Scarlet Parke

Scarlet Parke: How I Became an Independent Singer and Songwriter (#189)

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Our guest today: Scarlet Parke

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Scarlet Parke is a singer and songwriter. Originally from Seattle, WA., Scarlet was introduced to me through my audio producer, docuseries editor German Ceballos. Immediately after listening to her songs on Spotify, I knew I wanted her on the Feisworld Podcast. Why? Scarlet approaches music as not only as a musician, but as a businesswoman, making music a sustainable career.

“Scarlet is a dark and seductive vocal powerhouse that blends the world of blues and pop. Her voice says a million words without you meeting her in person, reminds me of one of my favorite jazz singer, Amy Winehouse.

Scarlet doesn’t have a degree in business or marketing. She learned everything in the real world. Her childhood wasn’t easy. When she was 17, her parents split and she had to take care of her younger siblings with little support. Music had always been part of her life. But it was when life became even more difficult, she realized what it means to be saved and embraced by music.

Show Notes:

  • [05:00] How did you meet with Germán via Instagram?
  • [7:00] How long did it take from starting the idea to buying the plane tickets and shooting the music video?

  • [9:00] What was your initial idea behind Parke Ave, and what is it exactly?
  • [13:00]  What was the beginning stage of Parke Ave? How did it all start?
  • [16:00] What is the venue like? How many people do you usually get?
  • [17:00] What’s the current process for joining?
  • [22:00]  You mentioned that you have to do ‘a little bit of everything’ and that you also enjoy doing it. How do you feel about your role having to do multiple things?
  • [23:00] Your upbringing/origin story had a lot to do with who you are today. Can you share that story with us?
  • [24:00] How did you start singing opera?
  • [29:00] What was going through your head when you were leaving high-school. Where you thinking about college or about getting a job?
  • [30:00] Can you take us back to the beginning of your ‘new music career’. When was that?
  • [33:00] How did YOU change after moving to Seattle? How did that impact your life and music?
  • [36:00] Tell us about your single Moonlight. What is that song about and how did you write it?
  • [42:00] How did you learn all the skills that you have today on your own?
  • [43:00] Do you play any music? How do you write your songs?
  • [50:00] Who are some of your current and past inspirations?
  • [51:00] What’s your vision for Parke Ave in the future? What do you want to do next?

Favorite Quotes:

[11:00] It’s a little bit of everything. It’s a little bit of event planning, it’s a little bit marketing, it’s a little bit of modeling, it’s a little bit of everything! I was just like ‘where can I find the information for this?’. That’s why I started Parke Ave.

[12:00] Artists now are way more responsible [than before], so it is stressful, but it is also not a competition anymore. Every artist has the opportunity to be heard, so I think for the first time artists can help each other…

[14:50] One thing I’ve always really valued was people’s feedback, particularly from another artist to me.

[28:00] It was a rollercoaster for sure. It really opened my eyes to a whole different side of the world that I had no idea about. I was so sheltered. Everything was so easy up until that point in my life…

[42:00] There are two things that I hate, and that is (1) paying for something that I can do myself, and (2) being told that  I can’t do something. That has lead me to everything in my life. I loved singing and I didn’t know it could actually be a profession. But it just kept coming back up.

[43:00] At some point you have to ask yourself ‘what is actually stopping me?, what is in the way?’.  If it’s just me, then I can get the hell out of the way and I can do this. 

Transcript

Scarlet Parke How I Became an Independent Singer and Songwriter – powered by Happy Scribe

Hey. Hello.

How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after top 1% of the world, we dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self made artists.

Thank you.

It’s a little bit of everything. It’s a little bit of event planning. It’s a little bit of marketing. It’s a little bit of modeling. It’s a little bit of this, it’s a little bit of that. And it’s just like, where can you find the information for this? And that’s why I started Park Ave. Artists are just they’re way more responsible. So it is stressful, but it’s also not a competition anymore because every artist has the opportunity to be heard. And so I think for the first time, artists can really help each other. It was a roller coaster for sure, and it really opened my eyes to a whole different side of the world that I just had no idea about. I was so sheltered and thought everything was so easy. Everything was so easy up until that point in my life. I love singing, and I didn’t know that it would necessarily be a profession. Of course, when I was younger, it was always a dream. It just kind of kept coming back up. And at some point, you have to ask yourself, what is actually stopping me from doing this? What is in the way?

If it’s just me, then I can get the hell out of the way, and I can do this.

