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Story and Styling / Phil Gomez

Photos / Luke Stage

Parson James, the artist who’s blending genres and breaking barriers with his unique sound. Growing up in the South, Parson’s life was a mashup of musical influences—think gospel choirs, country tunes, and hip-hop beats. His artistic mind took his diverse background and turned it into pure musical magic. Moving to NYC at 17, Parson hustled hard, performing wherever he could and quickly making a name for himself.

Parson’s journey has been filled with some iconic collaborations that put him on the map. His feature on Kygo’s hit single went viral, earning massive streams and a spot on charts worldwide. He also teamed up with JoJo on the soulful track “Dirty Laundry,” showing off his versatile vocal chops and powerful storytelling.

Now, he’s all about dropping songs that hit you right in the feels with his raw honesty and alluring vocals. Parson James is here to shake things up, and he’s not holding back.

Can you tell me about your early musical influences and how you got started in the music industry?

When I was growing up there was so many different types of music surrounding me. I’m from the south, half black and half white & have a really young mom so I heard music from all over the spectrum. Going to a black Baptist church growing up the gospel choirs were my first taste of hearing booming voices which I became obsessed with and ultimately started singing because of. My great grandma was listening to Sam Cooke, Al Greene, Aretha. My mom was listening to Tupac, Mariah, Mary J Blige whom I all lyrically really connected to. My moms parents were into country so Johnny Cash, Shania, Dixie Chicks and etc. As I got older I became obsessed with Amy Winehouse and still am to this day, she really informed my writing. I was singing from as long as I can remember but I really got into the industry full on when I moved to NYC at 17 and just started writing & gigging wherever the hell I could.

What was the turning point in your career that made you realize you could pursue music professionally?

I think it was when I got to New York & was getting positive reactions on my voice and music. I got a residency in Tribeca like at age 20 & I was like okay I’m not just the kid that sings in his hometown. I’m doing it in New York. That was big for me. Also when I got my first writing cut, which Pixie Lott from the UK recorded and released I was really inspired as a writer as well.  So it all just felt validating.

Many of your songs are deeply personal. How do you balance sharing your personal stories with your audience while maintaining some level of privacy?

I’m not sure I’ve mastered the art of privacy yet. I’m an open book and have always been that way. I don’t remember honesty and openness in my childhood because where I’m from people hide so much. It would’ve been so helpful for me to know folks around me were experiencing similar things in life that I was and so I feel it’s my duty to be as open as possible in my art so I could help someone who needs to feel seen.

Full look, LARUICCI.

How has your upbringing in the South influenced your music and the stories you tell through your songs?

Sonically I think I’ve just always injected my roots into my music. I’m a slut for a gospel choir. I always have viewed my music as hymns that I believe in. I was preached at so much as a kid that I feel like I wanted rewrite those sermons to make sense with my life, sexuality, struggles, pain, joy & truth.

How have you grown as an artist and individual since you first started your music career?

I was very naive and excited as a younger artist. I do miss that version of myself sometimes bc I felt that nothing was impossible and now after being in the industry for so long I’ve definitely become a bit jaded in some areas which I’m not proud of. It’s a protection element though bc I used to be so incredibly trusting & reliant on the validation of others. I’m no longer interested in operating that way. I think the biggest change is remember my gut has always been right & not insulting my own intuition.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?

I love to eat haha. Surrounding myself with my core friends and getting my cup filled by their beauty and magic. Traveling is something I’m grateful to be able to do and I never take it for granted. Discovering places & people is forever feeding my curiosity and lust for life. I also love to binge watch anything remotely related to thriller or suspense. I like fall asleep to the craziest fucking movies and tv shows it’s insane.

What was the craziest movie or tv show you ever fell asleep too?

I’ve fallen asleep to hereditary more than once sadly. I also am addicted to watching forensic files at night and wonder why I have insomnia lol

Do you have any hidden talents or surprising skills that we might not know about?

I can pop ass. I can cook. I also have a very weird memory. Like if I see something on paper once I remember it forever. I still see my old WiFi passwords, numbers from the phone books… decades old lyrics etc. it’s so wild. I’m probably on the spectrum and I live for that.

Full look, LARUICCI.

What’s currently on your music playlist? Any favorite songs or artists you’re listening to right now?

Chappell Roan really has me in a chokehold right now, but I guess she has everyone in one. I stumbled into a show of hers like a year and a half ago and it was bc of a friends suggestion. There were like 100 people maybe & I’ve been following her and gagging for her ever since. I also really love Tokischa, Hozier, Yebba, Ella Henderson, Stromae.

What does Pride mean to you personally and as an artist?

It’s a true celebration of community. The elders before us who fought to make our visibility possible. Gratitude for being able to be an openly gay artist. Standing in our power and uplifting each other with no judgement with the collective intention to push for even more visibility and love. As an artist this time also feels the most important to use the platform I have to unify and offer a safe space.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any upcoming tours or new music releases?

I’m so excited about new music. The tea is I’ve had such a bad go with labels and distributors the last few years. I’ve sat on so much music but what people don’t know is that I’ve never stopped writing on top of that. I’m in the studio at least 3-4 times a week usually for years so there’s so much music. I’ve made a project I’m extremely proud of & the first release is a song I believe in so much that I made with one of my best friends (Jojo) who’s doing background vocals. It’s powerful and it says exactly what I need to say at this moment. Final stages of locking in that deal to release it finally & in the meantime planning intimate 1 off shows around America and beyond. I’ve also been writing for some iconicccc artists for their records so I can’t wait for that Music to come out. I’m just in a great place creatively and feeling so grateful for what’s to come.

Parson James is more than just a voice; he’s a movement. From his Southern roots to his unapologetic rise in the music scene, Parson has crafted a sound that’s all his own, blending genres and breaking barriers with every note. His journey is a testament to resilience, authenticity, and the power of music to connect us all. As he continues to drop tracks that resonate and collaborate with some of the biggest names in the industry, there’s no doubt that Parson James is just getting started.



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