Grammy Nominated Producer, Tommy Parker discusses life, music and latest placements with Alicia Keys and The Backstreet Boys

It’s Grammy Nomination season, which means a myriad of artists, producers, songwriters and musicians are being recognized for their amazing accomplishment and contributions to music over the year. It truly is a special time; getting to see the hard-work of so many individuals pay off is a feeling that cannot be replicated and today, I have the pleasure of shedding even more light on a highly decorated individual who deserves it. If you haven’t heard of the name, Tommy Parker yet, then odd are, these names ring a bell: J. Cole, Ariana Grande, Young Thug, etc. The list goes on and on for this established producer as he’s worked alongside and garnered credits with some of music’s finest. 

I rarely interview producers, but when an opportunity arises to chat with a musical genius like Tommy Parker, it’s impossible to pass up. If you’re in need of some inspiration today, then keep reading down below to check out my conversation with Tommy, as we cover his life, music and what it’s like to have worked on two Christmas projects this year with Alicia Keys and The Backstreet Boys! 

Sam: So, Tommy, for those who don’t know, where are you from originally?

Tommy: I’m from San Bernardino originally, then I moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was 10 and then I eventually moved back…

Sam: When did you leave Pittsburgh?

Tommy: 2006!

Sam: Got it, did you get into music while you were in Pittsburgh? When was the first moment you hopped into it? 

Tommy: I actually come from a very musical family. My mother sings and my father plays wood instruments, so I was always playing music, but when I moved to Pittsburgh, I was in a music school; The African American Music Institute and then it just flourished from there. I started producing whenI was like 12.

Sam: Amazing. So, you come from a musical family…and it’s cool because when you see your parents doing something at a high level, odds are, you’ll want to emulate that and go after it as well. Was that the goal for you when you were around 12-13 years old; to continue what your parents started?

Tommy: Well, my parents didn’t do it professionally. They always wanted to, but they didn’t end up doing it; But, I always wanted to do that. I always wanted music to be my job. Didn’t want to have to college or any of that stuff.

Sam: So after that, when was the moment when you realized that you could turn music into a career?

Tommy: I’ll fast forward for this one. I was producing music on MySpace and I produced this song…Me and my sister did this song called Heart Stop and then all of a sudden, all of these kids started having it as their profile song. A lot of people did that, so Underdogs reached out to me and my sister and they ended up signing us off of that song because people were putting it on their page. That was a crazy moment that I thought was really cool. 

Sam: Love that bro. This next one is a fun question, because obviously your resume speaks for itself…From J. Cole, to Ariana, I could list off the names, but when you think about all that you’ve done to this point, how does it make you feel? What’s the feeling you get when you look back on every little thing that you’ve accomplished in music as a producer?

Tommy: That’s a great question…I just think I always need more. I don’t have enough. I love everything I do, but I still feel like there’s more to do…more to accomplish and more music to give. I’m never satisfied, I always want more.

Sam: When did you connect with The Revels Group?

Tommy: Oh yeah, they’ve been awesome. I met them almost two years ago by way of a friend of mine who really spoke highly of them and I was like, “I really need management” and he was like, why don’t you see if they’ll work with you, so we started working and it’s been a dream come true. Everything has just been lining up since I started working with them, so I’ve been very blessed on their behalf…

Sam: So good bro. Let’s keep going. Obviously, you’re celebrating two really big moments as far as the Alicia Keys and Backstreet Boys Placements, so let’s dive into it all. How did all of this happen? Take me through it.

Tommy: So for the Backstreet Boys, Tommy Brown of Champagne Therapy actually put it together and brought it to my attention and he was like “yo we have this opportunity, they want to do a whole album”, so I thought it was cool because I love to do harmonies and stuff so, I love any chance to make special music like this for people…especially Christmas music. I ran to the opportunity to work with the Backstreet Boys…It was a lot of work that we put into that one. 

Sam: That’s so cool. With every song, there is a hope that people will replay it over and over again, but when it comes to Christmas music, you know that replay value is going to be supremely high every time during this time of year, which is so special I’m sure.

Tommy: Right, yea! Hopefully God willing everyone believes this is timeless. We put the work in to make it sound like that.

Sam: What about the Keys stuff? Need to hear that as well!

Tommy: Well, we reached out to her team to eventually work and she was on tour, but they said she’d love to work at the top of the year. They also asked if I had any Christmas records and if I did, to send them because they were working on some Christmas songs. So, I had this sample that I did about two years ago and it’s just been sitting on my iTunes. Matt was actually the one who decided to send it to her and she heard it and she absolutely loved it. We put drums on it and in about two weeks she flew me out to Miami to cut with her. That was the first time I got to meet her and work in the studio with her and we just had a great synergy. A true dream come true. She’s so easy to work with and I was amazed at how musical she is. She’s amazing. 

Sam: Even you saying this is crazy. Most people would pay millions to be a fly on the wall in that type of room. This is not just an every day thing, this is spectacular.

Tommy: It really is! Even she said it, she told me it was divine timing and it really was. 

Sam: Well man, congratulations on that and congratulations to your team. Truly an amazing effort. With that, I’ve got one more question…You mentioned not being satisfied and wanting to outdo yourself, what are you looking forward to? What are some goals you have for 2023?

Tommy: Yeah, I want to put together a project with myself and release it and God willing people accept it. That’s one of them.