British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks is first and foremost a poet. Words are her anchor and her love for them shines through in twelve songs on her 2021 debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. In the very beginnings of the pandemic, she rummaged through her collections of writing, from poems to journals that she’s written from the age of 13, and there, she began to piece together what would later be the heart of her debut album.
Rarely do we get a glimpse into the private, creative process of a musician— how an idea of theirs transforms into song. Arlo Parks eliminates this barrier between artist and listener and provides her listeners with a look into what poems inspired each of her creations on the album. She does not let the creative process live outside of the song, but allows it to
be an active part of it.
On Spotify, below the lyrics, listeners can read the poem that inspired the song at play.
As an avid fan of poetry herself, she regularly shares the works of poets as well as personalized music playlists to help her Instagram followers get through a hard day. Praised by the musical legend Elton John and winner of the 2021 Brit Award for Best New Artist, this is surely only the start for the 21 year old singer who has reminded us of what it means to be a true artist— which is, at the core, to be a lover of the craft and more importantly, to care for it.
An overarching theme in Collapsed in Sunbeams includes the act of overcoming and passing through the hard, rough edges of life (an idea we have all become familiar with these past couple of years). She emphasizes in her songs that it is only through the acknowledgment of this pain and through compassion and softness, that we are able to move towards joy.
“I’d lick the grief right off your lips” she sings in Black Dog. “You’re not alone, like you think you are” she reminds us in her piece, Hope. Paired with her soothing and gentle tones, her music and lyrics are a balm for the broken hearted and a beam of hope guiding us towards an era of much needed collective healing.
“I always felt like if you have a platform, then it’s your responsibility to use it to take care of people and be a positive influence in the world”, Parks says. And she accomplishes just that— through poetry and through song.
Collapsed in Sunbeams is a soulful celebration of the written and spoken word, allowing us to reimagine poetry as a once intimate and solo experience to one that can now be shared and experienced together. Catch it live and be sure not to miss Arlo Parks’ poetry in motion at her Fuji Rock debut on Saturday, July 30th, 2022.
Text by: Mishu Callan