Who Is Arlo Parks?

Written by Written by: Brittany Adames / Photography by: Chris Almeida / April 17, 2020

South London native Arlo Parks made her breakthrough in 2018 with her melodic, lo-fi debut, “Cola.” That same year, she released her debut EP, Super Sad Generation. The poet and singer has made a mark of her own in the world of R&B music. A storyteller of her own accord, Parks explores territory that is often left unchartered in the realm of music. She began writing at a young age, delving into escapism as a means of discovering identity and sexuality in a way that creates meaning. At the age of 17, she came out as bisexual and shaved her head. Since then, the 19-year-old has exhibited a level of authenticity influenced by the struggles of adolescence and young adulthood.
"Cola" by Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks has turned to the rawness of poets like Jim Morrison and Sylvia Plath, whose poetry book makes a brief cameo in the confessional “Eugene,” where she explores the feelings she has for her best friend. The lyrics themselves are clear cut poetry: “I had a dream we kissed / And it was all amethyst / The underpart of your eyes was violet / You hung a cigarette between your purple lips / We've been best buds since thirteen / I hold your head back when you're too lean / I hold the Taco Bell and you cried over Eugene / He was mean, he was mean.” The smoothness of her vocal range and backbeats is enough to ease any anxiety you’re feeling on a given day.
"Eugene" by Arlo Parks
Parks’ sophomore EP, Sophie, was released in April 2019, a record of desolation and longing. Her poetic lyricism addresses mental health, homophobia, racism and complicated love in a matter that is both soulful and exact. The melodic aura surrounding her musical style is enough to lure you into this transcendent state of mind, unsurpassed by the level of honesty backing her work. It is seamless in ways that are easily hypnotic—the best type of hypnotic. Arlo Parks’ distinction is quite possibly unmatched. “I do not want my poetry and music to be opaque. Everybody should be able to understand it. When I studied poetry in school some works were quite different and created a barrier between the writer and the reader,” she said. “I want my work to be accessible.”
"Sophie" by Arlo Parks
The production of her work matches the aesthetic of her euphoric voice and style. Fans can tell it is intentional and meaningful, which adds to the overall listening experience. There is so much to unveil and delve into when listening to her music. If you’re looking to add a refreshing voice to your playlist, check her out.
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