Lawyer by day, torch singer by night

Julia Tiffany Parker Copeland lives a life in two different worlds: music and law.

For more than 15 years, we’ve seen her on stage at the Charleston Music Hall showcasing her personable singing style.

It might come across through a sultry rendition of “Santa Baby” sung to a balding, seasoned citizen in the front row. Or it could be a sensitive ballad during one of the other shows throughout the year produced by Brad and Jenny Moranz.

“I can’t think of a single torch song I haven’t sung,” says Tiffany Parker. When you look at the road she traveled to get back to her home town, songs like “Crazy” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” seem to be pitch perfect.

What people know even less is that while Julia Tiffany Parker Copeland lives in one town, she’s got a life in two different worlds.

By day, Julia Copeland is a lawyer.

By night, Tiffany Parker is a singer/entertainer.

She’s taken a journey all around the world to get here, but now that the West Ashley resident has her feet back in the pluff mud, she’s certain she’s just where she’s meant to be.

At St. Andrews High School, Parker performed with the Charleston Youth Company in various productions. Upon graduation in 1992, she attended Queens College on a volleyball scholarship. While she soured on the athletic side of things, she felt pulled to the performing arts and started taking courses that might prepare her for the ultimate dream: Broadway.

Initially, this road was bumpy. “The only D I got in college was in voice class,” she says matter-of-factly.

Upon graduating from college, it was off to summer stock in New Hampshire. With a degree in English, she took a job for $68 a week performing six musicals. The cast would perform one show at night and rehearse the next show during the day.

After two years, Parker packed her bags for a tour of the Midwest with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan.

The goal was still Broadway, though. She moved to New York and took a temp job at Goldman Sachs.

“Turns out, the best course I took in high school was typing,” she says.

Parker would leave her Wall Street job and take the subway during her lunch hour to the theater district for auditions.

She eventually landed a couple of bad parts in bad shows. Need an example? How about the off-Broadway show called “Conundrum.” It was the religious version of Rent. “But,” Parker is quick to volunteer, “I had a speaking part.”

In 1998, Parker left New York to sing and dance aboard an international cruise ship.

“It was fun and terribly lonely,” Tiffany now recalls. It was time to come home.

It’s now been 15 years since Parker returned to her hometown. In 2001, she auditioned for The Charleston Christmas Show. That was also the year she started work as a paralegal.

In 2004, she married and in 2005 decided to enroll in Charleston School of Law.

Meanwhile, she continued to perform three shows a year with Moranz Productions.

Often, while backstage, between songs, she would study flash cards while cramming for the next class. Between costume changes and curtain calls, she’d look at case studies while prepping to pass the bar.

In 2008, Parker graduated law school near the top of her class and was immediately offered a job with the firm of Hinchey, Murray and Pagliarini. She made partner five years later.

Oh, one other matter, she decided that using her first name and her married name looked much more “lawyerly.” She’d reserve her middle and maiden name for the entertainment side of life.

She is aware that very few of her lawyer buddies know much about her singing and dancing. On the other hand, even fewer of Parker’s on-stage cronies know about the law-and-order side of her persona.

She’s preparing now for a summer musical variety production called “Let the Good Times Roll.” There will be four shows in three days starting July 22.

By day, she’ll litigate, negotiate and pontificate. At night, it’s all about striking that connecting chord with the audience.

Super Lawyers Magazine named her a Rising Star in the area of civil litigation defense. Her star’s been prominently placed for some time with Charleston’s music-loving audiences.

Reach Warren Peper at peperwarren@gmail.com.