by Alix Roy ’07
If you shop at Old Navy, you might have already heard the soulful lyrics of “The Life,” Heather Park’s first single off her 2005 debut album, Dream in Pictures. The album took Heather’s music to more than just the shopping mall, and over the past two years the young singer has performed at college campuses and music venues all over the world. A classically trained pianist who grew up listening to hip-hop, R&B, folk, pop and country music, Heather’s sound draws from a variety of influences.
While a student, Heather was a part of the a cappella group Miscellania and sang in the band Surreal. After graduating with an Asian studies degree, Heather originally planned to attend a graduate program in Taiwan to further pursue Chinese. Since her musical activities were all tied to Bowdoin, leaving school brought a temporary end to her singing, a notion Heather found impossible to accept: “I never really realized how much I loved music until I wasn’t doing it at all,” she says. Instead of flying to Taiwan, Heather traveled to New York and worked in her cousin’s deli, where she met up with producer Steve Francis after giving her demo CD to a customer clad in a “Bad Boy Records” jacket. “As it turned out, he was the boyfriend of the programming director [at] HOT 97,” Park says, “My start in music was truly born from pure luck.”
Heather’s parents were less than thrilled at their daughter’s decision to forgo further education and their disapproval eventually caused her to move out. Even so, Heather says that her parents were a major influence on her music career and that, “despite their discouragement, [they] have taught me strength and resiliency and determination.” She also associates her earliest musical memories with her father who “would always be singing and playing guitar on Sunday mornings.”
Right now, Heather has no doubts about her musical aspirations, and is currently hard at work on her second album, tentatively titled Nu- Seoul, to be released later this year. She is excited to continue working with Steve Francis, whom she calls “my producer, manager, musical mastermind and friend,” adding, “I would not be the artist that I am without his guidance and vision.” Since meeting Francis, Heather feels that she has finally learned to be herself and record music that reflects her personality. On her Web site, Heather opens up about the pressures of the industry and her struggle to find her place among cookie-cutter pop stars and manufactured bands: “I realized a lot of my discomfort came from trying to fit in to external notions of what I should sound like, how I should sing. Now, I’ve stopped trying to comply and learned to just be.”
For more on Heather Park visit: www.hearthepark.com.
Posted February 01, 2007