No. 5

CLASS OF 2020 is a limited spotlight series that showcases the best emerging talent of the year.

Who Is Arlo Parks?

Name: Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho
Hometown: Hammersmith, West London
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Orion Sun, Dijon, Snail Mail UMI, Clairo, Easy Life, Raveena
Most Likely To Soundtrack: A bittersweet scene in an indie coming-of-age film about unrequited love and teenage anxiety.

Arlo Parks is a 19 year old poet/singer from South West London. Inspired by the music of Jimi Hendrix, Earl Sweatshirt and Sufjan Stevens — as well as contemporary poets and authors like Nayyirah Waheed, Ian S. Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and Murakami — there is an undeniably literary quality to every one of her confessional indie-pop songs.

“The way Murakami writes in that book is how I aspire to write my songs; gritty and sensitive and human,” Arlo Parks explains — and with her melancholy sound and visceral lyrics she accomplishes just that, so much so that you forget you’re listening to a song rather than a film.

What Should I Listen To First?

Just this week, Arlo Parks released her single “Hurt,” and shortly before that “Black Dog,” so we’d recommend starting with these two soulful tracks. We’re also huge fans of her track “Eugene” for its wistful lyrics and dreamy vocals, as well as “George” for its funky R&B-jazz atmosphere, and “Super Sad Generation” for a good cry.

Meet Arlo Parks.

Where are you right now? 

I’m in a Volkswagen Touran on my way to play a live set on BBC Two at Glastonbury festival.

What is your favorite drink? 

The house-espresso from Nkora which is a single-origin Xejuyu from Guatemala.

What is your favorite food/meal/dish? 

Probably a pork, pinto bean, guacamole, sour cream and chorizo burrito from Tortilla.

What would be your dream collaboration? 

Collaborating with Nan Goldin on a music video.

What was the last thing you texted your best friend? 

I told my friend Ben that the poet Kobayashi Issa’s name means “a single bubble in steeping”

Who will play you in the movie about your life? 

Issa Rae

Screenshot your “Recently Played” on Spotify.

arlo parks' recently played songs on spotify

Screenshot your last food order.

arlo parks' last food order

What Arlo Parks Is Listening To.

Check out our Class of 2020 playlist below to hear what Arlo has had on repeat lately.

You’ve mentioned that your music is inspired by your favorite authors. Can you tell us your Top 3?

Dostoevsky, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath

Your songs “Black Dog” and “Eugene” focus on heavier topics like mental health, social issues and unrequited love. Can we expect these same themes to be pulled through on your debut album? 

You can expect the album to be intensely emotional and those themes are at the core of my life so far so probably.

You call yourself a “poet/singer”. Do you identify with one more than the other?

I’m definitely a poet first and foremost. I think it means I focus on what I’m saying more than how I’m singing it. I spend hours on lyrics but will probably do the vocal in one take – singing is instinctual for me.

You’ve talked about how you can tell when a song comes from an artist’s heart. What’s your favorite soul-baring track right now? 

“All I Want” by Joni Mitchell

Before COVID hit, you were scheduled to hit the road and open for Hayley Williams. What are you looking forward to most when you can go on tour again?

Hugging people and hearing their stories

You recently tweeted, “If you’ve never pretended to like a band to impress someone I don’t believe u,” so who was that band and did it work out? 

It was Animal Collective and I did indeed.

What Fans Are Saying.

Arlo Parks Lookbook.