Christine Parker was raised in Southern California and began playing piano at the early age of 4 when her parents noticed her affinity for all things music. She fell in love with songwriting as a teenager after composing her first song on the guitar, and continued to write and play music as she pursued education and a career in psychology.
After realizing music and songwriting needed to become more center stage, Parker began playing venues while living in the Midwest. Drawing on such musical influences as Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and Brandi Carlile, Parker won over crowds with her pure and soulful vocals and engaging lyrics. Her self-released debut EP, “The Journey Home,” was released in January 2012. Parker relocated back to Southern California in 2013 to focus on her music career, and the result was a full-length studio album, “Looking Glass,” produced by Marti Amado, released in October, 2013.
Since then, Parker has focused heavily on songwriting and performing while also releasing a series of singles and live music videos. Her songwriting has also earned her several placements with various companies and TV networks including TLC, HBO, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Mitsubishi Taiwan. In 2015, Parker also landed an endorsement with Breedlove Guitars. We recently had the pleasure to sit down for a conversation with Christine to chat about her new album, video creation and the song writing process.
Breedlove: Hi, Christine. Thank you for taking a few minutes to chat with us at Breedlove Guitars. Are you on tour right now or at home? And, tell us a little about the music you’ve been playing?
Christine: Right now I'm home. I’m based in San Diego, which is where I grew up. Stylistically, I’m really a singer-songwriter. The genre is acoustic / pop.
Breedlove: How long have you been playing music?
Christine: Oh gosh, forever. My parents started me on my piano when I was four and then in high school I picked up the guitar and just kind of taught myself. It's always been a part of my life.
Breedlove: In the video Riches (above), you're playing a number of different instruments. Looks like you're playing the ukulele, guitar, playing percussion on the hand drum and singing. I realized that you have quite a bit of depth to your musical abilities. How many instruments do you play?
Christine: Let's see, ukulele, guitar and piano are kind of the ones I've played for the longest. And I also play percussion.
Breedlove: That video starts out with you playing three instruments and singing. It got me thinking; when you're composing, or when you're recording, how does that process unfold for you? Do you start with percussion? Do you start with guitar? How does that work from a workflow standpoint?
Christine: It's usually starts with guitar. Rhythm guitar is the foundation for me and is where my songs normally start. I’ll find a chord progression I like and then start finding a vocal melody. Once I get something kind of developed I might track it and then throw in some harmonies and stuff. That's kind of what we did with that video. We did the guitar and vocals first, and then we overdubbed the ukulele and the djembe, and then all the vocal harmonies.
We definitely didn't realize how long it was going to take. We both liked the idea and thought it could turn out really cool and wanted to try it. I think we started at 6:00 pm and we thought it would maybe take us til 10:00, but we were up till like 4 in the morning and it was crazy.
Breedlove: It was really nice. The lighting was nice and the whole production was great. It sounds awesome, so well done!
Christine: Thank you.
Breedlove: Tell us, what is the name of your new album? And, when did you release it?
Christine: It’s called Between You & Me and we released it about five months ago.
Christine: It was produced by Masen Larsen. We had done a few videos prior to that, as well, so we already kind of had a pretty good working rapport.
It was kind of an interesting project because he's based in Austin now. He used to live here in San Diego, but then relocated right after we finished those videos. We started working remotely in our own home studios and would send sessions back and forth via email and dropbox. We would produce and record and produce and record until we were both happy with an arrangement. Then we did the same thing for the mixes. He’d send me a version of a mix for a track and I'd reply with, "I love this reverb here. Can you tone down this effect here?" I'd send it away and he'd send me back another version. We just kept working like that until we both had something that we were really happy with.
Breedlove: What's the name of the new album?
Christine: It's called Between You And Me.
Breedlove: Tell me a little bit about your writing process. I've spoken to a number of artists and it seems like they’ll have a tune that kind of sticks with them or something that they pick up on the guitar that they like that they develop. What's your creative song writing process look like?
Christine: I feel like every song has kind of been birthed differently, you know? As a whole I would say for me the music usually comes first. Like a melody or a hook or something instrumentally will come and maybe a little phrase of a lyric might happen. For me, I think the hardest part for me is always the lyrics. That's the part that takes work for me. The music kind of just comes and then I figure out what I want to say.
Breedlove: Do you compose primarily on piano and then kind of fill it in with different instruments or do you compose more with your guitar or does that vary, as well?
Christine: No, it's definitely more on guitar. I've tried, since this album release, actually, to be a little more intentional about sitting down at the piano and trying to compose from there, as well, just to switch it up. But because I play live with my guitar mostly that's really where the composing starts.
Breedlove: For people interested in hearing your music – where should they go?
Christine: They can head over to my website at christineparkermusic.com - it's got all my albums right there for listening - and I’m also on Spotify.
Breedlove: Okay, well thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me. I really appreciate it.
Christine: No worries. Thanks for listening!