Hi, there. This is Fei Wu. I’m the host for Feisworld podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in today. I’m very excited because it’s been a while since we last released an interview format podcast. We’ve been so busy working the docuseries and just wait and see. In a couple of minutes, I will let you know a gift we have prepared for you that you get to watch and witness right away. Before that, I want to introduce you to our guest today, Scarlet Park, who is a singer and songwriter originally from Seattle, Washington. Scarlett was introduced to me through my audio producer and also Daquisseera’s editor Herman. Immediately after listening to her songs on Spotify, I knew I wanted her on the Face World podcast. Why? Scarlett approaches music not only as a musician, but as a businesswoman, making music a sustainable career. Scarlett is a dark and seductive vocal powerhouse that blends the world of blues and pop. Her voice says a million words without you meeting her in person. I still enjoy listening to Amy Winehouse, and I couldn’t help comparing the two. Scarlett doesn’t have a degree in business or marketing. Instead, she learned everything in the real world.

Her childhood wasn’t easy. When she was 17, her parents split, and she had to take care of her younger siblings and raise them as an adult. Music had always been part of her life, but it was in that moment she realized what it means to be saved and embraced by music. You may have noticed a number of other musicians appeared on Phase World, including Irini Tornasaki from Greece, I mean, Wave from Holland, jesse Mock from La, just to name a few. Although music has never been my profession, I’ve come a long way from being a listener, an occasional karaoke fan, to rely on music as part of my career and business as a podcaster, a docuseries filmmaker. Music is everywhere, and it makes our stories come alive. Audio or video? Our listeners, well, that’s you have highly requested interviews with creative people in fields such as Art and Music to share their stories. How do you do what you love and love what you do? We found Scarlett to be a wonderful example. In this episode, you will learn how Scarlett transferred her knowledge from one arena to another. She acquired skills in a previous industry completely unrelated to music.

To start Park Avenue, a community for musicians in Seattle. Hey, before we get started, as I promised earlier, this little gift I prepared for you, our docu series is still in postproduction. I can’t wait to share it with you. Before then, we have a prerelease ready for you to check out. Simply visit feisworld.com. Feisworld. Top of the browser you will notice a bar where you can enter your email and watch the prerelease the entire episode number one. Without further ado, please welcome Scarlett Park to the Phase Feisworld Podcast. I will see you at the end of the show.

How did you meet Herman? Via Instagram. How did that go?

You know, I guess he found me on the Discover page like a year ago. I started really diving into social media and branding and marketing and kind of discovering myself as more of an established business, not just a local singer to Seattle. I really wanted to try and reach outside of my little circle, and he somehow found me through some sort of magic. And he reached out to me and said, I listen to your music. I really liked it, and I would like to link up with you and send you a song. And I work with this artist named Dodik, and maybe there’s a collaboration in there. And I was stoked because I had just released my very first EP. Yeah. And he sent me the beat. And a year later, I just got back from meeting him and shooting a music video in Barcelona.

Wow, that’s incredible. When I think about making things happen. How long did it take between, okay, this is an idea to let’s book some hotels and buy some plane tickets?

Yeah, well, okay, so it all kind of works like super coincidentally. It was just one of those situations where everything kind of fell into place in the craziest way. Some call it luck, some call it God, but either way, it was super awesome. And so basically, he sent me the song a year ago, I wrote something, sent it back to him. A couple of months later, we do kind of the back and forth, back and forth for a little bit. And maybe seven months, eight months later, I hear back from him and he said, hey, the people that are kind of funding this project really like the song, and we want to do a music video for it. And I’m thinking like, okay, they’re going to come to Seattle or whatever. By this time, I had started dating my current boyfriend Marco, who is just everything. He’s so great. He’s a professional videographer. We met while he was filming me performing. And we both just have this, like, fiery passion for, like, creating. And her mom was like, yeah, I’ve been following you. And actually your boyfriend is an amazing videographer, and we want to hire him to film the music video.

I was like, what? That’s so crazy. How insane that worked out like that. And yeah, everything fell together, and we went two weeks early, and then we met Toddik and we have our song One More. It was just crazy. It was just a fabulous experience all the way around.

Yeah. Speaking which, you’re the talent, right, in this project, but also related to what you do for other artists. Because bringing that and creating that community is really key to making sure that everyone can be not just successful, but everyone has a chance to share their voices. And especially, I think, for independent artists. People who aren’t artists don’t realize how much work that goes into their everyday lives. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to jump and ask you about your idea behind Park Avenue and for people, for listeners. We have never heard of it. What is Park Avenue?

Park Avenue was created when I threw out my back and was unable to walk. And I am such a social person that it really made me dig deep and think of, like, I wish there was a way, if somebody’s unable, whether it’s like social anxiety or they’re actually physically crippled, to get out and still find information and be connected to the scene. In Seattle, even if you do go out, you’re never able to reach every show. You’re never able to reach every artist that you want to meet. Like, every day I’m learning of a new artist around the city. And networking is really imperative to being any type of artist, any type of business, really. Life is networking, but very much so in the music industry, because music industry is still running off of person to person referrals. I mean, it is very stone age. So we’re just now passing into this new era of Instagram and Twitter, and these things have been around for a couple of years, but now that we’re kind of over the flash effect of them, people are starting to realize what great tools they are for business. And I personally view my instagram as a visual resume, instead of just a fun place to like, look what I’m doing.

