Harpist busks it on way to the top
Wednesday 06 September 1995
A busking harpist who publicised his privately recorded first album by giving concerts in shopping centres will realise his ambition this month by playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, on London's South Bank.
Rupert Parker, 35, was struggling to make an impact in the music world when he tried to find an affordable new harp in 1987. In a London showroom, the classically trained musician's eyes came to rest on a 45-string, stereo electric harp and he asked to try it out. It was so rare that interest was shown in the instrument that its creator, Victor Salvi, asked to watch Parker play. He was impressed and loaned the instrument to him indefinitely.
"The trouble is that a harp is regarded as a totally classical instrument, and some people regard it as sacrilege to have an electric harp such as this," said Parker. Even with Mr Salvi's backing, he was shunned by record companies and had to record his own album. Five years later, Parker began to tour shopping precincts to demonstrate his newly-perfected sound: "In 1992, I managed to get a four-week stint in Harrods' music department to launch my first album and I sold 1,000 tapes and compact discs while I was there," he said. Disappointed by the performance of his distribution company, Parker arranged his own publicity. At Christmas he toured shopping centres and sold over 500 copies.
"The first time I was at Lakeside shopping centre in West Thurrock, WH Smith kept coming back to ask for more and more tapes," said Parker. "They started off with 20 cassettes and then asked for 600 more." His was the top-selling album at their Lakeside store last year.
He said that he now had a mailing list of 4,500 people and had sold more than 100,000 cassettes and CDs.
t Rupert Parker's new album, Original Works, will be released on 18 September and officially aired at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 25 September, the first date of a national tour.
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Slough train station deaths: Woman and child killed after being 'pushed in front of train'
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Labour Party conference: Ed Balls to set out plan to freeze child benefit to balance books
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...