Parris Bowens II inspired countless musicians and artists across genres.
His influence in modern music was wide as he found himself arranging, composing, and touring with acts ranging from Israel Houghton to Marvin Sapp, The Roots, Justin Timberlake, Anthony Hamilton, Lauryn Hill, Musiq Soulchild, Timbaland, and so many others.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Parris inherited music and art at an early age from his parents, who were pastors. He attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) where Boyz II Men, Questlove, Christian McBride, Bilal, Joey DeFrancesco, and Leslie Odom also attended.
He initially considered becoming an animator and exploring his gift as a visual artist, but all of that changed in 1998 when he was discovered by Tye Tribbett and got his big break. He spent the next 10 years as an integral part of Soundcheck, Tye Tribbett’s massively influential band that was stacked with top musicians. During that time, he was signed to Sony and released three albums with them: LIFE, Victory LIVE, and Standout.
The Sound Doctrine label at Splice would not exist without Parris’ legacy, as he was not only just a bandmate and musical inspiration but a close friend. Below, John McNeill of Sound Doctrine and Pudge Tribbett of Soul Surplus reflect on Parris’ impact.
The timeless sound of Parris Bowens
As mentioned in the video, Sound Doctrine seeks to honor his legacy with The Parris Bowens Legacy Pack, which is a special release commemorating the life and artistry of the pioneering musician. By offering his work to creators, we hope to carry on the principle that he lived by: “inspire others creatively.” You can explore his sounds here—proceeds from the downloads of this pack will go to supporting his wife and children.
As an indie artist, Parris also released his own projects, A Digital Flow VOL.1 and 2, The Freedom Project, “Parris & the Revival,” Time With You, Stay: LIVE In Baltimore, and “Mitch’s Moves.” He also performed with his band Tiny Spicy Chick’n. You can take a listen to some more of his work below.
Parris’ influence and impact reached far beyond the gospel community, touching musical artists across genres, ages, and geographies. His legacy will forever live on.
August 6, 2021