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Finding Funk and Gospel: CJ Parker and The Crew

Marc Zyla
CJ Parker

In this episode of WHQC, Marc sits down with CJ Parker, a talented musician hailing from Davenport, Iowa. CJ talks about his musical journey and experiences, shedding light on various aspects of his career. One notable highlight is the formation of his band, The Crew, which specializes in a unique fusion of funk and gospel sounds. Over the past year, the band has honed their skills and tightened their performance, culminating in an exciting show with the People Brothers Band at the Redstone Room in Davenport on March 29th. CJ eagerly anticipates debuting new music and connecting with a fresh audience that night.

Drawing on his diverse background, CJ shares how his five years of marching in drum corps have greatly influenced his musical style. The experience instilled in him discipline, teamwork, and a profound connection with musicians from around the world.

Another thrilling aspect of CJ's career is his role in singing the national anthem before Iowa Hawkeye basketball games. Performing in front of large crowds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking for CJ. Additionally, he expresses his admiration for Caitlin Clark's exceptional skills and believes she will revolutionize women's basketball.

Expanding his horizons beyond the Quad Cities, CJ has been actively seeking new opportunities in the music industry. He recently had a residency in Chicago and emphasizes the importance of networking and making connections outside one's local area. Offering sound advice to aspiring musicians, CJ stresses the significance of being personable, finding one's unique voice, and embracing failure as a learning experience.

CJ also delves into his recent recording experience at Midwest Live Studios, where he collaborated with his friend Cooper Hopkins on a new acoustic video. He highly recommends the studio for its exceptional recording and video quality. Furthermore, CJ takes a moment to acknowledge the outstanding music education programs in the Quad Cities that foster emerging talent and contribute to the thriving local music scene.

Marc Zyla joined WVIK, Quad Cities NPR in May 2022 as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to that Zyla had been the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to perform as Principal Horn. Zyla believes that there is something for everyone in public radio and brings passion and creativity to his position as Director of Community Engagement.