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Interview: Christian Parker

Christian Parker “Diamond Sailor” (classic rock)

Press Release:

If you found a buried treasure, would your problems be solved? Not necessarily. As a famous band once told us, money can’t buy love. Esteem, too – there’s no price on that. Direction, motivation, and a sense of purpose all come from within.

Deep down, we know this. That’s why every treasure hunt in every book and movie is a metaphor for an internal search: an excavation meant to unlock dormant dimensions of the searcher. In the stirring clip for “Diamond Sailor,” the newest single from New York artist Christian Parker, the main character digs for his fortune. Instead of a chest stuffed with gold, he unearths a guitar. That six-string turns out to be more valuable to him than all the money in the world.

Christian Parker certainly knows the worth of a musical instrument. Best Kept Secret, his most recent album, is a testament to his songwriting smarts, sensitivity, and formidable knowledge of musical history. Echoes of ELO, Crowded House, Badfinger, and, of course, The Beatles are audible in every beautifully appointed track. His lyrics, too, are filled with classic themes: aspirations, desires fulfilled and unfulfilled, overcoming hardship, and listening to your inner voice. But Parker’s got a compositional voice all his own that he’s been honing for years and which sounds refreshingly modern. He’s a traditionalist with plenty to say to a contemporary audience and an appreciator of landmark albums with something to add to his sources.

“Diamond Sailor” epitomizes his approach. It’s a song with great harmonic and melodic richness, and it showcases his imaginative guitar work and his radiant vocals. But it’s not just ear candy. The track is about the chase for fulfillment that everybody must face. Parker – or his likeness – appears in Morgan Elliott’s animated clip for “Diamond Sailor,” and he performs the song with the poise and dignity that characterizes all of his work. But the star of the clip is a boy whose future is wide open but who struggles to define himself in a difficult world. When first we see him, he’s playing piano on a rowboat: a dreamlike image that speaks to the central role of music in his unconscious. We watch him play air guitar on a tennis racket in his suburban bedroom. But by the time he reaches young adulthood, he finds himself trapped in an office job, enslaved to the rhythms of the work week. When he unearths that red guitar, it’s not only an instrument of pleasure and personal expression he’s found. It’s also a tool of liberation.

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How have your Canton roots and upbringing shaped your musical taste and sound as an artist? When did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue professionally?

I grew up 30 miles from the USA / Canadian border.  Canton is a small college town in St. Lawrence County.  While growing up here there was a music scene here and a music store called Northern Music.  Many fine players and teachers were accessible which made it easy to develop as a player. My very first guitar lesson was the day after John Lennon died and I learned Rocky Racoon in December of 1980.

Who are some of the musicians you admire? Do you ever refer to them as a source of inspiration for your own creations?

I admire the Beatles, Bob Dylan and many other pioneers that paved the way for modern music.  Another artist I feel represents my personal benchmark as an artist is Neil Finn of Crowded House. 

How did you come up with the overall concept for the song “Diamond Sailor”? Was there a particular moment or issue that was the source material?

Initially the song was inspired by someone I knew who was chasing succuss and money.  He was so caught up with making money he lost focus and his personal relationships started to suffer.

“Diamond Sailor’s” visuals are mesmerizing! Can you explain the process of creating the concept for the music video? Why was this approach the best way to reflect the message of the song?

 When I was a kid, I remember seeing The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ so I asked the video producer to create it as an animation creation.  We wanted it to feel like a cosmic experience traveling through time and space. The video was created using green screens and a real child actor as well as myself.  Morgan Elliott, the producer used a watercolor technique for the final effect.

“Fame can cost more than the price… for now just say goodbye to a world of greed and lies” is such a powerful sentiment. What do you hope listeners will take away from these “Diamond Sailor” lyrics or others throughout the track?

Hopefully the message resonates with the listeners and the takeaway to never lose sight to what is important in life.  Money & fame can be intoxicating but always comes with a high cost.


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