EXCLUSIVE// Q Parker Breaks Out The MANual: “I’m Here To Serve The Ladies”Published by Danica Daniel on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm.
Allow him to reintroduce himself. His name is Q Parker and after selling millions of records as part of the Grammy Award-winning super-group 112, the singer and songwriter is breaking out on his debut solo project The MANual. More than just a collection of songs, Parker’s latest album is an instructional guide for man and woman hoping to win big in the game of love starting with the first single, “Show You How.” Parker stopped by CENTRIC’s offices to dish out more lessons of love in a candid one-on-one interview.
Here, the R&B crooner opens up about his mission to serve the ladies, inspire the fellas and create a new brand of baby-making music that will last long after he’s gone.
What inspired the title of your debut album “The MANual.”
Q Parker: When I set out to do this solo record, it was important to allow people to get to know Q. Parker the man. I’ve grown since I was first introduced to the world in 112. I’ve grown musically as a songwriter, as an entertainer and more importantly just a man.
You say “The MANual” is your reintroduction to the public. What has been the evolution of Q Parker?
If you are a 112 fan, you watched us grow and mature from being 16-year-old teenagers when we first got our record deal to “Only You.” On “Your letter,” for an example, I think we were always a little bit ahead of our time. But to have that idea of Q in mind and have watched me grow up to now, this full grown man has a family and has had a career for almost 20 years. I would hope that they’re excited to see what I have to say now as this grown, more mature man.
As a mature man, why did you create “The MANuel” for the ladies and not the fellas?
I have very strong views on how a woman should be treated and you get that in “The MANual.” A lot of times [women] get the short end of the stick. I don’t feel music is really speaking to [women] the way that it should. Ladies, I hear you. I know what you’ve complained about all these years and I’m here to really serve…um, to give you what you’ve been asking for. I know how a woman needs to be treated, how she needs to be loved, held, talked to, made love to and what better to show my opinion than my music?
Is it your job to serve women with your music?
That’s exactly [why] I’m here. I’m here to serve. I know a lot of times, male recording artists, wanna be in the club and we wanna make sure [that] our homies are riding to us and we can rock with it. And at the end of the night, [women] are going home still wanting something more musically. Well, I’m here to say I have what you need. And I’ve put together an album that speaks directly to you. All of it pretty much came from me; I wrote about 85 percent of the songs. It’s a conversation that we’re having letting you know that, I’ve got you.
Can “The MANuel” be used for the fellas to understand women more deeply?
It’s a manual from that perspective as well. But also to say that, “I know what it is that I wanna see [women] ask for and what I think you should demand from the fellas out here.” And if a guy is open to hearing another man put you up on a little game, [then] it’s for you too.
What game are you hoping to teach?
Communication is the key. A lot of times relationships go wrong when both parties are not able to freely communicate. On my first single, “Show You How,” it says, “Women, I need y’all to stop settling for less. You know what type of man you want. I know it’s rough out there but you still have to have your values. Don’t settle for less.” And for the man, it says, “Don’t give up. Stay in the game because there’s somebody out there.”
What inspires your music?
I just celebrated ten years of marriage this past August. Everything that I write about comes from a personal experience. Whenever you’re in a relationship whether it be long-term or short-term, you’re going to go through the same things. Maybe he’s not showing me enough love. Maybe I’m not getting enough attention from him or her. Maybe I just need to hear you say certain things. But you still have to work at the relationship every day. I’ve learned that lesson personally in my marriage but I know I ain’t the only one. These are things that are going to always happen in relationships and they’ll never die.
Do you sing for your wife often?
Man, let me tell you something, I sing [laughs]. I sing, period. One of the jokes that the guys make about me is that, “Q’s always humming.” And I’m always humming, singing.
(Q Parker addresses the 112 breakup rumors after the break.)
How does it feel recording in the studio without 112?
The most obvious difference is [laughs] when I’m recording with 112 I play my position I play my role. And my role for that particular song may be, “Q, alright, do your verse,” and then I’m done. But as a solo artist, this was one of the biggest learning experiences. I had to go in and develop the whole song. I created the song, I wrote the song, intro-ed it, first verse, chorus, second verse, chorus, bridge, out. I really had to keep you engaged for the whole song. But, again, I’ve learned so much about myself during this recording process. I had to push myself vocally. So, I’ve grown vocally, so [when] the day that comes and 112 finally gets back into the studio, I’ll be a better group member.
I guess those 112 breakup rumors are false?
112 is still together. Our last album was in 2006. But recently we reunited and we’ve been on the road. We’ve been doing a “For The Fans” reunion tour. But everybody respects everybody’s individual goals. And they understand that “The MANual” is something that I have to get out. And they’re supportive; they’re behind me. When we do our 112 shows, they’re behind me singing.
Have your bandmates heard “The MANual?”
There’s no way I would’ve released an album without letting my guys hear it first and get their approval. Because you’ve got to understand, what Q. Parker does affects 112. When Slim came out with his first solo record, it added to 112 because he had a top ten single with the “So Fly.” The best example of that is New Edition and we use them as our mold. They had all those hits together but at any given moment, Ralph can step out and do his thing, Johnny [Gill] did his, BBD did theirs, Bobby [Brown] did his, but they still come together and make this powerful force. And that’s our mindset. Slim stepped out and did his thing, I’m gonna do mine. Maybe Daron [Jones] and Mike [Keith] are gonna do something that they wanna do individually but it only just adds to the 112 story.
I love my sister, but if we’re in a race, I want to beat her. So is there any kind of rivalry at all like, “I went platinum, you went gold.”
Well, I’m a competitor. Period. Friend or foe, I’m a competitor. And if I lace up my shoes, you are the opposition. Period. Brother, Daddy, Mama, son, manager [laughs], It don’t matter. I’m just very competitive. I would love one day to be able to be jaw jacking back and forth with Slim [where] he would tell me, “I had a top ten record,” and I would say “I had a top five record.” It’s all in fun it’s all in fun.
There are a lot of sexy songs on this album. Would you call your music baby-making music?
Of course. I call my music—look, we’re going to create a name for it right now. I call my music, getting man and woman to come together and do whatever they gotta do once they get together.
What artists would you like to collaborate with?
On “The MANual” I have a collabo with Styles P from the Lox and then Faith and Crystal Nicole. But I love Brandy. I’m a big fan of hers. I would like to see more R&B artists collabo together. When you look at the hip-hop artists like Lil’ Wayne, Ross, Jeezy, T.I., they all be on everybody’s song. Right? And it keeps it hot. If R&B artists took a page out of their book and started to support, you would see Chris Brown and Trey Songz on a song together, or Tank and Q Parker, or Musiq Soulchild and whoever. When everybody’s talking about R&B coming back, collabos are one of the things that would put us in the fast lane, instead of being stuck in this traffic.
There are so many things that a man can sing about, i.e., fast cars and even faster women… Why is it so important for you to sing about love?
Love is something that will forever be here. And I’m into making records that are going to be here for a while. I’m into writing classics. And, I’m about a career of longevity. When you think about 112, there are still records today that are 16, 17 years old that you still get the feeling that you felt when it came out. For instance “Cupid” and “Only You,” these records are still special today.
Love is definitely timeless.
Drinking Patron may be the hottest thing or Ciroc, but next year, it may be another something. My music is not about the fad because ten years from now I want you to be able to say, “You know what man, this Q. Parker album is a classic.”