Arlo Parks is a 19-year-old musician and poet from South London. After the release of her soulful debut track 'Cola' in 2018, her career has been only on the rise. Her melodic voice accompanied by her raw and emotional lyrics had people falling in love with her music. With vocals that give a sense of hazy nostalgia, she explores themes of teenage heartbreak with a honest coming-of-age narrative of the adolescent experience in England.
Arlo's dreamy new single 'Eugene' was released last month - the music video for which was directed by the Coyle-Larners, the new film production project of fellow London musician Loyle Carner and his brother.
The song and visuals offer a provocative personal display of the complexities of human relationships, and the confusing medley of jealousy, love, hate, lust and rejection that can ensue when platonic and romantic friendships get blurred.
2020 is already Arlo's year, with her single being a confirmed hit and a sold out EU tour- she has also been announced for the line up of the upcoming SXSW Festival, which will also be her first US performance!
Read on as we chat to Arlo about the strong female inspiration in her life and her creative process.
To be where you are at 19 years old is incredibly impressive! Tell us a bit about how you got started.
There was a lot of jazz playing in the house when I was growing up from Miles Davis to Art Blakey to Chet Baker as well as more traditional French music like Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel. I picked up the guitar at around 14/15 and taught myself to make beats on GarageBand then started recording demos in my bedroom.
Do you have any advice for people looking to do the same?
Work really hard and be selective with who you listen to. If you make genuine art and are disciplined things will come your way eventually.
You’ve worked with some really exciting artists - namely the Coyle-Larner brothers on your video for Eugene, and Easy Life. Is creative collaboration something that’s important to you?
It’s unbelievably important - you can learn so much from observing other people’s creative processes and it’s very special to join forces with artists you really respect.
How does it feel being a young female in the industry?
I’ve generally had a very positive experience but I recognise that the industry is riddled with issues. Personally I feel provided with an opportunity to show younger women that you can build a career in music whilst being brutally honest and without fitting the traditional image of femininity.
Do you have any influential female forces in your life, or women that you’re inspired by?
I’m inspired by my grandmother, Adwoa Aboah, Nan Goldin, Nina Simone and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Can you talk a bit about your poetry, and how this links to your song-writing?
I’m inspired by 60s Beat poetry that originated in New York eg Allen Ginsberg and Diane di Prima - this form of poetry is chaotic, unrestricted by form and completely honest. I write poetry based on 10 minute stream of consciousnesses and then mould those into songs.