You can now connect with people from all over the world, which did happen. So I just really wanted to share what I had learned because I have done it all myself. And it was kind of a nightmare learning everything myself. I mean, there’s just so much, there’s so much. And it’s not something that you could really learn in a school. Even if you go to school for music, you’re getting taught about the mathematics of music. You’re getting taught how to teach music to other people. You’re not getting any real life experience on how to go to a show, set up, you know, network with people, the proper introductions to make to people, how to find a good producer, what you’re looking for in a studio, how to market yourself properly. I mean, it’s a little bit of everything, it’s a little bit of event planning, it’s a little bit of marketing, it’s a little bit of modeling, it’s a little bit of this, it’s a little bit of that. And it’s just like gosh, like, where can you find the information for this? And that’s why I started Park Ave because I really, really would love it.

To become after time and content and people really participating the go to place for an artist to find what they’re looking for by somebody who’s done it, not just going to a seminar by, no offense, some guy who was famous in the 80s. It’s not applicable anymore. It’s just not. Artists can now self release their music on multiple platforms. Artists, they’re way more responsible. So it is stressful, but it’s also not a competition anymore because every artist has the opportunity to be heard. And so I think for the first time, artists can really help each other.

Wow. There’s no better way to say that. And we are seeing that now through every industry. Whether it’s your modern type of music, jazz music, and I know you have background in opera as well, but as a podcaster, I build my own community. A year ago, at some point, I thought, that’s a lot of work, maybe people I was just telling a client I thought it could exist, it didn’t have to. But now the moment I thought I was going to quit that the members from the group was like, no, we’ll take whatever, we’ll do whatever it takes to keep that running.

Yeah.

So what has some of your experience been so far? Like the interactions and I want you to share the fact and tell people that you don’t need 1000 person tribe to start this thing and to provide value. What was the beginning stage like?

Yeah, so the beginning stage, we’re still technically, in my eyes, the beginning stage. We just launched in January. Our launch party was it was pretty popping. I’ve been throwing parties around the city for a while I was a wedding planner for eight years before this. And it was wellreceived, but totally not what I expected after that. People were really excited to hear about it. And we have, of course, an influx of people wanting to join the app because it is membership, like exclusive, only you have to be an active artist. And we are kind of cracking down on that a little more too, because we do want it to be a very serious place where people feel safe sharing their secrets, like how they did things. So this isn’t just for some random person to come in and take the thing that you worked really hard to figure out. So it’s been, of course, like, I think any new business, it’s been a little bit of pivoting and figuring out. Each month we do a social and every month I get feedback from people. You know, this was really great. This not so much. We’re now at the point where I think we have the framework of what the events are going to be.

And one thing that I’ve always really valued was people’s feedback from another artist to me. And it’s usually kind of an awkward thing because it can come off kind of like bitchy in some cases or judgy, and maybe it’s not meant to be that way, but artists are just so sensitive, myself included. Like, nobody wants to hear, like, yeah, I saw that you tried that dance move, but it just didn’t hit. Nobody wants to hear that, but people need to hear that. And in order to grow, you have to get that feedback. And I feel like it would be way better to hear it from another artist than from somebody tweeting about it on Twitter or if you were just to keep doing this thing and everybody hates it, but nobody’s telling you like, what the hell? So our mixers now are we have a featured hustler and it’s like a local artist that is totally killing it and different genres or just could be anything. And then we invite we do an hour and a half of open mic at the beginning and the featured hustler gives every person that performs feedback, like very honest feedback, like, hey, your lyrics were great, maybe work on your rhythm, or whatever it is.

What is the venue like? Because this is a live event where people actually come together and there’s live, constructive critiques and, you know, what’s the size of the venue? How many people do you usually get?

So we do it at a different venue every month because, again, one of the biggest parts of Park Ave is integrating into new circles and networking. So I try and do it in a different neighborhood every month at a live music venue, and it’s usually on a Sunday or a Monday, which are never booked and it’s really good for artists to attend. Our attendance is usually between 40 and 80 depending on runway of how long I had to promote. Like this month I’m running behind because I guess I just got back from the trip and 40 to 80 people.

Are they all members?

