By Kieran Graves
Last Friday night 60 Million Postcards played host to another packed night courtesy of the latest show on the We Broke Free calendar. This came in the form of a vocal spectacular featuring performances from local talent Jazz Morley and Bristol’s rising star Stevie Parker. The Rock were at the show and spoke to Parker after her set to try and piece together the person behind the voice.
The night’s proceedings began with Morley’s masterful combination of keys and vocals, passing her way through soulful tones and poignantly inspired lyrics, before turning to her new song, ‘Ruin Me’, which is released tomorrow. On this particular night she was there in the capacity of a supporting act, though with a voice with the gravity of hers this needn’t always be the case. Her natural presence and subtly commanding voice allowed her to fill what was technically an almost empty stage as though there were issue in doing so.
The few spaces left on the floor then quickly filled as Parker began to sing. Dressed in her characteristically monochrome style, just as Morley had similarly been decked head to toe in black, it began to appear that this dress choice may perhaps exist as a pre-requisite to playing the thought-provoking, intense and heartfelt songs that became the theme of the night.
Parker and her band entertained the teeming crowd for the next half-hour with their straight-talking atmospheric brand of pop, treating 60 Million to renditions of ‘Blue’, ‘Better Off’ and recent single ‘Without You’. Each song serving as refreshing and carefully-crafted exploration of love, loss and affection, laying to bare the emotions that can come to many as challenging to express.
At the end of the night, having come to a joint decision to make our way towards the back of the bar in order to hear ourselves think, it became clear just how down-to-earth (and popular) Parker is. If we are to consider that the distance from the stage to the door couldn’t have been more than 25-30 metres, our relatively short journey must have been put on hold at least half-a-dozen times as Parker was greeted by friends, family and admirers. Not that it mattered in the slightest which category you fell under as each was received with the same warmth and familiarity. The point is, though Parker had been on the stage, and indeed had been the main event, she didn’t seem to regard herself too separately from the audience.
Talking outside, having finally found ourselves space on a bench at the front of 60 Million, this matter became even clearer as she received the appreciation of one of Morley’s party; namely alluring to the fact that Parker had been amongst the first to take to the floor when the music began.
It had started to become clear that the 24-year-old possessed a disposition towards modesty that made it seem almost as though the praise and attention (which she deservingly receives) may, in some ways, and on some level, leave her feeling at times a touch uncomfortable.
Then, clear of the crowds she began speaking candidly about her inspirations as an artist, ascribing much credit to her influences and surroundings in Bristol’s music scene. “If you’re an aspiring musician it’s a really valuable place to be. It’s probably second to London, or maybe Manchester” she claims.
“It was really easy to cultivate my sound there because everyone is like-minded. People have a kind of leaning towards certain genres, it’s kind of electronic, down tempo, atmospheric stuff.”
She then continues to reveal that, though her sound may have been influenced by this, it was never a conscious choice to write her music in the way that she does. “It wasn’t really a decision…the first song I ever wrote was this really bizarrely unabashed love song. That was quite strange because I have never been very open about that stuff”.
For her, it seems, music has become a release for what cannot be said, whether this comes in the form of performing or producing. A type of catharsis as she puts it. “I love a home crowd” she says. “Performing live is the ultimate, but there’s a lot of variables in it. Being in the studio and producing will always be very satisfying, bringing all these ideas forward and having ways to cultivate them and watch things manifest in front of your ears is great!”