The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The 2012 Essence Music Festival held July 5–8 in New Orleans. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including 112 co-founder Q Parker and the Original Pinettes Brass Band.
Parker discussed his musical start, creative influences, advice for aspiring artists, and the value of music, among other topics.
"I think it's one of the best forms of communication," said Parker. "Even when you back to yesteryear … there was always some form of music. … Music just connects us all."
Based in Atlanta, Parker began his music career as a member of R&B/hip-hop collective 112, the first vocal group to emerge from Sean "Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records. The group released their self-titled debut album in 1996, which peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard 200. The following year 112 earned their first GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for "I'll Be Missing You," which appeared on Combs' 1997 album No Way Out. 112 earned a GRAMMY nomination in 2001 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Peaches & Cream" from their 2001 album Part III. Following their most recent album, 2005's Pleasure & Pain, 112 went on hiatus in 2007. Co-produced by GRAMMY nominee Chuck Harmony Ivan Barias and Kendrick Dean, Parker's debut solo album, Q Parker: The MANual, is due later this year and features the single "Show You How."
The Original Pinettes Brass Band discussed performing at the Essence Music Festival, the formation of the band and creative influences, among other topics.
"I try to not only pull from saxophone players, but musicians period," said saxist Natasha "Saxy Lady" Harris. "I can learn anything from bass players [to] drummers as far as rhythmic patterns. I try to incorporate a little bit of everybody into what I do."
Formed by Jeffery Herbert in 1991, the New Orleans-based Original Pinettes Brass Band was initially comprised of students attending St. Mary's Academy High School, an all-girl Catholic school, with the venture helping to pay students' tuition. Today, the band includes Tylita Curtain (trumpet), Veronique Dorsey (trumpet), Nicole Elwood (trombone), Harris, Dionne Harrison (trombone), Jazz Henry (trumpet), Dee Holmes (trombone), Christie A. Jourdain (leader/snare drum), and Janine Waters (assistant leader/tuba). The band has traveled worldwide and has performed at events such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Satchmo Summer Festival, among others.