Impulse for Stardom


March 26, 2005 – 12:00AM

Michael Scott Parker in Colorado Springs, 2005If local musician/singer/artist Michael Scott Parker hadn’t been born, novelist Tom Robbins certainly would have created her.

Looking as though she barely escaped the clutches of some artistic cult, the fresh-faced bohemian wears red lipstick and parades around in a state of whirlwind excitement over each of her creations: a canvas covered in leather with an antique door lock attached to it; a bit of acoustic melody with saxophone; a baby doll covered in an array of small, found objects posing to hold a cello bow.

Parker has the attention span of a cocker spaniel with ADD and the passion of Don Juan.

Robbins, known for his angst-ridden female protagonists, would love this stuff. There’s Parker’s eclectic Colorado Springs home — evidence that her frequent artistic hurricanes have been only slightly tempered by a need for domestic order. There’s her bewildering history — the globe-hopping daughter of a stunt woman, Parker grew up among directors, actors and artists. And there’s her most striking feature, her spontaneous and engaging nature — conveyed by the intensity she commits to each word that comes from her mouth.

At the moment, Parker is talking about her obsession with music therapy, for which she went to college, and which she once thought would become her life’s work.

“I said, ‘What I want to do is be a voice for God,’” she says, obviously quite affected by the memory of this past love. “I hope that my album is healing to people. I hope it’s something that they put on when they’re not feeling good or when they’re feeling happy. That’s my therapy.”

Since moving to Colorado Springs from South Carolina three months ago, Parker has been signed to the small, independent label Exit Records and has begun work on her third album. This one will be a bit more rocking than the usually acoustic-leaning, sweet voice Parker is accustomed to.

A willowy 24-year-old with engaging blue eyes, Parker is a flexible artist. She enjoys creating paintings and assemblages, as well as dance and, of course, music.

With three walls of windows, the back room is the brightest spot in the house. It is home to Parker’s instruments, her recording equipment and an assortment of posters — Prince, PJ Harvey, “Night of the Living Dead.”

Before producer Barry Wedgle discovered her performing at the V Bar on Kiowa Street, Parker did her own recording. Now, after nine years writing and performing music, Parker says she’s ready for the big time.

“I want to make money playing music,” she says. “I feel if I keep working as hard as I’m working, that’ll just happen.”

She’s working her tail off writing songs intended for TV shows and movies, and recording her new album — which means a lot of time in a Colorado Springs recording studio, with a very enthusiastic producer.

“I feel like we have to capture this thing,” Wedgle says. “She’s ready. She’s ripe for a project. Her songs, I think, are really good.”

They expect to finish the album by mid-June, and the project may be distributed nationally.

Charles Lawson, owner of the V Bar, said he was impressed by Parker’s music, and even more so by the fans. “The one night she did play was the only Wednesday night that we had to turn people away at the door because we were so crowded,” Lawson said.

With the popularity of indie rock, the time is right for Parker’s style, a sometimes calm, sometimes rowdy sound with poetic lyrics and exquisite, hollow-sounding vocals.

Parker has not deserted her penchant for the weird. Besides the often metaphoric lyrics, there is her distinctive sound. Parker plays cello, piano, guitar and saxophone. She’s considering using all these instruments on her third album, which features electric guitar and a backing band of mostly jazz musicians.

“I’ve had trouble in the past finding people to play my sound because it’s really, really different,” she says. “I kind of paved my own way.”

Michael Scott Parker in Colorado Springs, 2005.In her living room, Parker’s stereo is playing a bare-bones version of a song that will be on her new album. “I love the lyrics to this song!” she says. “It says, ‘Art’s not a splendor, I make it up all the time!’”

Incidentally, Parker’s sparsely furnished living room doubles as a dance studio. Parker attended dance school in Italy and still enjoys dance as means of exercise, relaxation and self-expression.

“I kind of decided I didn’t want to be a ballerina,” she says. “I wanted to be wild and play rock ’n’ roll!”

When she’s not rocking, Parker teaches Pilates to small groups of women twice a week. “With my Pilates classes, they have to be my guinea pigs with (my) music,” Parker says. “They’re real honest.”

Parker’s artwork is on display throughout her mazelike abode, creating visually-captivating passageways that act like a tour of her inventive mind. She enjoys painting and also likes constructing assemblages — three-dimensional modern art forms of screen, metal, homemade paper, leather, cloth, beads and found objects. The artwork covers her walls and occupies countertops in various states of completion.

Parker’s stunt-woman mother also was an artist — she painted in a Victorian style, concentrating on portraiture.

But it was her career on movie sets that had the most effect on Parker.

“I basically grew up on movie sets all over the world,” Parker says. “I didn’t have any normal school career.”

In fact, she never spent more than two years at a single school and was home-schooled for a long stretch in Italy.

That’s why Parker’s two dogs respond only when she coos at them in Italian.

And why Parker felt so free to follow her artistic whims.

“I was never told that being an artist or a musician wasn’t a serious job,” she says. “People (would) say, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘I want to sing and dance.’”

And paint, construct, play instruments and teach Pilates.

Sure, she’d make a great Robbins character, but it would seem a shame to paint all this colorful energy in black and white.


Michael Scott Parker is arranging art shows and concerts for herself. Events are posted on her Web site,, as scheduled.

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