From Caroline to For Violet, Collapsed In Sunbeams champions queer love stories, and indeed, queer heartbreak
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY ALEXANDRA WAESPI
In a jubilant moment for queer representation, Arlo Parks has swooped the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize for Album of the Year. Her debut, Collapsed In Sunbeams, was released on 29 January 2021 via Transgressive Records, featuring hits from Too Good, to Eugene, to Hurt.
Arlo’s win champions queer British talent, and is a historic move not only for #WLW representation in music, but for Black #WLW representation in music. The judges stated: “We decided that Arlo Parks was an extremely worthy winner. Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with Collapsed In Sunbeams Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward thinking fashion.”
Adorned in a Prada suit, Arlo shared her joy to be at the Mercury Prize on Twitter shortly before her win, stating that she felt “surrounded by so much talent and genuine love for music – this is the venue I used to cycle by on the way to school as a kid”.
Arlo produced a stunning rendition of Too Good moments after the announcement, disclosing: “I’m completely speechless. I don’t have the words. I just want to say a big thank you to my family – my mum and my dad are somewhere in the room today. It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here, and there were moments where I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through but I’m here today, so thank you very much.”
From Caroline to For Violet, Collapsed In Sunbeams champions queer love stories, and indeed, queer heartbreak. In an interview with DIVA in February 2021, Arlo spoke about her love of queer music growing up. “My queer icons were Frank Ocean and Syd from The Internet. That collective especially, they just seem so free in what they’re doing and that queerness is just a part of who they are. Seeing somebody young and queer, making music that I also completely fell in love with and that reduced me to tears, was so inspiring to me. I just felt represented.”
Having grown up listening to queer artists, Arlo has now become a figure for young LGBTQIA+ people to listen to, to look up to, and most importantly, to see themselves represented through.
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