Heather Parker is a songwriter, producer, and vocalist. During high school, she participated in choirs and sang in a girl group. For over a decade, she has been an assistant director with Gladys Knight’s Grammy Award-winning Saints Unified Voices Choir. She had also produced “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” for Knight’s Empress of Soul album, which garnered the NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Album in 2015.
Parker was ready to release an album in 2020, until the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. Her plan to record with the Super Choir of Atlanta was sidelined by the pandemic. Not wanting to postpone her project, she found sound engineer Miles Whitworth who had time in his schedule and the two produced Shine, a 12-track album of faith-based children’s songs that Parker released in summer 2020. Parker included well-known Primary songs in a variety of styles, such as gospel, jazz, R&B, neo-soul, reggae, and Atlanta hip hop. The album includes performances by such artists as Leslie Fatai Nau, Tishna Campbell, the Tonga Sisters, Jalyn Macedone, and Abram Sullivan.
Not all of the artists who worked on Shine are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I really wanted to create something that people could hand to their neighbor with ease, and I think we are divided in so many ways. And sometimes that’s something that we end up doing ourselves. But this was something for me, that was like we can all come together in worship and praise of Jesus Christ.” She hopes the songs will inspire all people who have faith in Christ.
At first, the idea of producing more than one song seemed daunting for Parker. At the end of recording, she had so much music that she was left with 10 songs that weren’t used. “It’s insane. It really is. I still can’t believe it. And I know it wasn’t my doing. I know for sure it was the Lord’s doing.”
Parker said the album is an opportunity to celebrate different cultures. “This sort of provides a safe place for parents where they can expose their kids to more culture and more diversity and different sounds. And I think it’ll be surprising to see who gravitates to that. . . . because I do think there are kids that really long for that and they’re touched really deeply by that.”
Heather Parker lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.