By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Jamison Mosley | Styled by Tiffany Ro
It’s a moment that Nicky Parrish will cherish all the days of her life, when she was recognized at BET Apollo Live for her rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. “Gladys Knight, the living legend, told me that my voice came from up there,” Nicky raises her arms to heaven. “I reminded myself to keep my composure because I literally wanted to cry, scream and run all at the same time.” Sharing this memory with us, adoration for the talent + tenacity of Whitney and Gladys fills the room with wonder.
Spending the afternoon with Nicky is a curious combination of grace, grit and gratitude. She is a Jane of many trades. With a previous career in banking + IT management while bowling and boxing for fun, music and vocals remained a constant in her life. “When I was just 10 years old I performed He Looked Beyond My Faults at First Baptist Church Pankey, a gospel song taught to me by my mother.”
Nicky realized this was her dream; she remains committed to the pursuit of it as she performs live throughout the city, state and country. “Everything in life takes time and divine order, I practice patience.” She credits her parents for her tenacity and perseverance throughout her life as well as her “small circle of people” for lifting her spirits and encouraging her always. “They continue with me on this journey and remind me to believe in myself.”
As musical director and featured artist of Opera in the Rock Divas in the Rock: A Whitney Houston Tribute, Nicky guarantees an epic production, “It’s the best of Whitney with all the songs and drama. There will be reminiscing, singing and dancing.” The legacy of Whitney Houston and a collective sense of community that Opera in the Rock promotes + cultivates will be highlights throughout the weekend. “It’s a timeless act that transcends race, sex and religion. Our amazing group of professional creatives are a force of nature, and they will dazzle audiences with a performance that pays homage to one of the greatest voices – The Golden Voice – of a lifetime.” Opera in the Rock Executive Director Fred Owens adds, ““Whitney Houston’s voice will forever be etched in our hearts, leaving behind a legacy of timeless classics and a standard of excellence in music that will continue to inspire generations.”
Established in 2012, Opera in the Rock is the state’s only Professional Company Member of Opera America. A critical component of the organization’s mission fulfillment work includes making opera more inclusive and available to all Arkansans. It’s strategic partnerships – with a shared vision of enriching the culture of Central Arkansas – that is the future of Opera in the Rock. “Nicky holds true to these values and it resonates with our cast – it’s more than a tribute to the amazing and profound accomplishments of Whitney Houston.” The production represents this vision to create a broad appeal that celebrates the magic of voice and music, connecting people in a very human way through the arts.
Nicky certainly believes in this transformative power. She’s working on a second studio album and is simply humbled by every experience. “This EP will be for everyone to enjoy; meaning no matter age, gender, race or walk of life. There is something that I hope each person can relate to on this album. That’s what music does – heals and brings people together in harmony. That is what is in my heart and I always want fans to get the real Nicky Parrish.”