Local artist Trevor Parrent never thought his musical pursuits would take him beyond drumming until he met Olney Central College Director of Bands Wade Baker.

The Director’s relentless recruiting efforts have drawn music students from Olney, surrounding cities, and across the nation. He discovered Parrent’s talent nearly three years ago in Huntingburg, Ind., when Parrent was eighteen.

Parrent said, “When I met him (Baker) it was one of my very first gigs. I was playing drums for a jazz band.”

Baker invited Parrent to study music at OCC the following semester.

Parrent is a southern Illinois native who grew up in Newton. He discovered his love for music when he was five-years-old.

He said, “Mom bought me this CD, Hawk Nelson, a Christian Rock Band … I learned the lyrics to every single song on their album.”

Around that time Parrent attended a Hawk Nelson concert. He watched the show perched atop the shoulders of a friend.

“The singer called me out …” Parrent said, “He recognized me for knowing every single word … I remember how powerful he was on-stage. He took the time after the show to meet with me because he thought I was the coolest little five-year-old. That’s when I knew I wanted to be in music.”

The young music lover grew up listening to his father’s band perform. Parrent jammed on his plastic toy drum alongside his dad.

By junior high, Parrent was playing drums in the school band. The artist remembers when classmates noticed his talent.

He said, “I thought, well yeah, this is awesome, pretty girls are looking at me. Just kind of ran with it. I was caught off guard by that because I was never the cool kid.”

Parrent quickly fell in love with performing.

“I was obsessed with it, didn’t want to do anything else,” he said.

Content as a drummer, Parrent never expected the transformation which would take place under the tutelage of Wade Baker, with whom he has studied now for two years.

Parrent said, “Before I met Wade, I had never really performed whole lot or tried out for bands or wrote music very seriously. I was looked at as the drummer, and not looked at in any other aspect of the music scene. Not the front man or lyricist. I was A-OK with that.”

“The second I met Wade, my talents and performance and instruments I was working on went from about a 3 to a 10.”

Parrent says that Baker invited him to step outside of his comfort zone to explore playing additional instruments, writing lyrics, composing songs, singing, performing and learning the business of music.

“I thought he was ridiculous for having me pick up other instruments … I’m very hard-headed and stubborn. Took him two semesters to break me out of this mentality of just being the drummer,” Parrent said.

Now age twenty, Parrent can play multiple instruments, write, compose, and is wild about performing live shows.

He said, “If it wasn’t for Wade I probably wouldn’t be doing a lot of what I’m doing right now.”

Baker’s influence has not only helped Parrent evolve as a musician, but also as a person.

Parrent said, “It opened my mind. Learning and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, being open to other instruments and music culture has pushed me passed being single-minded and opinionated and stubborn.”

“…It has taken away my stress and anxiety. Instrumentally it has pushed me beyond any expectation I ever set for myself. I never thought I would be here at age twenty.”

One benefit of broadening his horizons as an artist, Parrent says, is a refined ability to manage the balancing act of busy life.

The artist says he can juggle work, school, and still show up as a positive presence in the lives of friends and family, despite the demands of a busy lifestyle.

Parrent feels the most important thing he has learned about how to be successful in music is a lesson which also translates to how to show up in the world.

“The one thing that sticks out the most,” Parrent laughed, “… is don’t be a tool. Be kind to people, be respectful, give your all to people. This is by far the most important thing. Not just in music business, but in life.”

“I’m going to be super kind, loving, and positive, and give you everything I can.”

“…The world is already hard sometimes. A lot of people are tools, don’t be a tool.”

As a performer, Parrent has discovered an incomparable joy for connecting with people through the vibration, energy, and feeling of music.

Parrent is now a professional rock-and-roller whose lyrics have been inspired by Alex Turner, Dave Grohl, and Father John Misty. His compositions are inspired by Arctic Monkeys, The Neighbourhood, Foofighter, and Bad Suns.

Parrent says his listeners can expect to laugh, to know his originals after the first listen because of their simplicity, and to know his whole life by the end of every set because his songs are mostly about real experiences and girls.

He said, “The fact that you can get up on stage for an hour and make people dance, sing along, and forget about stuff is pretty amazing. I don’t know where any of these people come from, how their days were. I don’t know their names. The fact that I can get up there, open up my heart, and them just groove along … the fact that those 50, or 100, or even 2 people were in the same room at the same place at same time, in all of the world, is for a reason.”

“…The fact that I get to help people slow down, relax, take a breath. It’s beautiful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I feel like a therapist, but then again music is therapy for me.”

Parrent encourages all aspiring musicians to not just want to play professionally, but to be active with in that desire, to do what is required to make it happen.

See Parren perform on January 31st with the OCC rock band at 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Bobalou’s in Olney.

He is also performing at 12:10 p.m. -12:40 on February 2 at American Groove Record Store in Effingham, Ill.

On the following dates Parrent will perform with the OCC rock band at 7p.m. – 10 p.m at Bobalou’s in Olney:

January 31, February 21, March 28, April 11.

Local musician, Sound Engineering instructor, and Bobalou’s manager Guy Ash is currently producing Parrent’s first EP, which is expected to be released in the summer.