STUDIO PERFORMANCES

Drew Parker | KYGO Performance Studio

Jun 13, 2024, 11:50 AM | Updated: 3:01 pm

So far in his career, singer-songwriter Drew Parker is perhaps better known for the latter half of the designation, but is hot in his pursuit of making a name for himself as an artist and performer as well.

The 32-year-old swung by and sang “Raised Up Right,” “Love the Leavin'” and “While You’re Gone” for KYGO’s Performance Studio.

Parker, born in Covington, Ga., a town home to less than 15,000 people, grew up listening to country music greats like Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt and Ronnie Dunn. His start can be traced back to age three, when he started singing in church in front of small crowds. When he was 14, he added a notch to his belt and took it upon himself to learn how to play guitar, and a few years later at 18, learned how to play the piano as well.

His experiences early in his life led him to release several gospel CDs during his high school days. He started to sing country music at open mic nights at the end of high school and received recognition for his talent in 2008, when he won the Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year awards from the Georgia Country and Gospel Music Association.

The Georgia native’s path took a turn when Parker decided to pursue a career in the medical field, which earned him a degree in radiology during college, where he learned to be an X-ray technician. Around the same time, in a career-altering moment, he was booked to open for Luke Combs at a venue in Rome, Ga., where the two met in the green room. As Parker told “Taste of Country,” they “hit it off and have been close friends ever since.” The show only attracted around 80 fans, according to Parker. It was there that Combs urged him to move down to Nashville to write songs with him.

Heeding Combs’ advice, Parker took the leap and moved to Music City in 2015 when he was 24.

His first big success as a songwriter came in 2019 in the form of a number-one hit, “Homemade,” which was released by Jake Owen. The song hit the top of both the Billboard Country Music and US Country Airplay charts.

His lyricism has since caught the attention of some of country’s biggest names, with many hits listing his name among the writing credits in the fine print. He wrote “Forever After All” for Combs, which won the BMI Country Award for Song of the Year in 2022 and was certified 5x platinum. The 2020 single reached number one on three separate U.S. charts: U.S. Country Airplay, U.S. Hot Country Songs and U.S. Rolling Stone Top 100.

The following year, 2021, he toured with Combs and opened for his shows. The two cowrote “Doin’ This” in the same year, which got Parker his first Grammy nomination, of which he learned about when he got a call from Combs.

He intermittently recorded his own songs, releasing a standalone single in 2016 and a four-song collection in 2018, but further embraced the choice to make a name for Drew Parker the singer-songwriter, versus Drew Parker the songwriter, when he then put out his first EP, “While You’re Gone,” in 2020. The highest charting song was the self-titled track, which rose to number 42 on the Country Airplay chart. The single was Parker’s first for country radio. He cut his second EP in 2023, “At the End of the Dirt Road,” and toured after its release.

On June 12, the “While You’re Gone” singer announced across social media platforms that his debut full-length album, “Camouflage Cowboy,” is scheduled for release on July 12 and is available for preorder. In addition, his single “Better on a Boat,” will come out Friday, June 14.

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