Q Parker: Sharing The Formula To His Success

From 1991 til now, we don't know anyone who can mention R&B music without mentioning the group 112. Q Parker, 1/4 of the group, decided to chat with Coffea about creating a lifestyle geared towards success. Still sharing his vocals with the world, he also has an artist development company called NeWFAM Entertainment, and a fitness app called Park Fit Global. He is inspiring others by practicing what he preaches and leading by example.


Photo: Derek Blanks


Coffea

Coming from such a legacy and a legendary group (112) that you guys created, how did you feel about becoming a solo artist, and how does that play a role in your life today?


Q

Well, initially there was some concern. There was some apprehension because the moment I entered the industry with my brothers, and the thing that is sometimes comforting when you are in a group, is you only have to just master your part. So the role that you play, you only have to master that. So if we're talking about it in the sense of a basketball team, if I'm the shooter, then I don't necessarily have to worry about playing defense, although I need some level of understanding. I don't necessarily have to be able to rebound that well, although I still need to have some sense of the art of rebounding. But I need to master being the shooter. Right? And so everybody plays their role. That's how we win. You know, I shoot; you pass. So we win collectively.


I had mastered my 25% of being the smooth, the laid back, you know, the very reserved sultry, sensual, like that was my role in the group. I'm gonna work out so my body got to be right. I'm watching what I eat. I'm exercising because that was my 25% contribution to the 100% of 112. But what made the transition to being a solo artist a little challenging was because now, I now had to master that other 75% that I really didn't have to be that sharp on for all of those years. And I remember the first time going into the studio to complete the full song. It was like, Oh, snap! Because normally I would go and do my verse in the background and then I'm done for the day. Slim gonna do the ad-libs; Mike on the vocals, and Daron is so versatile vocally he's going to do whatever is needed, right? Full range and all of that. Well, now, Q you got to do all of that.


Q Parker has gone from being a high school athlete to a serial entrepreneur. Continuing to introduce to the world the many talents that he possesses, this incredible R&B artist explains to us how jumping out there alone was challenging at first. The weight that was once placed on the group as a whole, he has now chosen to carry those responsibilities as a solo artist. His love and life skills learned from being in the industry at a young age keep him on his toes even today.


Coffea

Oh yeah, I can see that being a challenge when you had a team and you had to take on all the work. So is this why you recently started doing collaborations? Because you can do both? Or what was the motivation behind the collaborations you've done recently?


Q

So it's kind of like both. I'd answer yes to your question but because I just believe in the team concept. I think a lot of times artists are so focused on me, me, me, me, me that they sometimes forget the power of collaboration. And so I'm one of those. I'm not selfish with my gift and my talent.


If somebody called me and said, "Hey Q, I want to do a song with you", I take that as an honor and a privilege. Of all the people who could have wanted to do a record with you, you found something about me that made you want to ask me to do a song with you. I don't take that lightly.


I also believe that it helps promote the genre when they see legendary artists reaching back and helping those that are just now starting or not in the case of a new artist, but just collaborating with an artist of your same stature. That helps elevate and keep the genre alive and moving and present.


Coffea

Was it easy for you to reinvent your brand for what you have now? Even with you focusing on fitness?


Q

Oh well, fitness was something that's always been a part of me. Even before joining the group, I was a four-star letterman in high school football, basketball, track, and tennis. So being active and working out and all of that stuff was just always a part of me. I was just now using it now as a part of my bag of being an R&B singer.


And, you know, I come from the school of you'll hear me throughout the interview talk about that R&B shit, right? And so that R&B shit is more than just having a voice. That R&B shit, it looks a certain way, it walks a certain way, it talks a certain way. And so that part of that R&B shit, which is the physical part, I had already had that kind of like as a part of my bag because being an athlete, I had to be in shape.


I had to be mindful of how I looked when I leave the house. And so when I joined the group, those kinds of teachings, I was already almost a step ahead of the guys because it was already a part of my life. And so now as an individual, I'm just enhancing and adding other layers to who I've already naturally been.


Coffea

I don't see a lot of groups taking that time now. Do you feel that they need more mentorship than you've had in the past or that you've demonstrated or what do you think the issue is?


