On Saturday, August 1st, I had the pleasure of interviewing another incredible alumnus of The Collective on IGTV (@TheCollectiveNYC) : Daniel Parra! Daniel is an extremely talented drummer from Bogotá, Colombia, who studied at The Collective from 2016-2018. Upon leaving the Collective, Daniel began working as a professional recording/touring drummer for massive Latin artists such as Nanpa Básico (2 Million monthly listeners on Spotify!) and had been on tour hustling ever since!
So it was interesting to see Daniel over the internet in a fairly sleepy, gray side of his hometown due to the circumstances surrounding our world at the moment. Despite it all, Daniel was energetic, warm, and thankful for the opportunity to talk about his experience with The Collective!
Daniel began our conversation with some background into how he became a professional musician and what led him to the Collective. “I started playing ‘professionally’, I guess about 5 years ago (2015). I played rock covers in my town with my friends, which was an amazing time.” Parra continued, “It was through this that I realized, ‘I should pursue this.’ you know?”
Pursue it he did. Before coming to The Collective, Daniel studied the drums at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, one of the most prestigious universities in Colombia. Through this experience and hearing of The Collective through a friend, he eventually found his way to New York, and continued his growth in the heart of the NYC Music Scene at our school on 14th Street.
Daniel made an important point to keep an attitude of gratitude and always understanding the power of connections and taking a risk. “You always have one chance, so you never know who’s gonna be in the room listening to you. You always have to be prepared for whatever situation. When I came to The Collective, I never missed an opportunity, I never missed a chance.” mentioned Parra. He gave props to The Collective for facilitating a constant state of learning so that you don’t miss one of those chances. “You know, I was always listening to other guys in the lobby, one of my favorite places at the school. It’s where you get to meet everyone. It’s where I met a lot of the faculty. The faculty are very honest to you, and I was lucky enough to meet so many great people from all over…It’s super motivating to be at The Collective-”
Daniel stopped mid sentence to shout out and wave to fellow alumni Rintaro Mikami, a long-time friend of his, alongside a few others watching the livestream on Instagram. He smiled wide. I could tell his passion for other people and always staying connected was something he truly valued in and out of his working mindset.
We then continued our conversation. Parra name dropped student after student, updating me on how each of them were doing during this time of global lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We got into the concept of getting out of our comfort zone due to these strange circumstances. Parra mentioned he was learning to cook, emphasizing a need for curiosity to get out of your comfort zone and obtain opportunities. “I actually learned how to tune drums a little bit from watching one of The Collective’s studio managers out of curiosity. One day, a guy who ran a big studio asked me if I knew how to tune drums. They needed a drum tech.” Parra paused. “You know, I was out of my comfort zone, but I said I totally could take the opportunity. It took me a few days to get my stuff together, but I did it…and it led to more opportunities. It’s saved me a few times.” He laughed.
Parra continued, “When I came (back to Bogotá) I got depressed for a few months, which is okay, it’s normal. It’s okay to feel bad, but you can’t stay like that for the rest of your life, you need to do something…It’s up to me. So, I called my friend and started to jam again.” Daniel put his hand to his chest. “It’s about being human…You need to play with love, and kindness. People saw that in me, but it’s also about your ability to work. I needed to show people that I’m the right guy. When I got the call for Nanpa, (From the same guy that gave him his drum tech job. Connections and getting out of your comfort Zone pays off!) He saw something in me…‘You’re the guy. I’ll put my hand to the fire for you.’ and that was my opportunity.”
In the livestream chat, someone left a comment that referred to Daniel as, “The Drummer of My Heart.” and I couldn’t agree more. Daniel Parra has made such great strides musically not only because of the time he spent practicing, but because of his passion for learning, making real, human connections, and taking risks. He has a personality that shines through any circumstance on any given day, and it is just as powerful as his sound behind a kit.
You can watch the entirety of our conversation on our Instagram page (@thecollectivenyc) . Stay tuned for more exciting Alumni Conversations coming later this Fall! If you’d like to book an online lesson with some of the fantastic faculty members we mention in our interview and of The Collective at large, please go to the Book Private Lessons Page to learn more!