I would say about 75% are members, and they’ll begin about 25% trickle in, like from just advertising, promotions. And the really cool thing is that a lot of people come back and bring new people. So it seems like it is the idea is working and it is spreading. I do my own marketing by going to other open mics, and my business cards are just networking cards that on one side say Park AV Networking for Musicians. And we flip it over, it says, hey, I heard you’re a badass. And so they’re meant to just with no name. It doesn’t have a name on it or anything. It’s just meant to give to people to let them know, hey, you’re a badass and you want to be a part of this community of supportive artists.

So I noticed that you have the request to join the member space. I love this process because you will vet people before just anybody, people who are crazy and don’t want to do the work to be part of the community. What is that process like? And then is it I assume it’s somewhat affordable. Like what is the, what is the pricing structure like? Because there’s an entrepreneurial aspect of a.

Free community, artists don’t have to pay anything and they never will. Park Ave makes money by connecting brands with artists and connecting artists with venues. And so we do bookings specifically right now we’re doing Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Seattle, and we will be booking music there year round. So that’s what kind of supports Park Ave right now. Plus we’ll be looking to add on some other sponsors that we’re working on right now, which is very exciting, like brand sponsorships, whether it’s water or alcohol or just being able to connect hyper local brands with that city’s favorite artist to promote their product will help them and the artists reach new ears, eyes, mouths, people.

Wow. In itself a very established consulting service.

I’m so glad you mentioned that you were a wedding planner for eight years. So there are your project management skills, event planning skills, which frankly a lot of people don’t have. I worked twelve years as a project manager, but honestly, I don’t even know how to plan an event. Like events in particular would drive me nuts. Like even going to an event to see when the pieces are not connected.

Yeah. I feel like my whole life has just been kind of a puzzle of these random things that I was thrown into that have all finally come together. That’s what it feels. This last year has just felt like, okay, I finally know what I want to do, what I’m doing. I never thought I would be there I was so sick of just I’m like, God, I’m like, you know, I’ve been through this and I’ve been through that and like, how are all these things going to connect? I’m a singer and a performer. I’m a wedding planner. I’m a bartender. I’m really into graphic design. I also love marketing and advertising. I’m like, God, these things are all so disjointed and they’re not connected. It was really funny how it all came together and I had no intention of starting a business and it’s awesome. I love it.

I too was in your shoes in a way that I did so many different things and I’m originally from Beijing, China, and the path I had always envisioned was working for consulting. And I speak the second language that’s getting so popular. Like you said, event planning, project management and graphic design. How that fits is instead of spending hundreds and thousands of dollars asking other people to design these banners, these marketing materials for you, you’re doing it all on your own and getting better at it. So to be I don’t know. How do you feel about the fact that people who are multitrick ponies are that much more likely to ease into entrepreneurial ship because they are less likely to rely on 18 other people to do what they do?

Poly hyphenates, actually, I think is the term for it. I wish that everyone could do it and I wish that everyone would try to do it and not let themselves get overwhelmed. I was this close to just being like, you know what, I’m a good wedding planner. I’m just going to do this. This is great. I make good money. It’s easy. I’m used to it. You know, I have a comfortable job like all of that. And I don’t know what I honestly don’t know what the turning point was with that. I think it was just the fear of looking back and being like, what if I tried to do this crazy thing? And it’s like, what if it fails? Guess what? I’m a great wedding planner.

You can always go back to your old job. Even for people who don’t do perhaps we’re necessarily interested in everything that we do. Marketing and design and project management. You can still hone in on the skills you have and say, just branch out a little bit or work with a friend who may possess skills that you really need for a new business. There is always a way in. And let’s talk about your background a little bit. People may be wondering at this point. Tell us about your upbringing. I know that your childhood and your upbringing had a lot to do with who you are and where you are today.

Yeah, my childhood had a great start. My mom and dad were fiery couple. I’m the oldest. I was a single child until I was seven and then my dad was in the military and everything was very structured. My mom was a great PTA mom. And things really went, I guess, pretty normally, quote unquote. I bounced around. I’ve always had an interest in a million things. One year I was playing soccer, one year I was swimming, the other year I was doing ballet, and the next year I wanted to do basketball. But when I was 16, my parents split. And it was like the worst, I think, divorce ever that I’ve been around, having had other friends with their parents that split. It was bad and it really shattered my reality when I was 16, trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted to do with my life. I had been singing in choirs and church and I did opera, as you mentioned, when I was twelve.

Not what I’m about. I don’t think anybody just stepped into opera.

I was singing in my choir and in my church choir, in the pastor was like, you know, we think that she has a really good voice, she has potential that but she really needs some training. You know, I was just all over the place. I was a kind of a hard to wrangle person. I’m a lot calmer now that I’m a little older and been on my own for a while. But when I was a kid, I was totally a rocket off the walls everywhere. So I think that was an attempt to really put some structure into making me take singing more seriously. And I hated it because it was so structured, so many rules with opera stand up strike, breathing through here and blah, blah, blah, and we can’t wear heel. I don’t know, it was just way too much for me. And the competition was like, so stressful. I was like, look, I just like, sing. I don’t want to be like, memorizing somebody else’s lyrics and I have to pronounce the vowels this way or I’m going to be docked five points. So that’s when I discovered jazz. And in high school I started singing in the jazz choir.

