Arlo Parks brings Mercury Prize winning debut album to the Capital
When Arlo Parks fended off competition from artists including Celeste, Wolf Alice and Mogwai to claim the prestigious Mercury Prize in September, practically nobody begrudged her the win.
Reflecting on her success, the 21-year-old west Londoner said on Twitter she felt “this warm, heavy sense of happiness deep inside”, before adding: “My heart is still pounding, I still keep welling up randomly, this means an awful awful lot to me.”
Pop superstar Taylor Swift replied to her post, writing: “This is so well deserved. Your album is stunning,” before adding a series of love heart emojis.
On Thursday, music fans in the Capital can see the first Mercury Prize winner born in the 21st century in the flesh as she takes to the stage at Liquid Room.
After being starved of live music for so long, it's one of those gigs that jumps out screaming EVENT.
Parks’ debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams is a stunning collection of songs, and she can't wait to take them into the live arena.
The singer and poet, real name Anais Marinho, cites an eclectic mix of artists as her inspiration, including Harry Styles, Frank Ocean, Solange and Massive Attack.
The album was released in January and was a critical and commercial success: it charted at number three behind Not Your Muse by Celeste and Money Can’t Buy Happiness by London rapper Fredo.
In May, she won the award for best new artist at the Brit Awards.
Speaking about what keeps her grounded amid her successes, she said: “What drives me internally is growth as an artist and making new things and making things that feel better and more truthful to myself.
“External validation makes me feel like I am on the right track and it really gives me a lot of warmth but to me I am inspired by making things and making things that feel great to me.
“There is nothing like that feel.
“So I just keep on doing that, keep hanging around my friends who keep me grounded.
“They are like, ‘I remember when you were 14. You were rubbish’ and I am like, ‘Ah thanks’.”
The Covid pandemic disrupted the live music scene for almost two years, and now gigs are back on the menu, Parks says it is “important” musicians set an example to their fans about coronavirus safety at gigs.
“For me as an artist setting an example to people [what's important is] regular testing, vaccinations, just making sure people are as safe as possible.
“My family have been affected by Covid and I think it is really, really important to also communicate to fans easy ways of being safe and making sure that live music can continue to keep happening and opening up.
“Because the last thing we want is for people to get hurt and for things to close up again.
“I think it is important to just set that example.”
Arlo Parks: Collapsed In Sunbeams Tour, Liquid Room, Victoria Street, Thursday, doors 7pm, returns only
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