As part of Gŵyl 2021 Arlo Parks and her band took part in a digital version of Festival Voice in March 2021 performing tracks from her new album in our Donald Gordon Theatre.
Arlo Parks is a 20-year old poet and singer from South West London, half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French who 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.
In her words, she spent most of school feeling like that black kid who couldn’t dance, listening to too much emo music and crushing on some girl in her Spanish class.
Musical influences include King Krule; an artist who would heavily influence the music she writes today, Hip Hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, MF Doom and Earl Sweatshirt and 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.
There's a visual, almost cinematic quality to her writing too, born from her love of Wes Anderson and David Lynch films, streetwear and abstract art.
As as one of 2020’s Artists to watch she was included in the end of year lists from NME, DIY, The Independent and many more, including the most coveted BBC Sound Poll, rounding off a phenomenal year for the young poet and singer.
She subsequently supported both Jordan Rakei and Loyle Carner on tour, and headlined her own debut sold out UK and European tours, playing many festivals, including Glastonbury, Latitude, The Great Escape and more.
2020 was truly set to be her year and indeed even through a pandemic, following a Hottest Record with Annie Mac for her song ‘Eugene’, Arlo Parks’ recent singles ‘Hurt’ and ‘Black Dog’ were both playlisted simultaneously on BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music A-lists, and amassed millions of streams worldwide.
Arlo also lent her voice on Glass Animals’ single ‘Tangerine’ and collaborated with producer and friend Fraser T. Smith’s on his new track ‘Strangers In The Night’ - the two also performed the song on Later With… Jools Holland.
Arlo Parks song writing has seen her her gain new fans this year including Billie Eilish, Phoebe Bridgers, Florence Welsh, Michelle Obama, Angel Olsen and Sam Fender, amongst others.
Arlo released her long-awaited debut album on 29 January 2021 alongside a string of live dates in Europe and the UK which includes two already sold out Village Underground shows in London.