas dates. That's a start. It starts there. It may trinkle over to the U.S, and who knows? From that, we may do another album. I don't know anybody in their right mind that can just say there will 'never,' and use the word so strongly and say 'never,' because I just don't believe that. I believe that in the right timing, and in the right situation, and if we're all in like-mind, and like-spirit and everything, and one accord, there can be another 112 album. You'll never hear me say never. I'll never close that door because that's our brand. We worked too hard for that brand to just say...never.
AllHipHop.com: When can expect Q Parker's The MANual?
Q Parker:The MANual will have a summer release.
AllHipHop.com: Any more singles on the way?
Q Parker: Definitely! Right now, we're still working the lead single "Show You How". My mission is to at least release about two to three singles before the album is released, because I really want people to know that they're going to get their monies worth. Too often, we spend $15, and the album isn't worth it, because there's only maybe one or two songs on there that you like. I believe that if I release solid enough singles, that will give people the mindset to believe, "You know what? It's worth me spending my hard earned money to go and buy this album."
AllHipHop.com: Anything the people need to know?
Q Parker: Follow me on Twitter (@QParker112), Facebook is QParkMusic. My YouTube channel is QParkerSings. I have a fitness calendar out right now. It's QParkerFitnessCalendar.com and I encourage everybody out there to go out and get it. It's not just eye candy for the ladies, but it's some great nutritional facts in there, some great tools that can aid everybody into becoming more health conscious. Partial proceeds of the calendar go towards the American Cancer Society. It's for a great cause. Definitely get one of those as well.