BBC Introducing: An interview with singer-songwriter Arlo Parks

Arlo Parks is a singer-songwriter and poet from south London. She was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2020 awards, a poll of music critics.

In this video, Arlo talks about her experience of taking her first steps into the music industry, she talks about her background, her inspirations, and gives advice to aspiring musicians who want to become professionals in the music industry.

Just practise, just actually start making music and honing your craft.

Arlo has been working as a professional singer-songwriter for two years with her debut album releasing in January 2021.

  • When it comes to performing live music, Arlo says the most electrifying thing is seeing songs that she's written in her bedroom or studio affect people on a personal level, and having a tangible effect on their lives.

  • Arlo talks about the venue she used to visit with her friends aged 16 allowing her to practise performing to her peers and gaining confidence in the process. It is important in her view to remember to enjoy the moment, to enjoy time where you can experiment with your performance amongst your peers and close friends

  • Inspiration comes from various places. Arlo was influenced by her father's taste in music growing up, discovering artists on the internet as well as seeing the music that some of her peers at school were creating, which encouraged her to create her own

  • Arlo's advice to aspiring singers and musicians is to practise and experiment with their craft to help discover their direction

What to expect if you want to be a singer-songwriter

What will I get paid? Your income will depend on how successful you become and how much paid work you secure. Remember, a record deal doesn't necessarily guarantee success and success doesn't necessarily mean fame. Where will I work? Initially, you'll probably work a lot from home or the recording studio. You will need to travel nationally or internationally to perform. What are the working hours like? You'll choose your writing hours. Gigs are normally at night and can end very late. On tour, there will be a lot of early mornings and travel.

What qualifications do you need to be singer-songwriter?

What qualifications do I need? None in particular – passion, experience and dedication is more important, although musical knowledge and performance skills could be beneficial.

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