And so as I’m really finding my voice is when my parents split and I started to really, really dive into writing and trying to cope with everything that was going on. My dad completely left. My mom fell off the deep end. I had no idea where she was either. And so it was me staying with my sisters and my brother moved up here. And so it was just me and my siblings kind of like fending for ourselves for probably a good six, seven months or a year.

Well, in that you’re only 16, so you are not an adult, but you were taking up a very adult role trying to raise your siblings.

Yeah, so I think by the time I was about halfway through, I was at the end of my junior year, about to go into my senior year, and my grades had just plum limited, like, to the bottom and everybody’s like, what the hell is going on? You know, everything was great. I was great. I was like 3.84.0 student and I was lucky I graduated because my goal was to really try and shelter my sisters from what was going on. They’re much younger than me, seven and ten years younger than me, so they are way younger. What’s going on? Where’s mom? We did see my mom and my dad. They were drunk or high or whatever and it’s just awful. And I’m very open with this because it really did teach me a lot and I don’t think people realize how many people have had things like this happen to them. And I’ve talked extensively with my parents about it and they know that I’m going to be very open about it. Which is actually good that we’re finally at that point because for years and years I didn’t talk to my parents. Yeah. And so yeah, I definitely felt like I raised myself past 16.

I moved out right when I turned 18. I graduated by the grace of God. I wrote a letter to my dean explaining everything that happened, why I hadn’t been in school, and they let me graduate on time, which was great. It was a roller coaster for sure. And it really opened my eyes to a whole different side of the world that I just had no idea about. I was so sheltered and thought everything was so easy up until that point in my life.

So what I was thinking is this category that has been thriving on our podcast, which whenever we go through transitions and we reflect upon our own lives, it always feels so sheltered. We feel very much alone and in a way we are alone that we are the only ones with our own unique experiences. But at the same time there’s always these many versions of other stories sometimes happening in parallel at that exact same time as we’re experiencing all the difficulties, a normal 17 year old, 18 year old will be thinking about college, what to major? But you’re trying to survive, right? And then you’re trying to not only survive on your own, but you had much younger siblings to take care of and to think about, to care for. What was going through your head at the time when you were leaving high school, did you think about college or did you think about let me get a job and I need to be very real with my situation?

Yeah, I briefly thought about college. I did go to community college when I was 19, I applied for a scholarship and I was actually somebody reached out to me and said, you know, you need to keep singing, you should try, you know, you can probably get a scholarship at this college. And I did, I got a scholarship for singing, which was great because I wasn’t going to qualify for financial aid because my dad was in the military. And for some reason, there was this just stupid caveat of like for some reason, unless my school was getting paid for by somebody else, I wasn’t going to be able to go. So I went to school and that kind of helped me get my life together because from 18 to 19, I moved in with some boyfriend and I worked at a call center for Sprint and gained a lot of weight and was just like I just felt I remember just getting so hopeless. And it was after that that I broke up with the guy. Thank God he cheated on me. And, you know, I was like, I’m out of here, screw this, and, you know, started hanging out with my best friend, Samantha.

Met her and she was kind of going through her, like, angsty thing, too. And it’s just crazy how things happened.

Could you maybe take us to the beginning of your new music career where you started to see possibly now it’s after the fact as the more pivotal point or the beginning of seeing it as a career and actually inserted effort in kind of marching towards that path?

Yeah. So after I dated the guy, the drummer, I really got a taste for what it was like. We played shows all over the place and he really ignited this passion. And I think I never really had faith in myself that I could be a lead singer of anything. You know, I’d always sang in these choirs and, you know, I just had never really taken that step. And he really pushed me to do that, which was great. And after we broke up, I was devastated because I felt like he was the one person that saw what I could do, helped me get there. And when we broke up, I was just shattered. I felt like the dream wasn’t going to happen. He was my drummer. This is kind of classic. The band breaks up and everything’s over. So it wasn’t until I was 23 and I was going to meet some friends in Seattle for some drinks, and I ran into this and this girl Maria, who we had been friends in high school and had some falling out over a guy or something. We used to share lockers in high school. It’s been years now and, hi, how are you?

