It takes more than talent to write and co-produce songs like these. It also requires determination and solid grounding in both art and life. Parker epitomizes this rare blend. Growing up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he was passionate initially about sports. His musical gifts were also evident, even motivating his chorus teacher to recommend him as a potential national anthem singer for the Sun Bowl.
“Music was engrained in me from the start,” he says. “I remember when my cousins and I would get together, they’d roughhouse and play together while I’d be off writing songs with my guitar. Even then, I was thrilled to be able to express myself that way. It was always my outlet.”
Though he loved music and the creative outlet it provided, he hadn’t seen it as his destiny until a typical day of baseball practice at Phoenix College. From the outfield, one of his teammates heard him and yelled, “If I had a voice like yours, I wouldn’t be playing baseball.”
The seed was planted and at age 18, he enrolled in the Los Angeles vocal camp Vocalize You, where he took lessons with David Stroud, vocal coach to Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Martina McBride, One Direction and other superstars. In 2017, he flew to Nashville to attend Backstage Pass, an artist development program for recording artists, at PCG Universal.
At the time, Parker was majoring in agricultural business at Arizona State University, working at a bar near the campus in Tempe and helping out at his family’s New Mexico farm. Still he found time for frequent trips to Nashville, where he trained with the industry’s top coaches through an intense development program at PCG Universal.
By this time Parker was already sculpting his own sound, drawing from a multitude of influences including Justin Timberlake, OneRepublic, Coldplay and John Mayer. “Bands like Coldplay inspired me because they’re always changing,” he points out. “They never stick to what they’ve done before. Ed Sheeran is the same way. That’s how I see myself: I need to take risks in my music.”
Through PCG, he established relationships that would serve him as a writer and in the studio. Two of these, Harrison Boyd and Charles Harke of Shark Productions, co-produced “Keep In Touch” with Parker at their Nashville studio, Shark’s Place.
“I had a tendency to write sad, acoustic, guitar-based love songs,” Parker says. “Harrison and Charles helped broaden me musically. They came up with the song’s incredible beats and we emerged with the catchiest song out of all the material I’d ever written.”
“Worth It” followed in the wake of a conversation between Harrison and Parker. “The night before I was lying in bed, waiting to go to sleep and thinking about things I might have said in relationships I’ve had,” he remembers. “For some reason I got up and wrote down the words ‘worth it.’ The next day I mentioned this to Harrison and between us the song just came out.”
Working with Harrison, Charles and Grammy award-winning producer/songwriter, Keith Thomas, he wrapped up his debut album…an album sure to establish Parker Layton as one of this year’s most promising singer/songwriter/entertainers fully equipped to achieve his dreams.