Q

Yes, I do think that there need to be mentors. I think anybody that's getting into any field should have an active and present mentor. But also, I believe that artists getting into the game have to be students of the game as well. And so in that case they would not have a mentor. You can do the research to see why "said" artists before you were successful. What did they do? How did they perform? How was the reaction? What did they do on this show that got the women to just screaming and losing their minds? Right? As a student of the game, you can find those things out. And so again, we talk about that R&B shit. It is all of those things. It is studying. It's researching. It's asking questions. It's collaborating. It's looking good. It is talking well. It is really embodying artist development from the vocal performance to the media training. It is all of those things. So when the baton is given to me, let's just say if Gerald Levert specifically gives Q Parker the baton, he got to know that when he gave it to me I'm gonna run my leg and I'm gonna run that shit like the best of them.


Coffea

Do you use these skills you've learned in R&B when you are on stage and again, when you implement your fitness regimen?


Q

Absolutely because it's a lifestyle. For example. It's one thing to hear, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Q Parker. That R&B shit. The moment the lights come on, you are going to see it. For instance, if I'm in the gym, you ain't gonna catch me not on my square, in the gym or at the grocery store or the library or the bank or in the neighborhood at the park. It's the lifestyle. So I can't cut it off even if I wanted to.


Coffea

How do you manage it all? Even if you have things booked in different seasons, it seems like you're still busy the entire year. How are you managing that with all the hats you wear and, you know, family life as well?


Q

Yes. And so you're right. I believe the most important word in the dictionary is balance. And so if I wear multiple hats, the heavy lifting is knowing how to allocate adequate time for the many hats. So what that looks like on a regular day is I'm going to wear my artist hat for 2 hours, then I'll wear my business hat for two or 3 hours. Then I'm also going to have some acting classes and get with my acting instructor. Then I'm also going to go over here, you know, have a meeting with my business team on businesses that we are doing and other things in my entertainment company. I'm going to allot time. And so throughout the course of the week, no one avenue is neglected because I am now in control of my time and my schedule. So I determine how much time is going to be placed and where it's going to be placed.


Coffea

We see you have an app and then you have a calendar based on your company Park Fit Global. What's the motivation that consumers can go off of when they download the app? What can they look forward to by being a part of Park Fit?


Q

Park Fit's whole mission is to get an individual to understand total body wellness and total body wellness from the standpoint of mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And so once you are a part of the corporate global family, you are able to go on the app and you will be led through meditation exercises, physical exercises, and daily motivational quotes. So whether that is meal prep or a meal regimen to help add to what you're doing physically and mentally, I believe that is all connected. And if we have a healthy lifestyle that promotes a better opportunity for us to have total body health. I could be in great physical shape, but if my mind isn't right, I'm out of shape. I can be in great spiritual health, but if my physical health ain't right? I'm still out of shape. We want to be in shape from a total body perspective, head to toe, interior, and exterior.


Coffea

How do you suggest a pivot to go into that? Because that's a huge change when you're trying to do everything in its entirety.


Q

Well, the one thing that I always thought about is how do you see your life? Do you want to prematurely check out because of the decisions that you are making? One thing we have to understand is that as an African-American, we come out of the womb already challenged by things that we had no say in hereditarily; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and all those things.


So if I do nothing, if I do nothing, I'm headed down that path. Well, I believe that let's just not sit around and just inherit what's going to come to us instead of deciding and choosing to live a life. Especially those of us that have children. Let's not be selfish and sit down and live a lifestyle that will lead to us checking out earlier than we have to because we are not taking great care of ourselves. I'm just not one of those who believe in that.


To the new artist, I say get connected to NeWFAM Entertainment, which is my entertainment company, where we have artist development. Allow us to help lead and advise you through the stages of becoming an artist who lives by lifestyle practices as opposed to just artist practices.


Coffea

Okay, now artist development, that's a word I haven't heard in quite some time. Why do you think people or companies choose not to invest in that anymore?


Q

What it's all about budgeting. It comes down to budgeting. A lot of companies, when the music industry transitioned to being more of a digital component, they didn't have the funding to do the things that really contributed to artists being well-rounded. Unfortunately, one of the most important components was the ones that were dismissed, hence why we see a lot of artists who may have a hit record, but in the other areas of development, they may not be so polished.


