By// Kimberley Bainbridge
Slim, Daron, Mike and Q of the R&B quartet 112 set the game on fire when their up-tempo first single Only You, featuring the Notorious B.I.G., dropped in 1996. For over a decade, they toured the world and racked up Grammys with classic chart toppers like Cupid, Peaches and Cream and I’ll Be Missing You. JETmag.com sat down with the popular boy band’s Parker during a stop in Chicago to promote his upcoming debut solo album The MANual.
Despite 17 years on top in the music biz, the handsome Parker, was modest while at the same time confident.
“I have a studio in my home,” he began. “And as I wrote songs, I would demo them myself to shop them to other artists. But while I was recording, I’d sometimes say, man this song sounds kinda good and just push it to the side for me.”
Parker started writing songs for 112 and other artists — from Keyshia Cole to Chris Brown — as early as 1999, when the group’s smash, Anywhere, hit. It was not until returning from his group’s 2011 UK to Australia tour, that he began truly crafting The MANual.
- Has been happily married for 10 years
- Has two children
- Says sweet potato pie is his guilty pleasure
- Prefers boxers to briefs
- Says undone feet are his pet peeve
- Is a reality TV show junkie who loves The Housewives, Braxton Family Values and Love and Hip Hop
- Maintains his celebrity crush has always been Sanaa Lathan
“Once I felt I had the foundation for the album, I went out and got other songwriters and producers who could just add a little more versatility, other perspectives,” he says.
The R&B vet then contracted a small army of creatives, including JQ Smith, Crystal Johnson and his long-time collaborator, Chuck Harmony, to help him perfect his musical guide to treating women right. But, he was consciously choosy when selecting feature artists for the record.
“Sometimes when an artist has too many features, it takes shine away from him,” Parker says. “I really wanted you guys to get to know me vocally, as a songwriter and a producer.”
For now, the album is set for a summer release. Meanwhile, Parker’s first single Show You How is building radio play.
The self-proclaimed health nut is also executing major plays in other arenas. His second annual fitness calendar in support of the American Cancer Society is doing well, and the reality-TV junkie even divulged that he would be auditioning for acting roles in the next few months.
“We entertainers always have other interests,” he says. “Athletes want to be singers. Singers want to be actors. But we all have a mutual respect. And you will definitely be seeing me on the TV screen.”
Before that, though, Atlanta women answering JET’s open call for the next Beauty of the Week today, will get to see the star up close and personal — he takes on the role of celebrity guest judge for the competition