Dawaun Parker '05 was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Michael Jackson was his first musical influence, and hip-hop soon followed via Public Enemy.
Parker began playing drums in sixth grade, and taught himself how to play piano shortly thereafter. By the middle of high school, he had started making beats with a local crew that had a makeshift studio in their basement. His natural talent and hard work led to a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Parker cites his major hip-hop influences as the Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, the Roots, Dr. Dre, and Busta Rhymes. In college he expanded into jazz and folk listening to artists such as Chick Corea and Joni Mitchell, and before long it was making an impact on the music he created too. Add his affinity for gospel music in rounding out his sound, and you have the ingredients for modern music production.
In 2005, Parker heard that Dr. Dre was looking for new talent to work on his team. He flew out to Los Angeles the very next day to audition. He got the job, and under Dr. Dre's apprenticeship, Parker worked on songs for Grammy-winning artists such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dogg.
At 25 years old, he became a Grammy Award-winner himself, having snagged the statuette for cowriting the 2009 number one single "Crack a Bottle" by Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent.
Parker coproduced nearly every track on Eminem's album Relapse, which won the 2009 Grammy for Best Rap Album. Parker won his third Grammy for writing and producing on Eminem's Recovery, the Best Rap Album of 2010.
Not limited to hip-hop, '"D-Park" has recently been hard at work on music in the pop and rock vein. Her recently produced the Veronicas and also the Jonas Brothers. He's collaborated extensively with super-producer Rob Cavallo for groups such as My Chemical Romance.
Often citing his love for Radiohead and Justice as inspiration to create music outside the urban spectrum, his career is just getting started. . . especially on the mic. Continuing the model set by his mentor, D-Park has stepped from behind the boards and released his first offering as an artist titled "Lost"—coproduced by Dr. Dre—and "Schemin'." Both songs appear on his debut EP The Decision, due in fall 2011.
This clinic is hosted by faculty member Alanzo Harris.