Eventually, it really becomes a detriment to the artists and actually to the record company because media training is so critical. I can have a hit record, but if I don't know how to talk about it and how to lead an interview, and not let the interviewer control the interview, then I'm wasting an opportunity on national television or platform to talk about what I have going on. So that's the media component. I've seen many artists drown because they had a hit record, but from an artist's developmental standpoint, they were not solid enough to sustain or keep up with the success of the record.


Coffea

With your company NeWFAM Entertainment, are you picking independent artists? Or are you gathering artists that are already well established?


Q

Well, the focus is on independent artists, because I just don't know if a seasoned artist will be honest enough to say, "Hey, I need help in this area." So my main focus, our main focus in NeWFAM Entertainment is to get those that are just coming into the industry so that they are better prepared.


When we talk about art development it's just not from the perspective of the craft. It is also about you understanding the business too. As an independent artist, you need to understand that you're the product. Like Jay-Z says, you know, I'm a businessman, I'm a business man. You're the product. You got to know all of these components of the entertainment industry and not just being the artist. In addition to media training and vocal training and all of that, we are also teaching the business of music.


Coffea

Okay, it seems like you believe in a lifetime of learning. It doesn't seem like you want to stop teaching or getting information for yourself. So what do you think or what is the next thing or your list to add? I feel like you have more companies or ventures on the way.


Q

Well, the great prophet Sean Combs said on our very first record, "I thought I told you that we won't stop". That's something that I can believe in. As long as I got breath in my body, I'm always looking. I'm a serial creative, a serial entrepreneur. So I'm always going to be figuring out ways. But I can tell you this, in everything that I develop, and create businesses, there will always be a teaching and a service component to it. I just believe that I've been blessed to travel the world and meet new people and have an understanding of the entertainment industry. I'd be doing my community a disservice if I didn't pass on that information. So no matter what I create from artist development centers and campuses to the curriculum at the collegiate and high school level, you know, there will always be a component of passing along the information to make sure that not only do you develop talent-wise, but you also develop in your understanding of this music industry.


Coffea

What do you have, if anything, that you can reflect on? Do you feel like it's something that you wish you could have changed or something that you learned from?



Well, as long as I'm in the game, I can affect the outcome. Right. If I'm just a bystander, all I can do is wait on the outcome.


Q

Yes. So, Russell Simmons, said this to me one time. He said, stay in the game. And at the time, I didn't really fully understand the scope of what he said to me. But as I got older and started doing certain businesses, I came to understand completely what he meant. What he meant was we are impacters. Our objective is to impact culture, impact family, and community. Well, as long as I'm in the game, I can affect the outcome. Right. If I'm just a bystander, all I can do is wait on the outcome.


When he said that, it gave me the energy to stay creative and stay active. Never take myself out of the game, out of the conversation, out of the business discussion, out of the board room. Stay in the game. As a person of impact and as a person of influence, I want to impact the masses. And how do I do that Q Parker? Stay in the game.


Coffea

If someone is not in the room yet, what do you suggest they do to put themselves in a situation or in a position to make an impact?


Q

You use what's at your disposal. The benefit of growing up in today's world is you got YouTube and you have Google. I didn't have that growing up, so we had to pay attention. We had to sneak into the conference room at Bad Boy Entertainment to make sure we heard what was going on behind the scenes. Now I could just Google "hey, make me feel mentally good today", and there's a motivational speech somewhere on YouTube. I can say "I want to understand contracts", and is right there. A downloadable printable piece of information.


It's so funny when my son or anybody close to me says, "I don't know how to do X, Y, or Z". I say, "Rule number one, YouTube". I'm a lover of carpentry work. I love building stuff. I love woodwork and working with my hands. I didn't go to school for any of it. I learned everything I've done from building decks to making sectionals out of wood, somebody led me from YouTube.


In the spirit of not shying away from a challenge, Q Parker has and is demonstrating what "I thought I told you that we won't stop" is all about. He embraces change by creating new businesses and enhancing old ones. The formula he has shared should motivate everyone to refocus on their craft and master it. You should also be inspired to improve your lifestyle mentally and physically. To better understand and follow his new ventures, visit @newfament on Instagram and www.parkfitglobal.com.






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