Who is Kevin Parker?
Kevin Parker is an Australian singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his psychedelic music project ,‘Tame Impala,’ which he had originally conceived in 2007. He writes, records, and produces the music for ‘Tame Impala.’ In 2015, ‘Tame Impala’ released its third studio album, ‘Currents,’ for which Parker was honored with the ‘Producer of the Year’ award and the ‘Engineer of the Year’ award at the 29th ‘Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards’ (ARIA Music Awards) in Sydney, New South Wales. Parker has also worked with various other bands, such as ‘Pond,’ ‘Mink Mussel Creek,’ and ‘Space Lime Peacock.’ As a producer, he has worked with artists such as Kanye West, Mark Ronson, and ASAP Rocky. In 2016, he helped release Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, ‘Joanne.’ The album's first single, ‘Perfect Illusion,’ is a collaborative effort from Gaga, Mark Ronson, BloodPop, and Kevin Parker.
Childhood & Early Life
Kevin Richard Parker was born on January 20, 1986, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to Jerry and Rosalind. He had a difficult childhood, as his parents got divorced when he was just 3 years old. He turned his attention toward music at a young age in an attempt to fight loneliness.
He learned music from his father, who practiced music as a hobby. His father was also part of a cover band that performed songs of various popular bands, such as ‘Supertramp,’ ‘The Beach Boys,’ and ‘The Beatles.’ Parker’s first experience of playing an instrument was when he accompanied his father on the guitar.
He started playing the drums at the age of 11. When he turned 12, he started recording music using two tape machines. He would first record himself playing the drums and then play instruments such as the keyboard and the guitar to mix the sound with the already-recorded tape of the drums. Around the same time, he started living with his father and his stepmother, Rhonda, in Cottesloe.
At the age of 13, he met Dominic Simper while attending a music class at the ‘John XXIII College’ in Perth. Dominic, with whom he started playing covers of popular songs, would later become part of Parker's ambitious project, ‘Tame Impala.’ Over the next few years, Parker became obsessed with recording music. When he was 16 years old, his father bought him an eight-track recorder, with which he began recording music every night.
By the time he turned 18, he had begun playing at various pubs across his city. He also started working as a law clerk in Perth, delivering court documents. He later quit his job to focus on his music career. However, his father warned him about the consequences of getting in the music industry. His father believed that music would not be fun and mysterious to those who try to make a career out of it.
Parker paid attention to his father’s advice and enrolled himself at a university to study engineering. However, he soon lost interest in engineering and decided to study astronomy. Meanwhile, he had created a band called ‘The Dee Dee Dums,’ along with Dominic Simper and Luke Epstein. In 2007, the band was renamed ‘Tame Impala.’
While on his way to write his last astronomy exam, he was called by ‘Modular Recordings,’ who expressed their interest to sign ‘Tame Impala.’ Parker accepted the offer and started working on his first album. While he was recording his album, his father passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. Parker would later confess that the period after his father’s death was extremely confusing, as he did not know what to make of it.
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‘Tame Impala’ released its debut studio album, ‘Innerspeaker,’ on May 21, 2010. The same year, ‘Innerspeaker’ won the ‘Australian Album of the Year’ award at ‘The J Awards.’ In 2011, it won the ‘Album of the Year’ award at the prestigious ‘Rolling Stone Awards.’ It was also nominated for the ‘Most Popular Album’ award at the ‘WAMI Awards.’
On October 5, 2012, ‘Tame Impala’ came up with its second studio album, ‘Lonerism,’ which received immense critical acclaim. In 2012, the album won the ‘Australian Album of the Year’ award at ‘The J Awards.’ The following year, it won the ‘Album of the Year’ award at the ‘Rolling Stone Australia Awards.’ It also won other awards, such as the ‘Album of the Year’ and the ‘Best Rock Album’ at the 2013 ‘ARIA Awards.’
The band’s third studio album, ‘Currents,’ was released on July 17, 2015. This album too, received critical acclaim and was honored with the ‘Album of the Year’ award and the ‘Best Rock Album’ award at the 2015 ‘ARIA Music Awards.’ It was also nominated for the ‘Best Alternative Music Album’ at the 58th ‘Annual Grammy Awards.’
In October 2018, Parker appeared on the popular American late-night TV show ‘Saturday Night Live,’ where he played bass for rapper Travis Scott, while the latter performed ‘Skeletons & Astrothunder.’ On January 2, 2019, it was announced that ‘Tame Impala’ would headline the 2019 ‘Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’ at the ‘Empire Polo Club’ in Indio, California, US.
Apart from creating music for ‘Tame Impala,’ Kevin Parker has also worked with various other bands. As part of a band called ‘Pond,’ Parker produced the albums ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again,’ ‘Tasmania,’ ‘Hobo Rocket,’ and ‘The Weather.’ He has also worked with many individual artists, such as Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Melody Prochet, Kanye West, and Travis Scott.
Family & Personal Life
Kevin Parker is of mixed ethnicity, as his father was from Zimbabwe and his mother is from South Africa. He has two brothers: Stephan (his paternal half-brother) and Stuart. While Stephan grew up with him in Cottesloe, his older brother, Stuart, chose to stay in Brisbane after his parents got divorced. He also has a half-sister named Helen from his mother's second marriage.
Parker was earlier in a relationship with French singer Melody Prochet. He helped Prochet release her dream project, ‘Melody's Echo Chamber,’ in 2012. After breaking up with her, he started dating Sophie Lawrence. Parker married Sophie Lawrence on February 11, 2019, in Western Australia.