Parson James Drops “Only You” And Takes Us On A Trip To Auckland
travel guide

Rising star and self described “conflicted pop gospel” singer Parson James released the track and lyric video for “Only You” you today, furthering his ascent to the top.

The 23 year old is best known for his collaboration with Kygo on “Stole The Show” along with his own solo release The Temple EP in 2016.  Making waves with his own spin on soulful pop-R&B, James has delivered an emotional break up ballad that ultimately highlights the healing process that inevitably comes with a split.  Raw lyrics and a video to match, James’ voice carries the track.  It’s like vanilla ice cream on a summer day or reaching into a bag of Skittles and pulling out a red one first.  It’s a real treat.

Growing up in the south, moving to NYC and eventually settling in LA, James has done his share of bouncing around.  One place that stuck with him the most was when he took a skip across the world and landed in New Zealand.  Having recorded a live Spotify Session there complete with the GALS Choir, James has really fallen in love with the county and particularly Auckland.  He gave us the run down of some of his favorite spots to eat, to inspire and to down right enjoy.

Favorite restaurant and what’s your order:
Favorite restaurant hands down is Blue Breeze Inn on Ponsonby. Truly I go there nearly every single day that I’m in town. It’s almost a running joke between staff that I should basically move in. Go for the Pork Buns and watch your life change.

Favorite bar and what’s your drink of choice:
Cocos Cantina. Besides being one of the most delicious restaurants in town, this place is also an exceptional spot for happy hour. Tucked into a quaint spot on K Road, the staff is super hip and the outdoor area is incredible. I’m going for the Rosè.

Favorite coffee shop and what are you sippin’ there:
Eight Thirty on K Road. Karangahape road is an experience on its own with all the shops and vibrant folks bopping about. This cafe is where I would pop over from my managements studio and offers a little feel of Brooklyn in middle earth. My Order: Cold Brew w/ Almond Milk black.

Where would you recommend people stay in Aucks:
Okay, if you’re staying in Auckland I would suggest the gorgeous Sofitel on Viaduct Harbor. You can get bay view rooms and have easy access to the ferry. It’s a beautiful hotel with incredible waterfalls as you walk in and an amazing staff. I must add though, if possible, you should try to stay on Waiheke Island at least one night. Stay at La Bodega Bed & Breakfast. It’s one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever stayed. It’s run by a very lovely couple who have traveled to New Zealand following a dream of running a hotel. It’s modern and sleek with restoration hardware type decor and rooms with humongous open windows that face all the nature/ocean and beauty of the country.

Favorite place to catch a show:
The Golden Dawn. This place is so special. So you’re strolling down Ponsonby and you pop up on this little wonder. It has no signage or anything to indicate that it’s an establishment on the exterior besides the coolest people ever walking inside or waiting in like. It’s got a dark/majestic speak easy vibe once you enter. You’ll get homemade mulled wine as ur waiting on the band to set up in the corner. You’ll find the most diverse music genres nightly here. From world, country, soul, jazz, funk. It’s truly special. Sadly it’s closing next year so get there quick!

Best karaoke in town:
Family Bar. Hands down Family Bar on K Road. If you ask any of the employees there they will tell you I spend a LOT of time @ family bar karaoke. It’s THE gay bar in town but also has so many different elements within it. The karaoke side is like a western saloon. Then through a door ur in a full blown night club. Or you can go downstairs to the rave like dark room. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet.

What’s the most inspiring outdoor space:
Waiheke Island. Point blank. Period. One of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s a short 30 min ferry over from Auckland’s Viaduct Harbor. The ride over alone is a remarkable view and you can have nibbles and wine on the ferry as you pass by Volcanoes and admire the sea. Once there, prepare to stay a while. The island is full of adventures like jet skiing, swimming, horseback riding and covered in gorgeous vineyards. Pop over to Tantalus Estate vineyard, Stonyridge or my personal favorite Man O War vineyard for incredible views, food and WINE.

How do you find the audiences in NZ compare to audiences in the states:
I think the main difference between US and NZ audiences I’ve noticed is down to engagement. I’m not speaking to all people in either country, but I find the US has a heavy culture of watching a show through a cell phone while recording. In NZ I’ve truly felt a huge difference in the engagement aspect. My  audiences there have always been extremely present and I love and appreciate that.

Do you draw inspiration from Auckland, how does it inform your music:
I’m 100 percent inspired by Auckland. I’ve been nearly 5 times in the past year alone. Something about the lifestyle, atmosphere and most importantly the connection to their indigenous culture has truly moved me. It’s such a special thing to see how the Maori culture is so present within everyday life and how important the customs and traditions are to all Kiwi people. Besides being one of the most beautiful places on the planet, this country also is full of some of the most beautiful and inspiring humans as well.

You are an artist the embraces a collaboration, who would be your ultimate collab:
My ultimate collaboration would be a dream team of myself, Adele and Dangermouse.

photo by: Shervin Lainez