Parkes Stewart’s essence as a songwriter and singer, comes from the school of influences that include artists such as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. It therefore stands that the man has soul, as well as rhythm and blues, indelibly tattooed on his heart. Furthermore, his compositions have been recorded by such artists as Yolanda Adams, Commissioned and David Hollister, which again gives us the mark and measure of the man. A Detroit native, Parkes Steward is an artist with a kaleidoscopic, musical and humanitarian vision, as well as possessing strong spiritual sentiments. He combines all of those elements into his latest single “Wanna Be Heard”, which is both an anthem and a cry for unity in these troubled times.
With his classic soul affectations and distinctly resonant vocals, Parkes Stewart plays as a stark contrast to the majority of male R&B/Soul performers currently out there, and his inspiring and uplifting subject matter only makes that distinction more clear. He is a refreshing enough performer in today’s horizon, while “Wanna Be Heard” is an energy filled track, with meticulously arranged instrumentation.
Parkes Stewart’s vocal approach alone, in this song, is worthy of applause. He masterfully conquers “Wanna Be Heard”, maintaining a kinetic build-up with veteran techniques. He lets his voice tell the story, and the accompaniment of the music gives this a soothing soul-stirring contribution. The chord progressions are so naturally flowing in the song, it shows the emotion within the lyrics.
“Wanna Be Heard” kind of gives the vibe of that hip, street preacher you know, who keeps up with the latest sounds to relate to the youth, but also keeps the traditions so that everybody gets the message. You can really feel his sound evolving throughout the song.
Everyone knows he can bring that power house voice down on the song, but the nuancing Parkes Stewart displays, shows another layer to his vocal range and his ability to sustain control of his voice, while the realness of what he’s talking about lyrically shines through.
R&B/Soul music does not get credit for its range regarding to the human condition. Beyond songs for the bedroom, the genre can speak to wider issues and Parkes Stewart’s single, “Wanna Be Heard” resonates on that level.
“Voices crying out, wanna be heard. We can talk about it, but actions speak louder than words. Everybody’s got their own opinion. Where common ground is, there’s an agreement. Be the change you want to see. I believe in unity. I believe in you and me, and I know we can change the world,” sings Parker proudly.
In a year of overwhelming health, socio-political and emotional crisis, the beauty of musicians and voices like Parkes Stewart can encourage those of us who are looking for more hope at the end of the tunnel.
Though the rhythmic backdrop may be soothingly accommodating, the ultimate message raises volumes in the quest for that elusive intent of unity amidst our global struggles, diversities and sufferings. Parkes Stewart vibrates on a positive, and different wavelength than his contemporaries.