Making a joyful sound
Between school and baseball, youth finds time for music
At 15 years old, Drew Parker spends his free time virtually hanging out with friends on MySpace or riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes near his home in Newton County. The trouble for Drew is finding the free time for such pleasures. Drew has to balance not only classes at Alcovy High School, homework, and baseball practice, but also his budding career as a Christian singer.
“It’s a struggle sometimes,” Drew said of his hectic schedule.
Drew was raised attending Stewart Baptist Church with his parents Scott and Kerri Parker and brother Dillon. From a young age, his family could see Drew had a natural gift.
“I thought he was good at age 3, but probably when he was about 10 is when I really knew that he had the love for music and really acted like he enjoyed it and knew that’s what he wanted to do,” Kerri said.
Drew does not really remember those earliest years on the stage, but he can recall making the decision to pursue music as an artist.
“Most people told me I was good and I just felt like I should take it to the next step,” Drew said.
That next step meant touring the state while producing three solo CDs. The success does not seem to have fazed Drew though. He modestly gives credit for much of his success to his parents, grandparents Lynward Thompson, Lynn Thompson, Joe Parker and Elizabeth Parker, as well as friends including David Long, Keith Broach, David Phellps and John Johnson.
Johnson’s company Johnson Brothers Recording Studio has produced Drew’s CDs.
“What we do is, the guy who owns the studio, John, will write what’s called your tabs out,” Drew said. “And then they will pick it up and start playing. And if you want something changed, they will do whatever you need.”
Once the band has been recorded, Drew sings over the recording for the CD. The success of those CDs has led to weekly appearances on radio stations out of Jackson and Byron. Drew has also appeared on the television show North Georgia Gospel.
In September Drew will perform at High Point Baptist Church in Covington and at Sewell Methodist Church in Morgan County.
He said most of his performances are during the weekend, which allows him to spend the week at school.
“I try to get all my homework done in school; that way when I get home, I still have my free time,” Drew said.
He also plays second base, outfield and pitches for the Alcovy JV team on weeknights. While he would love to play baseball in college, Drew’s main goal is to attend a school that can further his musical career. He is currently eyeing either Liberty University in Virginia or the School of Music at Belmont University in Nashville. Country and bluegrass superstar Trisha Yearwood is a graduate of Belmont.
“Like we tell (Drew), ‘You keep your eyes open on the company you keep and the faith that you know is right, and you will continue to succeed. But once you take your eyes off the Lord, you can fall real quick,’” Kerri said. “And that is easy to do when you are in school.”
So far Drew has managed to stay away from bad influences. He even goes so far as to limit the music he listens to Christian, country and just a little rock.
“ That’s what I grew up around, and I just didn’t want to get caught up in the world with other music,” Drew said.
Kerri believes Drew’s strong foundation in Christ has served him well in his pursuits.
“We have always taken him to church since he was born,” Kerri said. “He has been singing since he was 3, and we just told him that if he ever wanted to make anything of that, then he would have to have faith that the Lord would carry him through. I feel like he has done that.”
Along with playing his own shows, Drew has also opened for several major Christian acts including The Diplomats, The Dixie Echoes, Reggie Saddler, Don Elrod and Georgia, The Lambdins, Jody Brown Indian Family, Singing Echoes, The Perrys and The Vessels for Praise.
Some of those groups, particularly The Diplomats, have had a great influence on Drew.
“ I try to get ideas from other groups, but there aren’t many soloists in the gospel or Christian genre,” Drew said. “It’s really my own style when I play.”
Even with all of his accomplishments, Drew makes a point not to forget those who helped him along the way. He still attends every service at his home church and is the only boy in his youth praise team at Stewart Baptist.
Making it happen:
Budding Christian musician Drew Parker has to struggle to fit it all in but hasn’t lost sight of his dream.