With an elusive air and a handful of woozy songs that don’t so much tug as dislocate the heartstrings, Stevie Parker is basically Bristol’s answer to Lorde. Her upcoming EP is a dark-pop festival of melancholy and yearning – get ready for a massive sob.
Your EP is inspired by heartbreak, right?
I think everything’s inspired by heartbreak really. The EP is called Blue which kind
of encapsulates that theory. They’re not all songs from the same period of time but they all have a similar message of being in situations where you can’t just love. Being in unrequited situations or situations beyond your control that de- simplify the process of loving. Which is a really complex way of putting it. So yeah, basically: heartbreak.
What’s your favourite break-up song?
‘Back To Black’ by Amy Winehouse. She’s probably my favourite artist of all time. That song is just really, really fucking sad. The way she articulates feelings that are indescribable, she kind of finds a way of making it really feel like it’s happening to you. That’s her genius as a lyricist. She’s very, very good at doing that.
Do you think anyone could sing ‘Back To Black’ and it would still feel the same?
No, I think that it’s her truth. She’s the only person in the world who’s going to know exactly what it’s about. That’s why I like song meanings to stay a bit ambiguous. I don’t like it when people put a story to it because it takes the intrigue away. You can’t help but wonder what exactly she was going through to make that haunting piece of music.
You worked with Jimmy Hogarth, and he worked with Amy Winehouse so that must have been really exciting. How was it working with him?
I’d never shared the process of songwriting before, and that was really scary for me. But he was so easy to work with, so gentle with me and encouraged my ideas but also knew when to interject. He really helped to nurture the sound organically rather than like, hey why don’t we try writing about this situation, or…
Yeah, brexit. He really let me evolve. Me and him have written a whole record together, really, and I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t met him, how it would’ve ended up.
What do you think the correct length for a song is?
I’m a big fan of four minutes. I think I’ve always found it quite hard to say everything in three and a half. I think four is becoming more acceptable on radio and stuff, which is good.
How do you feel about really long songs, like a 12-minute song?
Not for me. I think a pop song should be direct, and a lot of that is to do with saying what you’ve got to say without going on.
Do you think it’s better when songs fade out or have a proper ending?
I would always argue a case for the fade out but I quite like a definitive ending – it’s more modern and it punctuates the song a little bit better. But I don’t know, I think sometimes a fade out is everything you need.