Every week, Entertainment South Wales regular feature – My Music DNA will shine a light on musicians, singers and people connected with the music industry and discover the songs that have inspired them on their musical journey.
This week we feature Welsh singer/songwriter Darren Parry who has won the UK Songwriting Contest, achieved two USA Song Of The Year contest runner up positions, received awards from Billboard, while performing with or sharing the bill with such luminaries as Bryn Terfel, Michael Ball, Donny Osmond and Scouting For Girlls.
Recently he has collaborated with hit songwriter James Warren of The Korgis (writer of worldwide smash Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime), and hosts a podcast series called Music Matters.
Here, Darren discusses his Music DNA with Andy Howells.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
In 1984 (I was 9, but don’t tell anyone) I saw the film Footloose and loved it, so I went out and bought the soundtrack the next day from Woolworths! The whole album was co-written by the great talent of Dean Pitchford (he wrote the screenplay for Footloose and also worked on Fame).
Some great songs on that album but the one that really stood out for me that I would play on my parents record player more than the others was… Kenny Loggins I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man). Wonderful song, Kenny Loggins still is kick ass today. Amazing singer and songwriter.
What was the first single you bought?
I’d bought albums before this but the first single I can remember buying anyway was Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. Co-written with one of my song writing heroes… Desmond Child. ‘Gina’ in the song refers to Desmond’s girlfriend at the time whose nickname was ‘Gina Lollobrigida’ as she looked like the Italian actress! The original male character was also ‘Johnny’ in the song, but Jon said he couldn’t sing Johnny (as it was his name) so it was changed to ‘Tommy’!
What was the first album you owned?
First album I ever bought I think was a funny one… it was the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet soundtrack (from WHSmith’s) with That’s Livin’ Alright by Joe Fagin on there! Me and my mother used to watch it together in the early 80’s in the evenings (a Friday night I think) on TV!
What’s your constant go to track?
Wow, that’s a hard one to pick as I go to many tracks, but I tell you one song I play that always lifts my mood if I’m feeling a bit lethargic or a bit down… It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock n Roll by AC/DC… what a song! It’s impossible to listen to it without feeling better! It’s not often you hear bagpipes in a rock song!
What’s your constant go to album?
Again, that’s a tough one as there’s many but I’m a big fan of Michael McDonald and I bought Take It To Heart in a record shop while on tour singing in the year 2000 in the USA on CD. I played it to death on the tour bus on my CD Walkman player! Just as well I have 2 CD copies of it
Who’s your latest music discovery?
I recently stumbled across a great British female singer/songwriter (from London) called ‘Rider’ on Instagram (@ridermusicpage). I don’t know her, never met her but she’s really cool.
She has this great new song called Stay that has an electronic/pop vibe that is very fresh but at the same time has a slight 80’s vibe about it.
I did comment to her and say “if Donna Lewis and HAIM had an even cooler love child… it would be you”! That about sums up her sound, amazing production, I’d love to work with her!
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
Good question Andy, you’re making it difficult here! 🙂 Ummm, probably my song, the Rock/Country stomper… The Grass Ain’t Always Greener maybe best defines me so far. It has a little bit of influence from lots of people I admire; for example, I think there’s a touch of AC/DC there, a little Mutt Lange (AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Shania Twain producer), Richard Marx, Michael Bolton and Desmond Child in there!