On this week's episode of Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1, Elton chats with rising artist Arlo Parks about her critically-acclaimed debut album 'Collapsed in Sunbeams', which peaked at Number Three in the UK album charts. The two discuss the use of poetry to inspire the album, their mutual love for Portishead and more.
Arlo Parks on writing her debut album during lockdown and the inspiration behind it...
'Most of this album was actually written during that first lockdown that we had in March and in an apartment actually, in East London, in Hoxton. And so, it was recorded there. And I basically just brought together all the journals that I had kept since I was about 13 years old, and all the poetry and the folders of lyrics that I had. And just spent two weeks in there, just mining those conversations and those moments that I felt shaped me, because I was 19, moving into my 20s and wanted to reflect on that.'
Elton on Arlo's record and listening to it in the shower...
'The simplicity of the album is beautiful, and it doesn't have much... It has a band on it. It sounds great, but it's an album that will never date. It's you. It's your thoughts, your creative process, your voice, your songs. It's so bloody impressive, I'm thrilled for you. It
's music to my ears because this is the sort of music I love.'
'Whenever I have a shower I put music on. And we're playing your album the other day and it just put a smile on my face. And it's like, "Oh, thank God." It's like playing a Joni Mitchell record or something like that. It's so nice to hear something so beautiful and so well-thought-out, so simple and so classy.'
Arlo and Elton on the Portishead inspiration behind track 'Hope' on the album...
Arlo: 'I mean, with this song, I was very inspired by the album Dummy by Portishead. I was really inspired by the drums on some of those Can records. And I was inspired by a lot of the jazz that I grew up listening to in my home. And I just wanted to create something that felt uplifting. I wanted to give people a sense of being part of something. And although everyone's isolated, not feeling alone and not feeling ashamed about those difficult feelings that a lot of us have.'
Elton: 'I know. Well, I totally get the Portishead connection. When I listened to the record. I spoke to a friend of mine who's a music critic and we both said it reminds us of Dummy, the first Portishead record.'
Arlo: 'Oh that’s the best compliment ever.'
Elton: 'Yeah. It really reminds me of Dummy. But you can't make a record like that and have it come out unless you don't have the talent. And you have the talent and that's the core thing. And you must be really looking forward to coming, whenever this nonsense goes away, of playing it live.
Elton: 'I'm sure you have a wonderful persona on stage. I'd love to see it when it happens. It reminded me when I first heard Joan Armatrading many, many years ago. I love Joan. And she's been quite a friend for years. And the spirit, the same kind of spirit that she had, you have.'
Arlo: 'Yeah. Well, I mean, that's also a wonderful compliment because I was listening to that song, Willow, a lot as I was making this record, which has a very calming energy.'
Elton on his love for Arlo's album...
'Well, listen, thank you, Arlo, for this amazing album. I wish you nothing but success, continued success because you're on the road now. And you're just like a little flower opening up.You have a very bright future and we'll be playing and supporting your record and your talent for many years to come, hopefully. And I hope I get to see you one day and tell you in person how much I think about you. Okay?'