March 29, 2023


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Parks of the Joe Budden Podcast is a Grammy nominee for the second time

4 min read

Best known as the off-camera voice on the hugely popular Joe Budden podcast, Parks Valley has maintained a distinguished career in music as a producer, engineer and mixer. And while most fans recognize her from her speaking voice on the street or at the corner deli, she’s also a two-time Grammy nominee, earning a nod for her work on Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous” record, created for the album, at the 65th Grammy Awards this Sunday. year

Parks worked on the song “Tough Love,” which features Memphis rapper Wallet Yo, on the 52-year-old singer’s 2022 album, collaborating with producer D’Mile and DJ Cassidy, which is also up for best R&B album at the ceremony.

As described to Park, his mix of the song received high praise from the singer to the excited analyst. Having been a part of the sessions that helped shape Kanye West’s “Graduation” and Drake’s “Scorpion” albums (the latter with longtime collaborator DJ Premier), Park’s stature as an engineer and producer grew in concert with Budden’s longtime podcast presence evolving.

diversity caught up with Park to discuss her Grammy nomination and life as a podcast star.

How did you react when you found out you were nominated for a Grammy?

Well, it’s funny. We were on the pod recording when the nominations came out and we were going through everything. And I saw Mary there. I was like, “Oh, holy shit, I think I’m Grammy-nominated.” I think it’s live on air, I’m finding out. So I was very excited about that. I didn’t really know if I was going to go, I don’t think I really wanted to, but all my friends and my wife were like, “You have to go.”

What was your contribution specifically? Mary J. Blige album?

to mix He sent me all the stuff and all the vocals and he and D’Mille went back and added more, and we all went back and forth until we got the right mixes. The way it was described to me, when they went into the studio, he was like, “Who mixed these vocals?” And everyone was like, “Oh, you know, my guy Parks.” And she was like, “I sound incredible!”

He works with all the big ones [mixers] – He got Serban [Ghenea] Who is a monster, Manny Marroquin, anyone who wants him. I’m ending up on this project alone… I’m patting myself on the back because he could have gone to anyone.

You were previously nominated for your work in “Scorpion.” How was working with Drake?

We spent hours — days, I think — in the studio, fine-tuning, building things back and forth, and it made the last-minute cut. I think we were still bending stuff like the day before the album came out.

What would you consider your first big break as an engineer-mixer?

As far as commercial worldwide releases, my first real credit was in 2009. I was interning at a studio in Chicago. I was kind of young and dumb and naive and didn’t realize how important it was to strive for achievement when I was first starting out. … I was an assistant engineer on Kanye West’s “Graduation” and a couple songs on Lupe Fiasco’s first two albums. I was happy to be there as an unpaid or underpaid intern or paid by grace, and I didn’t really think to beg for credit and I should have. … I don’t regret it at all. In hindsight, I wish I knew I could ask for credit, and probably get it. But again, I was kind of naive and happy to be there.

Having usually been behind the scenes, do you feel like a public figure now because of the podcast?

It’s pretty much inevitable. In the beginning, it was, “What is it?” And now it seems like I’m better known for podcasts than engineering, which is fun and it’s cool. I asked people how much to play [a song] Podcasts and stuff like that. I don’t do that. [Laughs]

But you’re mostly off-camera on the YouTube version of the podcast, right?

Sometimes I’m on-camera, sometimes I’m off. Mostly I’ve been off, but since we moved to a new place in September, I’ve been on a little bit. … It started out that, I wasn’t even on the show — I was just chiming in, and we were at my house, so it worked. And then it became a funny thing, like, “Where’s this weird voice coming from?” That being said, I think there are many advantages to being on-camera. Obviously the more visibility people can put a face to the name. I like both. I’m cool with both. I’m not really an attention-seeking type of person, but I understand the value of being noticed.

What do people say when they realize you’re the voice of Joe Budden?

Topics we should cover, songs we should play, the whole gamut. And then there are just people who are direct fans. I was at the bodega getting a sandwich and a girl came up and I thought she was just trying to pass me, so I made room for her. But he goes, “Hey, you’re from the Parks podcast, right?” And we cut it for a second, it’s pretty interesting. … I get Uber sometimes and they recognize me, and they basically want to podcast with me for the whole ride. Podcast fandom is very different from music fandom in a good way. People just feel like they’re our friends, legitimately, which is great, whereas music fandom can be a bit more about “celebrity” – a mythic figure thing.

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