Interview with singer Patti Parks, she has developed into a gospel & soulful sound with her unique style

"My hopes are that  Blues music remains as pure as possible and that performers are listen to based on their talents...not their age, where they live, culture, sex or size."

Patti Parks: Oh, Pretty Woman

Patti Parks started out playing cello at 16 years old, studying at the Community Music school and playing in the Cheektowaga Symphony Orchestra. At 17 Patti decided she wanted to sing and one of the first bands she sang with, the Good Life trio was with Guy Nirelli. She went on to play with other larger bands. Patti was out of music for many years until she met Guy again at 100 the Anniversary of Harley Davidson in 2003. Patti and Guy decided to put the Patti Parks band together in 2003. The Patti Parks band has continued to grow and evolve ever since. It started out as a 5 piece band and morphed into the current 8 piece band complimented by The West Side Horn section. Right from the beginning, they had many successes.

The Patti Parks Band won the Memphis Bound Competition in 2006 and they competed in Memphis in the International Blues Competition on Beale Street, also won the Best Female Blues performer from Nightlife Magazine in 2011. Patti and the band has performed in many major festivals including the Blues’n March Festival, Ellicottville Blues Festival, Niagara Thunder, Kalamazoo Music Festival, Blues in the Valley, Wellsville Creative Art Center, Lancaster Town Celebration, the Crystal Beach Concert Series, the M&T Bank Concert Series, Taste of Buffalo, Canal Fest, the Niagara University Concert Series, Tribute to the Troops, and the R&B Soul Revue. Patti has played with Tas Cru, Billy McEwen, Barbara Sinclair, Johnny Soul, Denzel Ward, Mondo Gallo and many more. She has opened up for Kelly Hunt, Jimmy Thackery, Mark Farner, the Grand Funk Railroad and others. She has written several songs including Cheat'n Man and Happy Your Mine and co-written many others with Guy Nirelli that are being recorded for her album Cheat'n Man (2013). Patti was the PR Director for the WNY Blues Society and participates in many charitable and community events.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?  

Blues is a wonderful genre of music that is able to touch upon people’s emotions and life’s circumstances. I fell as though I am able to tell the story of the song through my vocal interpretation.

How do you describe Patti Parks sound and progress, what characterize your music philosophy?

I think my voice has developed into a gospel & soulful sound, but I think my style and choices of songs are unique. I really want to focus on my “own sound” although critic have indicated they hear a cross between Koko Taylor and Bonnie Raitt…..WoW…that’s a compliment!

"Blues will also generate a devoted following because of its roots in Country Western Music as well as rock n' roll. There is some much history told through the lyrics. There is also such a variance of styles that intrigue listeners from swampy foot stomping to swing, jump gospel, zydeco… just so much!"

Which is the most interesting period in your life?

When I started back my career. I took some wrong turns in my life, then music cleansed my soul and made me whole.  

Which was the best and worst moment of your career?

The best moment of my career was having my music heard all over the world from the United States to Australia and the positive feedback I have gotten from music critics. The worst moment was losing my fellow bandmate to cancer. He was my rock!!!

Why did you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Blues will also generate a devoted following because of its roots in Country Western Music as well as rock n' roll. There is some much history told through the lyrics. There is also such a variance of styles that intrigue listeners from swampy foot stomping to swing, jump gospel, zydeco… just so much!

Are there any memories from recording time which you’d like to share with us?

When I recorded the song “MaMa” I was so in touch with the lyrics and the intent of the song….that I was in tears…when I sang!

What’s the best jam you ever played in? 

That would be on Beale Street during the IBC.

 

"Blues is a wonderful genre of music that is able to touch upon people’s emotions and life’s circumstances."

What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

Playing in Clarksdale Mississippi at the Drop Zone. So much history around me…I was taken back!!!

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you?

First time, I met    

What is the best advice ever given you?

Stay focused…..continuing sharing your music….don’t look back. Pay attention to Life’s cues.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past?

The simulated well controlled studio controls.

What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

My hopes are that  Blues music remains as pure as possible and that performers are listen to based on their talents…. not their age, where they live, culture, sex or size.

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from music circuits?

When a critic reviewed my new album  “Cheat’n Man” he described  me as sexy soft looking women…but  little does the listener know  that this laid back image of a women turns out to be knocking out of the park Blues Singer. What struck me emotionally was I read that that my music was soulful and beautiful to listen to!

"I think my voice has developed into a gospel & soulful sound, but I think my style and choices of songs are unique. I really want to focus on my 'own sound' although critic have indicated they hear a cross between Koko Taylor and Bonnie Raitt…WoW…that’s a compliment!"

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Soul and continue to Jazz and R&B music?

I think what connects the genre is the lyrics, rhythm and chord progressions that vary based on genre.

What does to be a female artist in a “Man World” as James Brown says?

Can be challenging at times. I think really for any upcoming artist period.  

What is the status of women in Blues?

Evolving …more and more artists have even crossed over their genre to Blues.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

I want to perform  in Europe…..I would like to start in  the Netherlands !! They were the first to add me onto a community music chart….then they rest of the day any festival in Europe….!!!! Love the people there!!!

Patti Parks - official website

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