‘American Idol’ Standout Mike Parker Delivers Chill-Worthy ‘Strawberry Wine’ Cover [Watch]
When Idol judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry auditioned hopefuls in Nashville, they should’ve known they would be met with an evening chock-full of country artists. One of the artists who made a big impression on them was Parker.
The country standout wowed with his delivery on Carter's smash hit from 1996. Parker, who put a male spin on the showcase, dedicated his performance to his mother, stripping down his song choice to just vocals and light piano accompaniment. With his hands behind his back during the performance, he poured his entire heart and soul into the song lyrics, showing off his natural growl and falsetto on select parts of the tune.
Growing up in his native Virginia, Parker was exposed to music early on. Before his “Strawberry Wine” cover, he explained how both of his parents performed in a band together, and emotionally opened up about his mother's new and unexplained illness.
“Unfortunately, my mom, she’s not doing well right now. It kind of just came up in the past couple of days. She started feeling these symptoms. The doctors don’t know exactly what it is yet,” Parker shared. “It could be leukemia. The day that I left for here, it got pretty bad, and that’s when she went to the hospital. I woke up the next morning and Face-timed her. She had tubes in her neck. It was tough seeing her like that. I feel guilty in a sense being here, but I know this is what she would’ve wanted.”
Thankfully, Parker’s audition proved to be worth it, as he earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood — something that is sure to make both his mother and father proud.
“Man, I think you are a country singer. I think you have the potential to be truly amazing,” Bryan told Parker after his performance.
“If I said top 24, would you prove me right?” Perry challenged Parker, receiving a ‘yes’ motion from the promising singer. “Could you go even further than that?”
“Simplicity is king. You don’t have to worry about runs or riffs,” Richie shared. “Your voice cries. That texture in your voice is the goal. I really mean that because you have all the goods to make that happen.”
“Every once in a while, something comes along, where you become the example. For so many kids that they don’t have to stay in a box,” Richie added before sharing a hug with Parker. “All Black folks don’t play basketball. All Black folks don’t rap. I don't either. So you understand what I’m saying. This is your inspiring moment. Take this and run with it. I’ve got my eye on you.”
Did You Know These Stars Were Rejected by American Idol?