We told everyone to look out for Arlo Parks in 2021 after she unveiled her sprawling debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which ended up winning a Mercury Prize, and before she was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist. Amidst this nonstop critical acclaim, she’s been taking her ethereal tunes to late-night television, with stunning performances on Fallon’s The Tonight Show, Corden’s The Late Late Show, and now she brought “Softly” to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
When Parks first released the song in February, she said: “‘Softly’ is a song about yearning. About how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love. The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a break up and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous.” This longing and luminosity can be felt in her gorgeous, glimmering performance; it soars with desire as she repeats in the chorus: “Break it to me / break it to me / break it to me / break it to me softly,” the feeling building with each time she sings the line. Her vocals sound effortlessly bewitching, giving her music a special flair that can’t be found anywhere else.
Watch the mesmerizing performance of “Softly” above.