When BYU students Sydney Carling, Brady Parks and Paige Wagner formed their band, The National Parks, they didn’t necessarily have their sights set on climbing the iTunes charts. But when their album “Young” reached No. 16 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter category, they welcomed the surprise.
“It has been the most exciting surprise that we could ever have hoped for. We’ve been working so hard, and we’ve had the album for a while without releasing it, and to see the reaction that other people have to it has been very amazing and humbling to us,” Parks said in an interview with the Deseret News. “When we found out that we were climbing up the iTunes chart, it was just kind of surreal and very exciting.”
The band sees its positive experiences as a testament to the value in working toward big goals.
“Hard work does pay off, and as cliché as it sounds, if you dream big and do everything that you can to go for it, that little surprises along the way happen and keep pushing you forward,” Parks said. “It’s been a great learning experience as we’ve been pursuing all of this, just to get ourselves out there and have people hear the music and like it.”
The band’s debut album has received positive feedback from fans and new listeners.
“The guys are going places,” wrote teevtron on the album’s customer reviews on the iTunes store. “Every song is very well thought out and the harmonies are amazing. The best-kept secret of Provo, though I doubt they’ll be a secret for long.”
But despite increased attention and praise, The National Parks' focus is on spreading uplifting messages.
"One of the unique things about this band is that we’re not driven or motivated by the fame or the money or anything that goes along with getting famous,” Parks said. “We’re very committed and dedicated to the LDS religion, and we want to be able to use our music to inspire others and to uplift and be examples of a greater good, and so that’s just kinda the thing that drives us. And ... what’s so great with working with all of the people that we work with [is that] the fans [and] everyone kind of shares that vision.”
“Young” is available for purchase on iTunes, and The National Parks looks to produce another album in the future. But its next project will create music for The National Park Experience, which is a film series featuring people whose lives have been touched by the National Parks.