Mak­ing a joy­ful sound

Be­tween school and base­ball, youth finds time for mu­sic

The Covington News - - RELIGION - By Tyler Smith

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Mak­ing it hap­pen:

Bud­ding Chris­tian mu­si­cian Drew Parker has to strug­gle to fit it all in but hasn’t lost sight of his dream.

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