Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Tayla Parx Shares Industry Advice During Her GRAMMY U Masterclass
In 2021, a music creative needs to be versed in all aspects of their career, not just the artistic side. Tayla Parx is someone who certainly understands the importance of being a multi-faceted artist. The chart-topping singer and songwriter has penned hits for Dua Lipa, Anderson.Paak, Janelle Monáe, Panic! at the Disco, Khalid, and Normani. She was nominated for the Album of the Year category during the 2019 GRAMMY Awards show as a writer for Ariana Grande's thank you, next. Parx is also a businesswoman (She has the Tayla Made record label, a publishing company called Parx Publishing, management company 3020, and Parx Studios) and is a recording artist—her most recent album is 2020's Coping Mechanisms.
On March 11, Parx led a Masterclass, Powered by Mastercard, via Facebook Premiere for GRAMMY U's GRAMMY Week event. In the inaugural event, in collaboration with the Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, Parx shared her creative music industry expertise as well as her business smarts.
Parx began the Masterclass by discussing creative entrepreneurship. She traced her beginnings in entertainment in her home state of Texas and remembered her parents' key advice: "be a student of my craft." She also spoke of coming to Los Angeles as part of Debbie Allen's dance academy and discovering her path as a creative. Parx shared that the "no's" she heard were what "built the whole adventure of Tayla Made."
She entered Babyface's Brandon's Way Recording as the youngest person and the only female. She remembered incredible teachers in this space who taught her how to collaborate. "When you get into a moment when you're uncomfortable in the best way…you're in the right place because you're stretching yourself as a creative," she shared.
Parx also spoke about management. The idea that "creatives don't do business," bothers her as "Creatives are the most likely to be taken advantage of," she said. Acknowledging that not all artists want to be involved with the business side, Parx said she preferred to build teams around her and to "Never let someone tell you there's only one way to do it." She wrapped this section by reminding the audience that they "could be the one that will create a new standard."
The next portion focused on how Parx crafts a song. She broke down the structure of a song and how each part works in conjunction with the others. She spoke of the importance of understanding the vibe of the room and how having empathy can help others get connected to timeless emotions.
"A hit song is a true song," she said. "A song becomes a hit because of the fact that so many different people relate to it. As a songwriter, it's your job to create those records that are timeless for people that are hearing it for the first time."
Speaking on vocal production, she stressed the importance of keeping collaborators confident. "There should be no excuse for you to not be able to get your ideas out," she said.
During this portion, Parx pointed out that there are a lot of avenues for music. Not every song needs to go to the biggest artist or top the charts. "Longevity is the only real definition of success," she said.
In the third part of the Masterclass, Parx touched on creating the perfect team. The multi-faceted artist said the first step in creating one is by identifying one's weaknesses and finding the right people to help with those specific things. The team should be set up on a strong foundation. She is "Surrounded by creatives who want to see an industry that reflects their views," and who, "want to change the direction of what the new normal is."
The last part of the Masterclass was a Q&A with GRAMMY U students who asked questions via video. When asked about social media, she shared the importance of tapping into data and analytics. She also mentioned how key it is to line up with what fans want to. Speaking to marketing, she said publicizing yourself was just as important as the creative work. When the topic of mental health came up, she recommended practicing mindfulness, gratefulness and affirmations, which is what she does to give herself self-confidence.
On the topic of being a Black woman in the industry, Parx said, "At the end of the day, people are trying to find hit songs, they don't care if a purple person wrote it. What you have to do is understand that your voice matters in any room that you're willing to be great in."