WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Jonny Parks' new song is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Parks, who is from White Plains, just released "The Portia LP," featuring the new single "Smoke and Mirrors." The music is a blend of soul, r-n-b, jazz, and blues.
Parks, who writes his own music and plays multiple instruments started getting into music at eight when he played the harmonica and keyboard. He has released three EPs and plays throughout New York City, including Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
"I like performing live more than I like recording songs," Parks said. "I often don't know what's going to happen. I like improvising a lot."
Parks said The Apollo Theater lived up to its reputation as the toughest crowds in America.
"I did not get booed off stage," Parks said. "I made it through and if I can face the Apollo crowd, I can stand up to anything."
On "The Portia LP" Parks said he was inspired by the music of people like James Brown and Amy Winehouse. Growing up, his mother would play 1960s soul music and his sister would play contemporary R-n-B.
"I was always drawn to those genres," Parks said. "There's so much emotion in that music compared to other genres."
When he's not playing music, Parks is in his last semester as a literature major at SUNY Purchase, which has helped with his songwriting.
Parks often plays with chords on his guitar until he finds a melody that sticks in his head.
"I try to find the subject of a song and then tell a story," Parks said. "I like to set the scene."