LEONARDTOWN, MD — With his first album reaching 33rd on the iTunes Country Music Charts only three days after it became available, every day feels like an unexpected gift to up-and-coming local country artist Phillip Parsons.
“I put Circle 8 on iTunes so people could have easy access to my music. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would do so well,” said Parsons. “Southern Maryland and my music family across the country literally came together and willed me up the charts.”
Originally from Gainesville, Florida, the 31-year-old artist has lived in the Southern Maryland area for almost two decades.
“I’ve been here since 1997 except for one year I moved back to Florida in 2007,” said Parsons. “I currently live in St. Mary’s County in downtown Leonardtown.”
Parsons realized his musical passion years ago, but the artist put his family before his music for a portion of his life.
“I realized that music was the one passion I always wanted to pursue. Circumstances came up where I had to devote most of my early adulthood to my family, being one of ten children. Now I can pursue those dreams with the support of my family and community,” said Parsons.
With the guitar as his primary instrument, Parsons started playing when he was a young teen.
“I got my first guitar when I was 14. My song ‘Singing to My Songs’ is the full story of how my dream has always been to hear people singing along to my music,” said Parsons. “I would probably compare myself to Dierks Bentley because he’s so down to earth. I can relate to his song ‘I Hold On.’”
Growing up, the up-and-coming country artist listened to mostly Christian music, said Parsons.
“I moved out when I was 16, and I gravitated to country music because I could relate to the stories being told,” said Parsons. “Growing up in rural areas, building homes with my dad and being from a family of 10 kids, country music just feels natural.”
Nashville-based Hilltop Studios produced and released the album three days ago, said Parsons.
“Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton and many other artists have produced their albums with Hilltop Studios,” said Parsons. “Having never been in a studio prior to this, and working in such a famous studio for the first time was amazing.”
The studio was composed of the seven absolute best musicians in the world, said Parsons.
“They had charted out the music and spent a few minutes listening before they did their first take. I went into an isolated room and asked to sing along, so they could hear me performing while they recorded,” said Parsons. “I almost couldn’t sing from the emotion. I had dreamed of the moment I finally got to hear all of my music come together with all the pieces.”
“I think lyrically my favorite song is ‘Singing to my Songs’ because it’s my story and it’s a fun song. My favorite parts of that song are ‘I don’t care how far my music takes me. In this big ol’ world I’m a dime a dozen. I may never be famous, but I follow my dreams. I might be a little crazy, but it’s my right to dream.’”
His favorite song to perform is ‘I’m your Man,’ said Parsons.
“There are a few pauses in that song where people can scream “I’m your man” along with me and it makes it such a blast to perform live,” said Parsons.
Radio stations, record labels and the music industry as a whole uses the iTunes Charts to gauge how captivating an artist can be, said Parsons.
“It’s important that I accomplish my goal of moving up in the charts because I want to move to Nashville and perform with the biggest people in country music.”
Circle 8 is available on multiple music streaming sites, including Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube, said Parsons.
“I’m not on Pandora yet. I will be played on a radio station next week in Delaware,” said Parsons. “I was turned down by a local radio station because they said they only play charting music despite actually being charted and they had literally hundreds of people calling in requesting my songs.”
Another album is in the works, said Parsons.
“I’ll be coming out with another single this summer before releasing another EP in the fall,” said Parsons.
With seven performances scheduled within the next ten days, Parsons performs live frequently.
“I do not have an agent and I am 100 percent independent. This summer I am booked with shows in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and more. I have a full band and many of the upcoming shows will be with very talented musicians.”
All of this is a shock and a blessing at this point, said Parsons.
“If someone was interested in getting into music, I would tell them that one and a half years ago I had no idea that there were people out there that wanted to hear me sing, or be paid to perform, or have the opportunity to record at Hilltop Studios and have an album in the Country top 40,” said Parsons. “You really never know unless you just go all out and give it your all. I dove into this and haven’t looked back.”
The people in Southern Maryland have been absolutely amazing, said Parsons.
“I wake up every single day more and more thankful for every single opportunity. I never thought this was possible. I feel like I can’t lose with all of the amazing people in my life,” said Parsons. “I work harder than ever on my music, but if I never advanced further than where I am today, I’m already further along than I ever thought possible. Every day feels like an unexpected gift.”
For more information about Phillip Parsons and his work, check out his website or download his album here.
Jacqui Atkielski can be contacted via email at email@example.com