Katrina Parker channels her North Carolina roots on her upcoming project, Stars, out Sept. 6. A former Season 2 contestant on The Voice, Parker showcases exactly why she made it into the top 8 with ethereal vocals and uplifting lyrics on the stripped down “Don’t Give It Up,” which Billboard premieres exclusively today (Aug. 19).
“I wrote this for a friend who was going through a hard time — but after hearing it, he pointed out that it was probably more applicable to my situation, that I should take my own lyrics to heart,” Parker tells Billboard. “So I guess on a subconscious level, I wrote this to encourage myself to keep writing and singing and doing this difficult but necessary thing, that it wasn’t too late.”
Parker penned the song alone, as with every other track on her upcoming release except her cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Stars was produced by 3 Theory Music’s Josh D Doyle and Emily Herndon. Parker says the album itself has been about reconnecting with the essential spark that made her want to pursue a career in music: “Making music with my heart rather than my head.”
“I made my last record after a life-changing stint on The Voice — and I made it from a place of intense fear, worried about what people wanted to hear from me, worried it wouldn’t be a success, stressed that there wouldn’t be something for everyone on it,” she says. “I felt pressured not to squander my post-Voice opportunity and lost myself in the process.”
Following what she calls a “failed” album, Parker took a break from music and tried to find herself. Channeling her love of Patsy Cline, she began writing a new album without any pressure of success or failure. Instead, she simply wrote because the music brought her joy.
“I packed it all up, took a hiatus, and tried to find that essential ‘me’ — the little girl who used to sing Patsy Cline on her grandma’s front porch at the top of her lungs, who used to swing in her aunt’s backyard wailing the entire Beaches soundtrack like her life depended on it, the one who made music like nobody was watching,” she adds. “It took a little time and patience, but I did find her. And that’s how we got here.”
Listen to Parker’s “Don’t Give It Up” below.