I leave. I don’t really think anything of it. And then I get a text or a call or something from her that says, you know what, it was great to see you. You need to get out of the tiny town that you’re living in because you’re not going to go anywhere. I’m 23. I’m still living in the shitty town that I’m from, right? And she’s like, Are you still singing? And I said, no, I gave up on that. It’s stupid. I’m over it. And she’s like, well, that just doesn’t make sense. You should be singing. And I was. Like, okay, well, I’m just shit out of luck. I work at a coffee shop. I’m alone. And so she calls me and she’s like, you know what? I live in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Seattle, and I want you to come and live with me until you find a job, whatever you need. I know that we haven’t been friends since high school or whatever, but I really believed in you, and I really want you to move up to Seattle. And I was just kind of shoved off. I was like, no thanks.

I’m doing fine. I don’t need your hand out help, whatever. I’m kind of stubborn sometimes, and I thought about it, thought about it, thought about it. And then I called her and I said, Text me your address. And I drove up there with literally two garbage bags of clothes. That’s all I had. And that’s how I got to Seattle.

So tell us, give us an idea of how did Seattle change for you? What was the scenery and what was I know it’s sometimes really hard to summarize. There’s, like, the physical stuff, and there is what’s there structurally, but I think there’s a lot of emotional transitions as well to what the possibilities well, God.

For me, it just felt like I had been yanked out of a black hole. Like, I didn’t know anyone. Nobody knew me as the girl with the fucked up family. Just nobody knew me. And in the town that I was, it was a very public, dramatic divorce. Everybody knew, and everybody saw me fall apart, and I was a mess. Everybody knew it. I knew it, and I knew that everyone else knew it. And it was just kind of I was very ashamed, and I didn’t want to be that person, but I didn’t have whatever to get out of that out of my own head. So for me, it was great. It felt like every day was a sunny day. It felt like I could be whoever I wanted to be. I could wear whatever I wanted to wear. I could change my name if I wanted to. It was just a very great feeling. And I got hired at two places, like, within a couple of days. I got hired at this bar called The Ballroom, which I actually worked there for four years. And it was amazing. I met lifelong friends there, and it was just exactly what I needed, a complete change of atmosphere.

And having one person say, I think that you should be doing that. I think that you are going to do more with your life. And to have it be from somebody that I hadn’t talked to in years, that was, to me, really shook me to my core. And I still think about that all the time, how that was the moment that really changed my entire life.

There are a lot of love moments that are huge to us on our milestone. But when you look at them, there are those micro moments. Sometimes it’s just something could be a word, it could be a single sentence somebody said to you. I remember the same thing of a colleague, like a coworker, telling me that you have this friend, your friend is making you very unhappy, but you’re the happiest person I know, so I don’t think you should be friends with that person anymore. And I really shook my core to realize that, wow, somebody changed my identity. And it’s a part of identity that I’m not only proud of, but it was making everybody else happy. So why should I be miserable? Just to fit in, right?

Wow.

Exactly like you said. But until this point, I’m stunned by your music. The video. I’ve been watching you on YouTube, but I also went to Scarletpark.com, your website, and I believe that’s your new single, right? Yes, moonlight. So that is beautiful. That’s been performing really well, spotify YouTube everywhere. Could you tell us about the origin of that song, how it came about? And did you write it too?

It’s so funny. Yes, I write all of my music and I do, quote unquote, cop produce. I help pick all the sounds. I don’t know how the actual programs work, but I write all of the songs with not just lyrics, but music as well. And it’s funny that you talk about having a friend that changes your identity because that’s exactly what that song is about. As I get to Seattle, continuing the story, I end up falling into this group of people that I think I always wish I was part of this group of people, you know, very cool. Like, they dress everybody’s really pretty and they dress nice and god, it was just such a love hate friendship all the time with this group of people. It was just sometimes you’re having the best time with everyone. The other time, it’s like just constant drama and back talking and backstabbing and just so much stuff that I never thought I’d be a part of. And this whole album, which the album name is called, is Flight Risk. I actually haven’t released the name of it yet, but I’m happy to say it here. So it’s called flight risk.

And the definition of a flight risk is somebody who is willing to leave any circumstance for a better option. And my whole life I was called that post divorce me because I was always moving. Just doesn’t feel good, whatever. And as I said before, I finally feel like I’ve arrived at the place that feels good, and it feels like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And this record is just a tribute to all of the places and things and people that I shouldn’t have been around but needed to and how they brought me to where I am. So moonlight is about this group of people that I was so attached to and so in love with the idea of them that it was really hard to walk away. And they were really nasty about it and made me feel really crazy for just being myself. You know, there was a breakup involved and they totally, like, gaslighted me into being the crazy girl. And in doing that, I purposely went to the total edge and did insane things. And there’s a song, my actual next song that comes out is called Man Like You.

