Since graduating from Ashbourne in 2019, Arlo Parks has gone from success to success.
Winning AIM One to Watch and BBC Introducing Artist of the Year in 2020, she has now been nominated for an incredible three BRIT awards for Best Album, Best British Female Artist and Best New Artist, as well as being listed to perform at the ceremony.
Many would think that it would be impossible to pursue such a career whilst completing your studies. However, the freedom and accessibility of music as a result of different web platforms has meant that artists like Arlo Parks (or Anais as we knew her!) can follow their passion whilst also finishing school, with fantastic grades to boot.
For Anais, everything started small, as she told us at a Q&A session for our students last year:
“I started making music when I was 15 or so. I basically went on YouTube and looked up how to make a beat. I also looked up how to be famous, but that wasn’t helpful!”
After creating music on her computer using GarageBand and uploading tracks to SoundCloud, she began performing at open mic nights around West London.
“There was this venue in Richmond called Basement Door that was putting on nights so I would do that with my friends - no soundcheck, no idea what we were doing...we were just thrashing our instruments! It was good practice.”
After dabbling in music for a few years, Anais decided to upload one of her tracks on to BBC Introducing,
“So I put up some of my songs, a month went by and I didn’t hear anything, two months, three months, four...after six months I got an email from someone saying “ I heard your song, do you want to come in for an interview? It was out of the blue, I was just doing my homework and had forgotten I’d put it up!”
It was there that Anais really started to get attention for her music, being introduced to her manager and future collaborators for songs such as ‘Cola’, which solidified her reputation as an artist.
Whilst this was of course very exciting, Anais still had to keep her studies going at Ashbourne. Her mother in particular was very firm on this!
“In September 2018 I put out Cola and I was just going about my life, I was doing my A-Levels, knuckling down and all of that, and then suddenly things started happening with that track. It was slowly but exponentially increasing. It got to 1000 plays and I told my mum “I’m doing music now!”. She was like “OK, go back to your studies”."
It was shortly after this that Lily Allen came across Anais’ music and was promoting her on her social media platforms and she managed to secure a tour with Jordan Rakei and Loyle Carner.
Anais is a perfect example of the way that young artists and creative people can use the internet to pursue their creative passions. Whilst all this was happening, Anais was able complete to studies and managed to graduate from Ashbourne with some fantastic grades.
You can catch Anais performing at the BRIT Awards 2021 on Tuesday 11th May where hopefully she’ll pick up an award!
Follow Arlo Parks' Instagram for further updates on her journey or check out her albums on her Arlo Parks' website.