Although African-American Music Appreciation Month ends in June, a native Annapolitan affirms the value of producing quality content and retaining control over original works. Parris Lane is an accomplished actress, singer, author, filmmaker who was raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She recalls a time when bands were plentiful while growing up.
“Everyone was in a band. Everyone was out rehearsing. They were playing instruments,” Lane told The Baltimore Times. “We were having…Battle of the Bands. That was a normal part of Annapolis and growing up in Annapolis.”
Today, Lane stays busy utilizing her God-given talent in various formats and spaces from singing to acting.
“Parris has performed for audiences around the world from Carnegie Hall to London, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Bangkok,” according to her website.
Before the pandemic hit, Lane was hired in the entertainment world producing shows. In addition to working as a teaching artist with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, visiting schools, and incorporating arts into the curriculum with The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lane toured Europe singing classical music and Asia performing jazz. Her experience includes working as assistant casting director for films and movies. She is now based in San Francisco, California.
“You get a gift. You either use it or lose it,” Lane said.
The eclectic songstress and entertainer is carving out a customized space for content creation by upgrading offerings online.
“We are in the process this summer of launching our own video/music online streaming service called “PAROLDPRIME” to subscribers. This will feature all of our original content, including short films, music videos, audiobooks, and music, as well as our e-commerce site (Parold.store),” Lane said. “The company we were with originally for our e-commerce site was bought out by Amazon so as not to be put in this situation ever again, we decided to have our own platform built.”
A bass drummer-percussionist and entertainer named Harold “Homeboy” Wilson is president of Parold Entertainment Inc., and Lane is vice president, according to information provided on parold.com. She mentioned that she prefers working as an independent artist.
“And as you see right now, a lot of artists are trying to get their masters (original recordings),” Lane said. “I own all of my masters.”
Retaining creative control over original work preserves copyright ownership. Attempting to regain ownership after a record company gets involved with an artist can be complicated.
“Due to a legal provision outlined in the 1976 Copyright Revision Act, artists whose albums were released in the year 1978 and afterward all become eligible to file paperwork with the U.S. Copyright Office allowing them to reclaim ownership of their music copyrights and master recordings from their record labels after a period of 35 years,” The Recording Academy explained in online information.
Lane serves as an example of becoming a savvy Black creator who can turn heads in an industry without giving up control. “ABELLA: A Voice for the Voiceless”—which is a historical fiction story turned into a music audio book Lane created about a “slave girl” who possesses a singing gift— became a Grammy considered project in the Best Spoken category. 26 spirituals that are included in it. Some of Lane’s musical selections were also Grammy considered in 2021.
“I narrated, I wrote it, and …sang every single part,” Lane said.
James Gardiner is a Grammy nominated producer and engineer who submitted the work for “Abella.” Paula Telander is the producer, director and studio manager of Oakland-based Pajama Studios who has worked as business partners with Gardiner for 30 years. Gardiner is a voting member with The Recording Academy. He recorded Lane’s audio book in the studio along with editing, sound design, mixing and mastering. Telander added that Lane’s 26 songs were also recorded, mixed, and mastered at Pajama Studios.
“She (Lane) wrote the manuscript, and then she was in the studio with James. I was given the manuscript and she was in the vocal booth, recording her part,” Telander said, explaining details about the three-year project. “She became the character of Abella.”
Telander and Gardiner explained how Lane “shapeshifted her voice and went into character,” while becoming various “characters in the book.”
“God always likes you to hear and keep your door open, so you can let Him walk through what you’re doing and get you on the right path,” Gardiner said, reflecting on Lane’s journey to work on the project with them.
Visit https://parrislane.com/ to learn more about Lane.