Born and raised in Sanford, North Carolina, Ivan Parker was raised in a Christian home where his father was a pastor in a Pentecostal church. In 1982, Parker joined the Singing Americans, and in 1983 he became lead vocalist of the Dove Award-winning group the Gold City Quartet. As a member of Gold City, he was named Favorite Lead Vocalist by Singing News from 1988-1993, and was named Favorite Male Vocalist from 1989-1995 and 1997. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993.
In January 1994, Parker began recording as a solo artist, and in 1995 he joined Bill and Gloria Gaither in "Homecoming" tour. Occasionally, he would sing with tenor Kirk Talley, and pianist/baritone Anthony Burger in a group they called simply, "The Trio." He has released 13 solo albums. From 2001-2004 and 2006, The Singing News named him Favorite Soloist. In 2007 and 2008, he was voted Male Vocalist of the Year in the Singing News Fan Awards.
Now with Horizon Records, he is set to release his brand new album "Threads of Mercy" on Jan. 27. We are honored to catch up with him for this exclusive Hallels' interview.
Hallels: Ivan, so grateful for your time. We are so honored to be able to review your latest album "Threads of Mercy" and now thanks for this interview. Many of our readers are already expressing their excitement over your new album. Why do you title the album "Threads of Mercy"?
When it comes to titling a cd project, I always look for a song title first, if that doesn't feel right I look for a phrase or word throughout the lyrics to describe the feeling and message of the overall project. In this case a phrase from "God's In The Middle Of It" popped out from the page. I immediately became attached to it and saw a glimpse of a message as Mercy is threaded throughout our lives.
Hallels: Many of the songs deal with God's grace and mercy in times of suffering. Why do you think it's important to see God's mercy in times of trials?
We basically live in a negative world and many look at a trial as immediate failure. Not all Christians live on the positive side of the trial but to know that there's a cushion of Mercy that we can fall into brings great comfort and courage. Once you have experienced mercy in the midst of a storm it changes your whole outlook and let's you know God has your back.
Hallels: And how do we see God's mercy in such times?
God's mercy reigns from the beginning till the end. My wife Teresa and I were discussing this very subject the other night. In every trial we face there could always be a worst scenario. HIS mercy keeps us from the next step of disaster so in other words, when you face a trial it could always be worse.
Hallels: I really like "Silent Prayer;" it's only the start of the year, but it's going to be a strong contender for one of my 2015 favorite songs. What made you record this song?
I have noticed more in the last few years of people dealing with a loved one who is faced with Alzheimer's or Dementia and other diseases that take away communication with the world. I have talked with so many who have said goodbye to a loved one and their life seems empty. We have to know that these precious people are going through this time in their life that they can't pray out loud. But God see's and hear's each time they picture the face or name of Jesus. My Father In Law has been dealing with Parkinson's for several years and to listen as he struggles with his speech, there has got to be those times he whispers a silent prayer that only God can hear.
Hallels: Also, I love "Don't Hang Your Head and Cry." Tell us more about why you chose this song.
My good friend Jim Brady wrote this song and seems to know what I'm searching for with each cd project. I love the positive message this song has and I always wanted to record an uptempo "old school" type song with a little swing and bounce. It reminds me of something Jake Hess would have recorded so hands down it created a moment on this cd.
Hallels: What were some of the joys and challenges in making this album?
The first challenge was recording two projects at the same time. My son Josh was working on his very first guitar cd. So I had my hand in that one at the same time I was doing "Threads Of Mercy". Not sure I want to do that again! The joy came in being able to work with my son and experiencing some of his joy. We all love to make dreams come true especially for our children. There were not any huge challenges beyond that just a lot of hard work.
Hallels: Where can our readers go if they want to purchase your new record or/and find out more about you?
I have tried to stay very visible in the social networks, such as on www.facebook.com/ivanparkerofficial, www.twitter.com/@ivanparker, www.thegospelconnection.ning.com. The website , www.ivanparker.com is the place to find all the history of my career along with my booking information, schedule and the store.
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