And it’s about this guy who pushed me to the edge of my sanity and I went crazy and I broke into his house and moonlight is about how I confronted those people in their face. And I was like, look at what you look at what you guys are like. Do you see how toxic this is? Do you see that we were friends for years? And the second that you have to abandon me, you do. Do you see that? And so I collided with the earth and met my maker in the eyes. I should have turned to go, but I love trouble. That’s the chorus of the song. And it’s just about meeting the maker in the eye just means looking them in their face instead of instead of necessarily taking the high road. I tried to level with these people and how sometimes that doesn’t work.

It’s a beautiful thing to talk about because a lot of people are still in the dark. They don’t understand. When they call a group of people might, people with that, it really entails. And then they need to feel safe. Not just understood because you could still be with somebody, a very close relationship with someone who doesn’t quite fully underget you, understand you. But I think when you don’t feel like that save environment exists can be very, very toxic. Or people behave in front of you one way and behind your back another way. The thing you just like, very gently said, oh, yeah, you know, I write my own music. The music and also the lyrics and, you know, no problem. So I’m intrigued by self learners, self starters. And when people think about music, I think the reason for not many more people do music in any way sing or dance or write music is because they think it takes a professional to do it. And maybe true in some cases, but how did you acquire these skills? For one, that you didn’t go to some fancy college, right, to say, somebody gave me the permission or taught me for four years and $250,000 later.

How do you learn these skills on your own?

There are two things that I inherently hate and that is paying for something that I can do myself and being told that I can’t do something. And that is what has led me to everything in my life. I love singing and I didn’t know that it would necessarily be a profession. Of course, when I was younger, it was always a dream, christina Aguilera or whatever, but it just kind of kept coming back up. And at some point, you know, you have to ask yourself, what is actually stopping me from doing this? What is in the way? If it’s just me, then I can get the hell out of the way, and I can do this. And I don’t know. I think, like I said before, I’m just very stubborn, and it works against me, and it works for me, and it’s a little bit of both. I’ve always really, really loved music, down to my core, and I started out writing poems because it really helped me sort out my thoughts. It feels like my thoughts are just alphabet soup in my head, and then as soon as I get a pen to paper, it’s like they make sense after I write them.

It’s the weirdest thing. Like, I write down, and for me, I’m really focusing on just one line at a time, and it’ll come out, you know, like, put my head down, shuffle my feet. You’ll never get the best of me. I don’t know where it came from, but it goes line by line, and it’s more like therapy than it is sitting down to try and write a song.

Do you play any instruments? I mean, how do you record the music?

I play piano, so I taught myself piano when I was 20. But, you know, I definitely do hire, like, quote, unquote, professional. But in my opinion, music is not something that can be taught. It’s just not. Painting a true masterpiece is not something that is precise. Everything about art is the flaws and the process of getting there.

Yeah, I love it. It’s interesting that you said that. We oftentimes are the ones who are stopping ourselves, and I can think of anyone and everything for it to be the case as trivial as the sounds. But removing ourselves and unblocking ourselves are really difficult things to do. And one of my most recent examples is probably the documentary I’m producing. And I spent most of August thinking to myself in moments where I thought, well, I didn’t know how expensive it’s going to be. Well, I didn’t realize I’ll be how much hassle I didn’t as a project manager, I couldn’t even envision or put together 80% of the trouble I’m going through. And then I realized somebody said to me yesterday, if I knew all these things going in, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t be in the trouble right now. So maybe not knowing everything, I didn’t have enough time.

The best way to do it, I mean, really jumping in blindly, it’s like, you’ll figure it out. You’re not going to die. That’s the thing. No, you’re not going to die. And I remember somebody said that to me, are you going to die if you go? Are you literally going to die if you do? This? And I was like, no. They’re like, what’s the problem? You’re going to figure it out. And you might look like an asshole. You might look silly, or you might be embarrassed, or what’s the worst that’s going to happen? And until the answer is, well, I could die, and I could realistically die, like, I’m probably just going to keep trying new things.

Yeah. I mean, I think at the very same time, even though my parents didn’t go through divorce themselves, I highly encourage them consider that because I thought they would be much, much happier if they were separated. But they didn’t listen to me. It’s for real. But when I was 17, I came to this country by myself and five other kids who were 15 at the time. And think about it. When you said embarrassing myself, that’s hard for somebody in her thirty s to do. Like, oh, I’m just going to embarrass myself on purpose. But when you’re 17, you’re speaking a whole new language which was not rooted in anything even remotely similar to Chinese at the time. None of us could tell the difference between I need a sheet on my bed versus I need a shit on my bed, because those two words sound identical to us. So we’ve gone a long way. We really did. I mean, that’s not even so I wanted to ask, as you were talking about music, when you after you write a piece of music on your napkin, back of the envelope or whatever, and now you got to talk to your guitar player, somebody else who may be playing a different piece or your chorus, how do you communicate that?

Do they change part of the music? Do they try to make it better? Sassier at certain elements, yeah.

