He’s known for dominating the microphone on stages across the city.
Now,Philly’s own Casey Parker will puthis vocal chords to the test when he auditions for “The Voice” on Saturday.
This weekend, tens of thousands are expected to show up at thePennsylvania Convention Center for a chance to beon NBC’s “The Voice.” Sure, he might be up against twenty-somethings – but Parker, 41, has never been afraid of the mic – and he won’t be this weekend, either.
“The Voice” returns for its 10thseason Feb. 29 with Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton to make singing sensations out of ordinary people.
Parker and pal, Joe Gunn, co-own popular Mexican restaurants Jose Pistolas in Center City and Sancho Pistolas in Fishtown.
Asked what got the ball rolling for the audition experience, Parker said it was a lot of encouragement – and prodding – from family and friends.
“My nieces and nephew have been egging me on for years saying ‘why don’t I do it?’
“I feel both silly and completely touched and humbled,” he said.
Philly’s music scene has been good to Parker, who comes from humble beginnings.
About 11 years ago, Parker and friends started an 80’s hair metal tribute band dubbed, Welcome to My Face.
The band was born out of a group of friends’ love of live music, the 80s, hair metal and maybe some ideas too taboo to mention.
“We decided to get together do something that completely freakin’ rocked, and we came up with a list. I think our first list had 15 ’80s hair metal songs on it. We went away for a month, learned them all, rehearsed them and just crushed them,” he said.
It’s been a while since the band has performed on stage together.
“It’s not where my voice lies. I want to take it back to church. I want to get soulful.”
Parker named Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Otis Redding and Bill Withers among his vocal inspirations. He said he’s got about nine songs in his wheelhouse to decide on before Saturday to sing before The Voice judges.
Parker likens himself to Rocky Balboa, in that he had no formal voice training, he’s probably older than the majority of his competitors, and he’s got a family to support. Originally from South Philly, he now lives in Delaware County with his wife, Kerry, and daughter, Delia, 2, and son, Charley, 4.
“I’m a little older than they’re going to get. I have kids. I have two bars. I’m Philly. I’m raising my kids here. I’m the underdog,” he said.
Asked with whom he might have favor on the judges’ panel, Parker said he hoped Aguilera would look his way.
“I think Christina would love me. But I might pick Adam because of his success record. All I want is to get past is, ‘Thank you. Next, this Saturday.”