2020 has been a mega year for London-based singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, who wrote and recorded most of her latest album, Collapsed In Sunbeams, during lockdown. Listed as one of the BBC’s breakthrough acts of the year, Arlo recently told Headliner how poetry has influenced her songwriting process, and why she feels making music should be a fun, liberating, albeit very personal experience.
“It’s been very, very busy actually,” reveals Parks when I quiz her on the year she’s had so far, and it’s certainly been nothing short of that. She’d recently returned from Rome where she was involved in the filming of Gucci’s eponymous seven-part mini-series, as part of plans to present its upcoming OUVERTURE of Something that Never Ended collection.
While it’s clear that Parks has got her fingers in many pies, the fashion world being just one of them, she’s also been spending lots of time on the creative and visuals for her own upcoming project, Collapsed In Sunbeams.
“I’ve also been reading lots of books, and doing lots of interviews like this,” she says as we share a laugh. “The first lockdown was very productive, and I felt very inspired by ideas of nostalgia and what events in my life have shaped me; I felt very fulfilled by writing about that and creating an album around that world.”
During the second lockdown however, Parks allowed herself a break from the unabated writing, using it as an opportunity to recharge and consume some of her favourite art.
Her debut was in fact almost exactly two years ago when she released her single Cola through Beatnik Creative and announced her debut EP Super Sad Generation, a particularly important record in communicating her musical identity when first coming onto the scene.
“I was very aware of the fact that that record is a time capsule; it was just the beginning of the journey,” she offers. “I didn't really expect much from it to be honest. I just made it with people who I was very comfortable with. I felt that initial sense of wanting to create something that's vulnerable, and that has depth to it. I didn't really think about it too much though - I was still at school so that was my priority. It just felt like a statement of intent I guess; I was aware that I was going to grow and change as an artist.”