London-born singer/songwriter and poet Arlo Parks pens vividly descriptive lyrics about adolescence and mental health awareness, accompanied by an enticing mixture of bedroom pop and indie soul. She first received attention for several early singles and two 2019 EPs, which gained BBC Radio 1 airplay and praise from publications such as NME. Her 2021 full-length debut, Collapsed in Sunbeams, reached number three on the U.K. album chart and was met with widespread acclaim, winning Parks the Brit Award for Best New Artist and the 2021 Mercury Prize.
Born Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho in 2000, of Nigerian, French, and Chadian heritage, Parks debuted in 2018 with the single “Cola.” The track ultimately appeared on April 2019′s Beatnik-issued Super Sad Generation EP, a release that caught the attention of Transgressive, which signed her a month later, before she’d finished her A-Level exams. After a run of singles — and a collaboration with Leicester’s Easy Life on their Junk Food track “Sangria” — she issued a second EP, Sophie, leading to a placement on the BBC’s Sound of 2020 list.
By May 2020, Parks’ “Black Dog” single was playlisted by BBC Radio 1, broadcasting its theme of mental health awareness to millions. This simultaneously boosted her profile and led to an association with the charity CALM. That track, and its double A-side “Eugene,” were co-written and produced by the New York-based Gianluca Buccellati, who had also worked with her on “Cola” and the title tracks of her EPs. This release was swiftly followed by a heartfelt, piano-led cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Arlo Parks’ debut full-length, the Grammy-nominated Collapsed in Sunbeams, arrived in January 2021. A series of vignettes about her adolescence, it opened with a scored poem. Parks performed her single “Hope” at the 2021 Brit Awards, where she was named Best New Artist. In September, Collapsed in Sunbeams won the prestigious Mercury Prize for album of the year. ~ Liam Martin & James Wilkinson