‘Buss Mi Appeal’ singer Derrick Parker in profile
DERRICK ALPHONSO PARKER was born in Porus, a little village located in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica. He is the fourth child born to a farmer, Benjamin and wife, Vinette Parker. Derrick spent most of his early years assisting his father on the farm, which deprived him of most youthful activities. This however became a great asset to his career, as from then Derrick developed sound work ethics.
As a young boy, from age ten, Derrick discovered his talent in singing, and the impact he had on others. He used to sing at churches, school, and in the streets. At a later age, and, assuming responsibility to take the farm’s produces such as peas, callaloo, sorrel and other produces to the Mandeville Market, Derrick entertained his customers by singing to them. He still has memories of the few who ‘promised to take him to a radio station to do his singing’. However, Derrick’s most memorable moment happened when he awoke from an hernia operation in 1986. He remembers being awakened to the smiling faces of doctors, that told him he was actually singing in his sleep.
Derrick was first introduced to the recording industry by his sister, in 1989, who took him to Bunny Hewitt. Hewitt was at the time one of the Cartoon Brothers, a popular comedy group operating out of Mandeville. Hewitt took Derrick to “Harry J. Studio”, located in Kingston (capital city of Jamaica) where he recorded his first single “Black People Try to Remember Where You’re Coming From.” On returning to his home village, Derrick gave the record to a disc jockey(DJ) at a “dance-hall” event. The DJ played Derrick’s record, but, after all the “dance-hall’s” patrons left.
This “dead on arrival” moment forced Derrick decided to focus his energies on an education. He excelled in the technical trade of woodwork, (Carpentry & Cabinet making ), especially after settling down in the final two years at Porus High School (formerly Porus Secondary School). He still had to generate income for his family, from his pandering the market.
Upon graduating from Porus High School Derrick continued to work with his woodworking instructor, “Mr Mac”, as an understudy. During one shared contract to build an auto supply store in Porus, the owner of the store, impressed with Derrick’s work ethic, hired him permanently. But not for long, as soon after, Derrick was offered a job by the manager of the Sealy furniture and bed manufacture company, located in Kingston. To take the job, Derrick went to live with his aunt in August Town; Kingston, and later went to live on his own in Gregory Park.
At Sealy a friend “Billas” took him to meet Chinna Smith, owner of High Times record shop and former lead guitarist of Bob Marley. Chinna pointed Derrick to the Jimmy Cliff studio, on Musgrave Ave. There, Jimmy Cliff’s manager, Newton Merrith recorded Derrick’s song “No more lonely life”. This was Derrick’s first song played on the radio. Shortly after Derrick began singing on the sound system Little Red Rose. Little Red Rose featured many top artistes such as Brigadeer Jerry, Chaka Demus, Tiger Garnett Silk and Tony Rebel. One featured artiste, Lyrical later took Derrick to Kesta Person at the Aquarius record shop, in Half-Way- Tree. Kesta began to promote Derrick, by producing and distributing his (45) through Sonic Sound records, and, throughout dance-hall scenes of Jamaica… the beginning of his music career in 1987 approximately.
Derrick shortly after joined with Paul Dawes whom he had also met at Jimmy Cliff’s studio. Dawes produced paid for videos for Derrick’s “Joy Ride Japan” and “Sending Love Letters,” These two songs were both played on Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (the island’s only television station then). Derrick eventually left his job at the Sealy plant, after Dawes also brought the equipment for him to set up his own woodwork shop. His evenings were now spent at the studio, and on weekends Derrick would visit the King Jammy’s and the King Tubby studios where he would record dub-plates for various sound systems.
Derrick first hit song was “Samfi love” which he did with Johnny P, a renown Jamaican artiste. This song made it to the top ten on the RJR radio chart. His next hit “Bend Down Low”, a remix of a Bob Marley original, made number 2 the RJR chart. Later with “Ruler Brown” from Bee Cat Record he recorded several songs. Two of which, “Don’t You Try, and, “Ruff Neck Sound” went to numbers eight and nine respectively on the reggae chart of a New York City-based radio station.
After that, Derrick signed a three year no money deal with Clinton Linsley, a radio disc jockey, in New York, which led to him receiving a work permit to perform in Biiltmore ballroom, in Brooklyn, on his first ever visit to the United States of America (USA). Linsley was responsible for the 105.9 WNWK charts.
While in the USA, Derrick recorded dub-plates for several New York based sound systems at the Don One recording studio. When he returned to Jamaica, he had difficulty in choosing whether to continue his woodwork or to take up music fulltime. His choice was a full time musical career, and immediately he called Clinton Linsley to gain re-entry to the USA, and was successful. On his second return to Jamaica, Derrick was convinced by “Cripple”, a friend and former schoolmate to marry his newly found love “Vera”. The marriage produced a daughter named Jamila. Derrick also produced another daughter, Jaquanna, with a Jamaican- American, and two sons – Kemar and Rowan with a Jamaican woman.
Two years were spent trying to obtain a temporary green card, while Derrick’s activity in making Dub-plates” and appearing on shows slowed down, but he remained in New Jersey for a while.
While in New Jersey, around 2003, Derrick wrote “Buss Mi Appeal” and after performing to prisoners in New Jersey, he was encouraged to record it. In 2004, Derrick on returning to Jamaica, took “Buss Mi Appeal” directly to Kilamanjaro dub-plate studio, and made a good impression. His friend, Virgo Man, persuaded him to record the song – predicting it to be a hit. With the Firehouse Crew, they both made a rhythm at the Cell Block studio the next day. Then they went to Ron Muchette , Elese Kelly and Gary g of Irie Fm radio station, and the song became one of Derrick’s biggest hit, placing number 11 on the Richie B top 30 chart – the then biggest chart in Jamaica. Dub plates and stage show offers began pouring in.
In 2007, Derrick’s first tour was to Osaka in Japan, after overcoming difficulties at the Toronto Airport. Derrick’s then produced “Joy Ride” is still making a big impact in Japan.
Derrick completed his album which included the song “Only if I had known” on returning to Jamaica, after a failed attempt to permanently stay in the USA.
He did manage however to meet with one of Jamaica’s top music producers, who made rcommendations for him to change the style of his singing.
This he did with the producer’s help who also assisted him in rearranging some of his other songs and with new sounding. Now he’s all set to release his first album “Out of Darkness.”
SEE MORE ON LIST OF SONGS BY DERRICK PARKER
SEE LIST AND LINKS OF HIS SONGS HERE::::
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