So I write out charts, which is basically just the visuals. It’s just sheet music. Not to that extent, but I write it out. And I also send a demo. I just record a demo on my phone and then I say, here’s the chord. With live musicians, they would usually play it different every time. Except when I did have a solid band for two years and we played everywhere, it was awesome. But I just recently retired my band to pursue pop music. So now I write songs and I just send them to my producer and I send him a reference track of what it sounded like with my band. But we’re not really trying to recreate everything, you know, to sound like my band more to just have that as, like, maybe an idea. So it’s really interesting because my producer, Jake Crocker, is amazing. He basically takes my little demo recording and builds an entire song around it. The beat, all the instruments, like, everything. And then we do our sessions via FaceTime, like this.

My God.

And it’s really cool because he just does his thing and I just have my headphones in and I hear I’m kind of building up the song and we can say, let’s add some horns here or let’s add this or not that. And we have been having live musicians come in and play because I think, obviously I come from very organic sounds and so I want to have that aspect in there and it’s just yeah, it always changes anytime that somebody touches it. It’s really interesting. It’s all about finding the right people. I mean, it’s like a relationship. Absolutely.

I love the progress of trying new things and not calling them mistakes, but improving upon it. I think so many people still in the modern day world don’t know what it even feels like when you work in a fulltime job and needing 16 approvals before anything sees the light of day. It’s a shame. Who are some of your inspirations? I know we’re running a little over time. I’ll close with a couple of questions.

Honestly, I’m loving Dua lipa right now. She is so hot right now and I just love watching her Instagram stories. She’s super candid. And I’m really loving the artists that are embodying kind of themselves as more than just an artist. Local artist, Paris Alexa, I think she’s going to just blow up. She’s awesome. I met her randomly a couple of months ago and then we’ve just stayed connected and hopefully one day we’ll do a song together. It’s always just like random, like one song that I hear and I’m so bad about writing them down.

First of all, I didn’t realize how soon, how not so long ago you started Park Avenue, and I wanted to know where you like to take this thing next. What is your vision in the near or far future?

Something that I think about very, very often. It’s hard to say at this point because my music is ramping up pretty quickly. So I’m not sure how much, even if I wanted to, how much I could really dedicate if things go really well with music, if I was doing it full time. My plan was, and technically still is, to partner with alternative high schools and start an internship program. So a lot of alternative high schools are schools for students that come from broken homes, are addicted to drugs or have been our teen parents. And I actually connected with an alternative high school last year. And one of the students, her name is Kira, has been interning with me for a year and she gets school credit for it and I get a free intern and she like, helps me completely with park out. She’s amazing. So my goal would be to kind of continue on by offering more opportunities to the members, but also expanding to other parts of the community, like the schools and that sort of thing.

That’s awesome. That’s a beautiful answer. I totally unexpected, but I’m a huge fan of internships. I’ve started a couple of them on my own, hiring high school students into marketing agencies. That’s wonderful.

It’s awesome because these schools are willing to offer credit to these students for going in and especially interning with musicians. It’s not something that exists, really, right now. Musicians don’t really have interns because musicians are poor and can’t afford them. And, you know, in the same kind of parallel, like, these alternative students don’t have the same opportunities to intern with those regular, I guess, quote unquote, regular jobs that maybe would be available to some other high school students. So it’s kind of a cool little, like, misfit internship where these students are not only getting to learn maybe some music tips and stuff, but like we talked about before, you know, musicians are wearing all the hats these days. So Kira has learned how to write a booking email. She’s learned how to run sound, she’s learned event planning. She’s learned all these kind of different things that go into being an artist. Social media, branding, and all of that. So I really, really would love to make that happen with Park AV.

Absolutely. And to bridge the gap into the farther future. When it comes to money, it’s a real issue. But like you said, a lot of these companies unfortunately won’t consider some of these students at their first choice. Right. It’s crazy. I’ve doubted with a lot of these kids, you need travel abroad experience, you need to speak a third language, and it’s just crazy. These kids never had the opportunity to do that in the first place. Yeah, but I think maybe down the road there is that nonprofit or not for profit, you can start a foundation of some sort. That’s when you can connect with the companies who support your endeavor and just to throw it out there, because then that will resolve the money issue that you will be getting paid for however long you’re running the internships. And then the companies do that for one, they’re doing good, and for two, in a way, that saves them tax money as well. I almost want to say this, but the intention is it’s a winwin for yeah, exactly. That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for all this. I really look forward to seeing you.

Yeah, thank you. I’m sorry it took a while.

Thank you so much.

Hi there, it’s me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you enjoyed what you heard, it would be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Phase Roll podcast. It literally takes seconds. If you are on your mobile phone, just search for Phase Role podcast in the Podcast app on the iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.

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