Like her unusual chord progressions, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Kela Parker followed a serpentine path to arrive at her distinct sound. From a family of classical and folk players, as a young musician she gravitated equally to Joni Mitchell’s alternate guitar tunings and to the dramatic piano progressions of Rachmaninoff and Chopin. Parker’s strong musical identity cuts across genres and bears the mark of meaty harmonies and tuneful but unexpected resolutions that invite the listener on a meditative and satisfying journey.
Drawing from a well that reaches deep into the musical past as well as her own emotional journey, Parker creates an accidental kind of jazz, one’s personal improvisation of the world’s collective folk-step. She is equally rootsy and ethereal, spontaneous and composed. The resulting aesthetic is of considerable breadth and range, without succumbing to chaos or empty distraction.
Her strong musical identity was apparent with her first solo album, Houswife (2011), which the artist made from her backyard studio shed at her house in Portland, Oregon. The album spanned stride piano, indie rock, solo piano, folk, and experimental pop, and was noted for its “sharp musicianship” and unusual song structures that “stick with you long after the song ends.” Her second effort, Searching & Sewing, was called “genre-bending” and “enigmatic.”
For much of 2016 and 2017, Parker traveled and moved multiple times while working on her third album, The Dreamer & The Dream, ultimately relocating to Los Angeles back to her home state of California. With this album Parker reaches even deeper into her ancestral musical roots and farther into her spiritual journey, drawing forth world music pulses and ambient textures, with the increasingly volatile disruptions and shifts of the natural world’s ecological balance serve as the uncertain backdrop.
From within the tumult, a fresh harmony emerges, a new-fangled record of being an evolving self in a changing place. Speaking to and through the authentic human instrument, Kela Parker soundtracks rhythms of a post-genre new world. “Be A Child,” the first single from The Dreamer & The Dream, is available with pre-order of the album and for individual sale through iTunes starting on January 16, 2018.