Viewers of The Voice
's second season remember Katrina Parker
, the North Carolina-bred songstress whose soulful covers of "One of Us" and "Jar of Hearts" earned her comparisons to Adele and made her an early audience favorite. Her elimination in the semi-finals caused some serious indignation,
but thankfully she's preparing to make her way back into the spotlight with a brand new album, tentatively titled In and Out of the Dark
"I've been calling my music 'indie pop for grown-ups,'" Parker explains in a phone call from her Los Angeles home. "I'd like to think all ages can enjoy it, but at the same time it's definitely coming from the perspective of a grown woman who's been through a lot the last couple of years."
After her run on The Voice
came to an end, Parker was offered paid gigs at private and corporate events, but didn't land a record deal as she'd hoped. By the year's end, however, she had written the songs that would become her debut album, and turned to her fans to help with its release. In January, Parker launched a $19,000 Kickstarter pledge campaign, offering digital downloads, limited edition merch, and handwritten thank you notes on scented unicorn stationary, among other things. The project successfully raised its funding goal on February 16, with over $24,000 pledged.
"I had so many people working with me, friends and fans that were kind of evangelists, who were selling me really hard to their friends and family," Parker says. "It's a beautiful thing to know that you have enough people who love your music that they're actually going to pay for your album before you even make it ... And they came through."
The album consists primarily of original material written and co-written by Katrina, which she calls a "good reflection" of her past few years.
"It's so hard to describe the things I've been through, because I feel like I've had the most amazing experiences of my life in the last two years, but I've also had some of the deepest disappointment as well," Katrina explains. "And not just The Voice
but things outside of The Voice
as well. I feel like the record encapsulates that pretty nicely."
"I'm proud of that, and I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to get up and get back on my feet after The Voice
, and say, 'You know what, this was an amazing thing that happened to me, it opened so many doors for me, but I'm in control of my destiny now,'" she asserts. She cites influences ranging from Pink and Kelly Clarkson to Florence + the Machine and Bat for Lashes, and assures fans there will be ballads as well ("I never met a sad song I didn't like"). And there are will be two covers, as well — one of them Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Parker is a very
dedicated Parton fan.
"She played at the Hollywood Bowl the summer before last summer, and it was amazing. She played, like, every instrument. I was shocked, I didn't know she played piano, I didn't know she played electric guitar or saxophone, and then she pulled out, I think like, a recorder or something — It was just like, 'You play all of these instruments, and with ridiculously long nails?'" Parker laughs.
Below, check out Parker's reflections on the current season of The Voice
(which she's recapping with signature charm for Celebuzz
), her first musical loves, and what Adam Levine
smells like.Zimbio: So, you're following the current season of The Voice. What are your initial thoughts on the new judges?Katrina Parker:
I love them. I feel like, it's more subdued in a sense because you don't have Cee-Lo
and Christina Aguilera
's fashion choices [laughs
]. You never knew what they were going to wear. I feel like it was a little more madcap with them, but I do like that everyone just seems so comfortable with each other. And Usher and Shakira are both very charming people. They're holding their own with the other coaches and the contestants, and honestly, I'm kind of falling in love with Shakira! She's so witty and so sweet, and so approachable at the same time, but she's clearly very smart.
I feel like it's especially hard for a woman coach on the show to hold her own with the other guys, and she's holding her own, and it's great, and I love it. The first night she was chastizing Adam for comparing someone to Adele, and it was so, like, icy and sassy, and I was like, "This is great! She's going to be fine." I love Usher, he's fantastic, but I think Shakira's my new BFF.
She's so animated! She seems like she'd be so fun to hang out with. She doesn't take herself too seriously, but there's no doubt that the woman is very smart and very savvy, and I think she was a really good choice.I know you've only got the first episode to go on, but right now, which contestant do you think is the one to watch?
Wow, I mean honestly — really what everyone was talking about on Twitter, and what I was talking about is Judith Hill
. There was so much hype behind her appearance that it honestly could have gone either way, because so many people were talking about it. It's such a huge catch for the show, to get her, I mean she sang with Michael Jackson, she's been doing so much already, but she delivered
the goods ... It was 100 percent as exciting as they said it was be.
Being on the show, and knowing how hard it is to get on that stage, and how much is going on, and how much tension there is backstage — you're getting your wardrobe done, getting your hair done, getting your makeup done, everyone's like, touching you and giving you instructions — it's really intense. So for her to come out and command a stage like that — it was so effortless. I feel like she's a real star. She's a catch for the show, she's a catch for Adam. When the night was over, she was the one I was thinking about. In retrospect, is there anything you wish you would have known before you went on the show?
I don't think I'd change anything ... I think it was something where, if I had known more I don't necessarily know I would have done anything differently. The one thing I would tell myself is, 'Just relax a little bit and don't take it so seriously, enjoy the experience because once it's over, it's over.' I'd like to think that there are better things in store for every person who's on that show, but it's never going to be the exact same experience.
Being on a reality show, when you're sequestered, it's really tight-knit; It's like a family with the crew and wardrobe and hair and makeup and all the other contestants, and you're never going to have another experience like that. You might have stuff that's as big or bigger, but it's never going to be the same as that little family you have on The Voice
. I look back and the only thing I would do is maybe just enjoy myself a little bit more.What's the first album you really fell in love with?
Oh, this is, okay. It's the truth, sorry — Wham! [laughs
] Wham, I don't remember the name of the album, I think it was Make It Big
, it was actually a record that I begged
my dad to buy. And he looked at the cover and was like... you know, I'm from the south of North Carolina, so it was all country all the time, and I begged my dad to buy me that Wham! record. I was obsessed with Wham! I was obsessed with George Michael. I had a huge crush on him. So that was my first record, and I played it until it was too beat up to play.If you could collaborate with any mainstream pop artist, who would it be?
You know, I'm really going through an Ellie Goulding stage. I'm kind of obsessed with her. "Lights" is such a huge song, it was playing constantly but I never got tired of it. Her new record is incredible, and I think one of the songs is being played on the radio now. I would so
do a duet with her.
But I think anyone who's been on the show dreams about doing a duet with their coach. I would love, at some point, to be at a level where I could actually do a duet with Adam. That would make me really happy. I think he's got a great voice.He has a new signature scent out. Does he actually smell good?
Oh my goodness, funny you should say that, that's what I talked about for a year! That was one of my first impressions. It's weird, but I'm very sensitive to smells. When people over-perfume or over-cologne, it really bothers me. One thing about Adam that I remember is that the first time I hugged him, he smelled so good. [laughs
] He had this amazing smell. My friend said, 'Well what does he smell like?' And the first thing that popped out of my mouth was 'expensive.' Not overpowering, just so clean, and expensive, which I feel like describes him really well.
It's funny 'cause I went to the Maroon 5 Grammy party [in February] and they gave us samples of the men's and the women's cologne, and I wear the men's cologne all the time. Like I actually
See more Katrina Parker photos: