“Soundtracking rhythms of a post-genre new world, Kela Parker’s sound dwells in juxtaposition, piano-driven gilded discord, and hidden harmonies beneath oral narrations…The resulting aesthetic is of considerable breadth and range — equally rootsy and ethereal, spontaneous and composed.”

Kari Elam, 2017

Kela’s submission for NPR’s 2022 Tiny Desk Contest!

About

Originally from Berkeley, California, Kela Parker is a Los Angeles-based musician and writer. Noted for her distinct sound, versatile artistry, and “prepossessing voice,” Parker has released three singer-songwriter albums, multiple singles, and chamber pieces. Her first albums established her as an artist with a genre-bending sensibility rooted in a “sharp musicianship…yielding songs that are both heady and blithe” (Bob Ham, Willamette Week).

Kela Parker’s distinct approach to American roots was heralded for being “like folk music — but from a country you’ve never heard of before” (Victor Nash of Destination: Universe!). After getting her start playing local Portland venues like The Old Church and opening for Madeleine Peyroux at The Aladdin Theatre, she has played her distinctive folk-jazz across the U.S., from Seattle’s classic jazz venue The Royal Room, to Los Angeles’ storied Viper Room, to Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Parker is also a published writer who writes about art, music, culture, politics, the film industry, and sometimes, her cat. Her latest published piece, The Miraculous House of Houswife, the story of the making of her first two albums, which were made while fending off foreclosure on the heels of the housing crisis, “a tale of poor choices, a bit of grit, and a lot of magic.” Get it for free when you join the mailing list or buy a copy at the shop a la carte or as part of a digital merch subscription bundle!

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Kela Parker’s 2018 album ‘The Dreamer & The Dream,‘ recorded and co-produced with Rocky Gallo in 2017 in New York City, was a collection of fourteen “nomadic…intricate” songs written during a period when the singer-songwriter moved numerous times across the country and relied on the inner guidance of an ancestral figure who she had encountered in a dreamlike state. Weaving “effortlessly in and out of time, memory, place,” BuzzMusicLA wrote that the songs on Dreamer “defy traditional boundaries of genre, creating a living tapestry of song that feels deeply anchored but also of the moment” (2018).

In 2020, the early release version of “Come Spring,” the most recent single off Parker’s upcoming fourth album, was hailed as “a truly mesmerizing piece of music, an enticing and mysterious track,” that showcases her vocal range, and “dark yet angelic” sensibility (A&R Factory, UK). Parker’s forthcoming songs are her most emotionally direct yet, plumbing the depths to offer redemption and solace. (“Come Spring” is only available via membership subscriptions as an early release version; the new version will be on the upcoming album.) For more on Kela’s latest releases, see kelaparker.com/news.

Kela Parker at The Mint, Los Angeles, 2017

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