Parkes cut his teeth as lead singer with Leeds indie band The Finnlys, supporting groups like Twisted Wheel, Reverend and the Makers and Ocean Colour Scene, and is now going it alone as a solo artist.
Within a week of leaving the Finnlys, the 24-year-old recorded and released his debut single Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work in November.
“I had got bored of the strength in numbers approach of working in a band and really wanted to step out and show what I could do,” says Parkes.
The single showcased a new direction for Parkes who had taken inspiration for his sound from the Northern Soul and Mod scene of the 1960s.
“You can’t say you’re doing new Northern Soul because Northern Soul was an underground dance scene – American soul music that got picked up by DJs over here,” says Parkes. “The music I’m doing though is definitely Northern Soul influenced – the rhythms, the tunes, the beat – everything about should scream Northern Soul to you.”
Parkes’ love of Mod culture has seen him perform his music in front of thousands of people at scooter events across the UK and Holland. But it is his use of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook that has helped him to introduce his music to fans from around the world.
And through a website called Pledge Music Parkes has been able to get fans to invest in the production of his music.
“We had pledges from all over the world – from Milan and Helsinki. I got in touch with people over Twitter and sent them my single with a link to the Pledge site,” he says. “Because of this funding I’ve been able to record the EP, and we’re going to release it digitally on iTunes and Spotify, and press 50 copies onto vinyl and 200 onto CD.”
Thanks to fan investment, Parkes is currently in the studio recording the Night Owl EP which will be launched at The Library, Leeds, on March 8, 2014. For more information visit: www.pledgemusic.com/artists/samuelsparkes.