Angela Parrish, a Newton native and Wichita State University grad, will perform at Plymouth Congregational Church on Nov. 11. Angela Parrish Courtesy
Angela Parrish, a Newton native and Wichita State University grad, will perform at Plymouth Congregational Church on Nov. 11. Angela Parrish Courtesy

Keeper of the Plans

Looking for things to do? Matt Riedl is your go-to guy for entertainment, art and culture news in Wichita.

Keeper of the Plans

Life after ‘La La Land’: Newton native returning home for concert

November 03, 2017 07:50 AM

It’s been about a year since Angela Parrish’s voice was heard in cinemas across the country as a featured soloist in “La La Land.”

In that time, a lot has changed for the Newton native.

She’s sung for a Super Bowl commercial and appeared at the ASCAP Screen Music Awards singing “La La Land” songs. She’s in the process of releasing her first full-length album.

And next week, she’s coming home.

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Parrish will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, as part of the Plymouth Fine Arts Series at Plymouth Congregational Church, 202 N. Clifton.

“I’m really excited to come back,” she said. “It’ll be the first time I’ve performed in Wichita since 2015.”

‘La La Land’ hype

Parrish, a Newton native and Wichita State University grad, landed her first major gig last year as the featured soloist in “Another Day of Sun,” the opening number of “La La Land.”

Parrish had been living in Los Angeles since 2012, eking out a living performing at restaurants and bars while working a survival job at a call center and teaching private piano lessons. She left Wichita to pursue dreams of performing in L.A. – much like Emma Stone in the movie.

A drummer she was playing a gig with one night mentioned he knew someone at Lionsgate who was searching for a singer for “La La Land,” so Parrish auditioned and was cast.

She doesn’t appear on screen, but her voice (0:55-1:49 in the clip, then again at 2:27-3:42) is heard throughout the film’s highway-dance number, perhaps the most cinematically impressive shot in the film.

That led to her being associated with “La La Land” all year.

She’s been written about in Newsweek, Billboard Magazine and other national publications since the film was released.

“I’ve been able to do quite a few touring engagements, speaking engagements and concerts related to ‘La La Land,’” Parrish said. “Performing live at the Hollywood Bowl – I was able to open that concert for 18,000 people, which was really awesome.”

Right now she’s focusing on her solo album, “Vehicle,” which is being released over a series of months via online singles.

The music video for her most recent single, “Chains,” features the “La La Land” actress who Parrish “voiced” in “Another Day of Sun” (Reshma Gajjar).

She’s won a John Lennon Songwriting Award and an Abe Olman Scholarship from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a prestigious songwriting award previously won by John Legend.

“It’s exciting but a lot of pressure,” she said. “I’ve been really appreciative of the opportunities.”

Watching at the Warren

Parrish came home over the holidays last year to take her parents to see “La La Land” for the first time.

At the East Warren, the movie was so popular that the screening they wanted to attend was sold out, she said.

“It was the busiest I’ve ever seen a movie theater in my whole life,” she said with a laugh. “We had to sit around for four hours and wait to get in the next (screening).”

While they waited, she ran into a friend from college, as well as her fifth-grade teacher. Each congratulated her on her fledgling L.A. career.

In addition to performing at Plymouth next week, Parrish also plans to sing at a fundraiser in Newton before returning to her busy L.A. life.

“People (from Wichita) have been so supportive and kind and excited,” Parrish said. “I have a lot of people sending me messages, or people (in Newton) who stop to tell my parents they’re proud of me. It was a wonderful experience.”

To listen to songs from Parrish’s new album, visit www.angelaparrish.com.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

From Kansas to ‘La La Land’: A Concert with Angela Parrish

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 202 N. Clifton

What: Concert by Angela Parrish, a Newton native and Wichita State University grad who ascended to popularity after being featured as a soloist in “La La Land.” She will perform songs from the movie, as well as jazz standards, blues, roots and Americana tunes.

Admission: $15. Tickets available in the church office or by phone. Cash, check, Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.

Information: www.plymouth-church.net, 316-684-0221