Arlo Parks releases critically acclaimed ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’

On January 29th British musician Arlo Parks will release her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams. The album follows a string of critically acclaimed singles including the most recent offering Hope. 

Parks struggled with her identity growing up; a self-confessed tomboy who was super sensitive and “uncool”, she says it was like “I’m a black kid who can’t dance for shit, listens to emo music and currently has a crush on some girl in my Spanish class.” By the time she reached 17, she shaved her head, figured out she was bisexual and produced an album’s worth of material.

Prior to the release of Hope, Parks has released a number of songs that have been popular both on radio in the UK and strewaming services. Caroline, Green Eyes, Hurt and Black Dog have amassed millions of streams worldwide. Arlo also recently lent her vocal to the Glass Animals single Tangerine, and Fraser T. Smith’s latest track Strangers In The Night.

Growing up in South West London, half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French, Arlo Parks learned to speak French before English.

A quiet child, she’d write short stories and create fantasy worlds, later journaling and then obsessing over spoken word poetry, reading American poets such as Ginsberg and Jim Morrison and watching old Chet Baker performances on YouTube.

These days she references Nayyirah Waheed, Hanif Abdurraqib and Iain S. Thomas as her favourite modern poets, and it is clear that their works are as influential on her songwriting as any musician; books too, such as The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Parks says, “the way Murakami writes in that book is how I aspire to write my songs; gritty and sensitive and human.”

Fela Kuti’s Water and Otis Redding’s Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay soundtracked Arlo Parks’ childhood, but it was aged around 13 that she discovered King Krule: an artist who would heavily influence the music she writes today.

Later Arlo was listening to more hip-hop (from Kendrick Lamar, MF Doom and Earl Sweatshirt to the more confessional sounds of Loyle Carner) and rock (Jimi Hendrix, Shilpa Ray and David Bowie), as well as the subdued, pained sounds of Keaton Henson, Sufjan Stevens and Julien Baker, Parks explains, “I would write stories so detailed you could taste them, while maintaining the energy and life of the hip-hop I loved.”

Her songwriting has attracted some famous fans too, with Billie Eilish, Florence Welch, Michelle Obama, Angel Olsen, Phoebe Bridgers and Wyclef Jean all sharing their love for the artist.

Stream or download Collapsed in Sunbeams.

OIP Staff

Love OUTinPerth Campaign

Help support the publication of OUTinPerth by contributing to our
GoFundMe campaign.