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New For 2020

New For 2020: Arlo Parks

Meet the South West Londoner fusing musical and literary influences to create a sound of her generation.

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“I’m just a kid, I suffocate and slip” croons 19-year-old Londoner Arlo Parks on the chorus of her latest single Sophie. 

The track’s lyrical content, often melancholy, is juxtaposed by its soaring melody. “Sophie is a song about crumbling under expectations and feeling helpless, but with a persistent, quiet sense of hope underpinning it”, Arlo explains.

It’s the kind of sensibility that Parks will have gained from her teenage obsession with emo music. To the casual observer, bands like My Chemical Romance penned songs about death and misery, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll discover that they’re actually about hope and resilience.

Although the music she makes is vastly different in genre, the sentiment remains the same.

Sophie is the title track from the musician’s forthcoming second EP, due for release on 29 November 2019.

Check out the Molly Burdett directed visuals below:

Arlo Parks - Sophie

The forthcoming EP is the follow up to Parks’ debut Super Sad Generation, released earlier this year.

Super Sad Generation incorporates a wide range of pop, soul, jazz and hip hop influences, and was released to critical acclaim from the likes of Fader, The Line Of Best Fit, The Guardian and Complex. 

Parks; half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French grew up in South West London, learning to speak French before English.

Growing up as a quiet, self-confessed tomboy, she found solace in writing short stories and poetry influenced by the words of Ginsberg, Jim Morrison, Sylvia Plath and Haruki Murakami.

Musically, Arlo’s world was turned upside down at 13 when she was introduced to the songs of London hip hop maker King Krule, leading her to discover artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt and Loyle Carner. As fate would have it, Parks’ rising career has earned her a support slot on Carner’s forthcoming UK headline dates.

This love of hip hop was combined by Parks with an appreciation for artists who are not afraid to vocalise their pain, such as Sufjan Stevens and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. The latter is referenced on Parks’ excellent track Cola; “I miss your t-shirt in the rain, the one that makes you look like Gerard Way”.

Whilst most her age head to Newquay after finishing their A Levels, over the past summer Arlo earned a heap load of praise for her appearances at The Great Escape and Glastonbury festivals, following the shows up with a run of dates supporting Jordan Rakei on tour.

Although only a few years into her career Arlo Parks has already managed to fuse all of her different influences to create her own hybrid sound, which is sure to permeate the airwaves in 2020 and beyond.

More essential tracks


Arlo Parks - Cola (Official Music Video)

Super Sad Generation

Arlo Parks - Super Sad Generation (Official Video)

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