Arlo Parks: Artists should set an example over Covid-19 safety at gigs

The rising star is nominated for the Mercury Prize alongside Celeste, indie band Wolf Alice, jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia and more.

Mercury Awards nominations announcement – London
Mercury Awards nominations announcement – London

Arlo Parks says it is important musicians set an example to their fans about Covid-19 safety at gigs.

The 20-year-old, whose debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams has been nominated for the Mercury Prize, said regular testing and vaccination were crucial when it came to live shows.

Parks is joined by singer Celeste, indie band Wolf Alice, jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia, prog rockers Mogwai, singer Laura Mvula and more on this year’s shortlist.

Speaking at the launch of the shortlist, she told the PA news agency: “For me as an artist setting an example to people, as you say, regular testing, vaccinations, just making sure people are as safe as possible.

“My family have been affected by Covid and I think it is really, really important to also communicate to fans easy ways of being safe and making sure that live music can continue to keep happening and opening up.

“Because the last thing we want is for people to get hurt and for things to close up again.

“I think it is important to just set that example.”

West London-raised Parks, real name Anais Marinho, described the feeling of being nominated as “just butterflies”.

She added: “I was telling someone else before that this is one of those moments where my dream actually did come true.

“I am sure that somewhere in my journals 15-year-old me wrote, ‘I saw these people being nominated and I wonder who is going to win. I wonder if I will ever get there?’

“And here I am standing here, so it feels good.”

Mercury Awards nominations announcement – London
Arlo Parks attends the launch of the Mercury Prize nominations (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Her acclaimed debut album was released in January and charted at number three behind fellow Mercury Prize nominee Celeste’s Not Your Muse and Money Can’t Buy Happiness by London rapper Fredo.

In May, she won the award for best new artist at the Brit Awards.

Speaking about what keeps her grounded amid her successes, she said: “What drives me internally is growth as an artist and making new things and making things that feel better and more truthful to myself.

“External validation makes me feel like I am on the right track and it really gives me a lot of warmth but to me I am inspired by making things and making things that feel great to me.

“There is nothing like that feel.

“So I just keep on doing that, keep hanging around my friends who keep me grounded.

“They are like, ‘I remember when you were 14. You were rubbish’ and I am like, ‘Ah thanks’.”

The ceremony will take place on September 9 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

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