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Arlo Parks: Tiny Desk Concert

Watching Arlo Parks read an excerpt from her newly published book of poetry, The Magic Border, during her performance felt like a full-circle moment for her.

Her origins as a musician began with poetry, but she also explained between songs that Tiny Desk concerts planted seeds during her formative years as an artist. "This session is generally one of the reasons that I decided to make music and I grew up with this session, so it's really special to be here."

Three years ago, with just a guitar in tow, she recorded a Tiny Desk home concert. Two albums later, she's made it official behind the real Desk, this time with a full band to back her up.

Aside from "Eugene" from her Grammy-nominated, Mercury Prize-winning debut album, the entire set is comprised of cuts from her sophomore album, My Soft Machine. The drum loops and breaks hit hard on My Soft Machine, but these stripped-down versions deviate just enough to allow her voice to sit at the forefront.

Whether speaking or singing, the British singer-songwriter puts me at ease and eloquently articulates relatable emotions in ways a mere layman couldn't imagine. At 23 years old, her poetic, feelings-first approach to music continues to set her apart from so many others in her class, and I'm excited to hear how this coming-of-age story continues to evolve.



SET LIST

  1. "Blades"
  2. "Eugene"
  3. "Pegasus"
  4. "Impurities"

MUSICIANS

  • Arlo Parks: lead vocals
  • James Fernandez: drums, music direction
  • Hannah Jacobs: keys, vocals
  • Sam Harding: bass, vocals
  • Dani Diodato: guitar, vocals
  • Matt Maijah: vocals

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Engineer: Hannah Gluvna
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame
  • Production Assistant: Zayrha Rodriguez 
  • Audio Assistant: Kwesi Lee
  • Photographer: Catie Dull
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer 
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bobby Carter
Bobby Carter is a leader on the Tiny Desk Concerts team for NPR Music. He's brought an ever growing roster of big names and emerging artists through NPR's HQ to squeeze behind the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and record standout performances, including Usher, Mac Miller, Noname, Anderson.Paak and H.E.R.