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Style · October 29, 2018

Mike Parker finally gets his break on “The Voice”

Video: Click above to watch Mike Parker discuss his experience on “The Voice.”
I have always known that music was my passion. Football was my dream. But dreams come to an end sometimes. I think your passions don’t ever change.
— Mike Parker
Michael Parker
• Age: 24

• Home: Warrenton

• Family: Parents, DeJuanna and Mike Parker; older siblings, Collin, “Chip” and Samone.

• Education: Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Ga., and Georgia Prep Sports Academy, 2013-14; Fauquier High School, 2013; Kettle Run High School, 2010-13.

• Work: Singer; formerly heavy equipment operator for S.W. Rodgers in Gainesville, 2014-17.

• Twitter: Click here

• Instagram: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Update: Mike Parker was eliminated during Monday night’s knockout round and will not continue on the show.

Growing up in “Horse Country,” the 24-year-old Fauquier High School graduate never expected to make it to Hollywood.

Before Warrenton resident Mike Parker became a contestant on NBC TV’s “The Voice” this year, he sang in church, school talent shows and plays with no formal training.

In elementary school, Mr. Parker participated in the FHS musicals, “Les Miserables” and “The Woman Who Came to Dinner.”

“I’ve always grown up around music,” Mr. Parker said in an interview Friday.

His passion for music started at a young age when he taught himself how to play the piano.

“I’ve never missed a talent show” from sixth to 12th grade, he added. “I would play the piano and sing.”

He grew up with three older siblings in Warrenton.

His father, Mike, played the saxophone and his sister, Samone, played the drums. His mother, DeJuanna Parker sang and was active with the Fauquier Community Theatre. 

In middle and high school, Mr. Parker took orchestra classes and played the bass.

In high school, the local singer starred on the football field at Kettle Run, scoring five touchdowns and intercepting six passes during his junior season, when the Cougars advanced to the state semifinals.

“What was clear was he was an exceptionally talented young man,” said former Kettle Run Principal Major Warner. “Engaging. Musically talented and athletic. Very personable. That became clear when he entered the ninth grade.”

But, Mr. Parker let his grades slide and missed out on potential football scholarships from 13 colleges that recruited him.

He ultimately graduated from Fauquier High in 2013 and entered college in Atlanta. While taking classes and playing football at Georgia Prep Sports Academy, Mr. Parker he drew interest from a casting agency for “The Voice.”

With no formal training, Mr. Parker first auditioned for the show in 2013 after the agency found a video of him singing “Break Even” by The Script on YouTube.

“I ended up dropping out of college, moved back here. I was like, ‘Let’s do this ‘Voice’ thing and see what doors open up’,” he said.

“I have always known that music was my passion,” Mr. Parker added. “Football was my dream. But dreams come to an end sometimes. I think your passions don’t ever change.”

Although Mr. Parker didn’t get chosen as an official contestant on Season Seven, he decided to audition again.

During Season Eight auditions, Mr. Parker made it to blind auditions with celebrity judges, but didn’t get selected for the next round.

“That no chair turn hurt,” he said. “Getting so close, but the way things lined up . . . . That really sucked.”

Disappointed, but not defeated, Mr. Parker took three years off and worked construction in Gainesville. Last year he released a single called “Raise a Glass” and continued to perform locally.

In early 2018, he decided to give the popular show another shot and made it.

During the 15th season of auditions for “The Voice” Mr. Parker’s rendition of NE-YO’s “So Sick” prompted judge Jennifer Hudson to turn her chair at the last second and choose him during blind auditions. 

“It was the craziest moment of my life. I still get chills,” Mr. Parker said. “I cried backstage.”

He flew to Los Angeles earlier this year to film the pre-recorded show.

“I think the one things the show has taught me is that TV shows are TV shows, and talent is talent,” Mr. Parker said. “No matter how far you get into the competition, even making it to an open call, you should be proud because it means you have something interesting.

“If you can catch someone’s attention with the sound of your voice or the music you play, I think you’ve accomplished something.”

Singer songwriters John Legend and Tori Kelly rank among Mr. Parker’s favorite artists.

By making it to “The Voice,” Mr. Parker has learned more about the value of hard work. He practices about three hours each day and routinely performs at local restaurants.

“I get nervous singing in front of three people, but I think that means I care about my craft,” he said.

“The person you’re seeing is the result of a lot of maturity and growth . . . and all the talent you saw at an early age,” Mr. Warner said. “I’m glad to see that he’s found his story and pursuing it with all the energy he’s got.”

Two weeks ago he sang the national anthem to open the Washington Wizards season in D.C.

“That was scary,” Mr. Parker said.

Next month, he will move to Los Angeles to “get in front of the right people. My goal right now is to get a record deal and that’s all about being in front of the right people at the right time.”

Before he leaves, Mr. Parker will perform at Lord Fairfax Community College’s Warrenton campus on Nov. 1.

Mr. Parker won his battle round during last week’s episode of “The Voice.”

“My family and close friends are the root of my success,” Mr. Parker said. “To anyone who has a dream, you have to go get it. You can’t wait for it to come to you.”

Contact Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-878-6007.

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