Originally from Hampshire, British artist ARK’s love for music bloomed as an adolescent after a chance encounter with Joni Mitchell’s Blue, and from that she began penning songs of her own non-stop. Growing up surrounded by all walks of musical life, she found her voice singing with her family and learnt piano from a local eccentric.
ARK took her first steps onto the scene in late 2017 and has been turning heads and catching ears ever since. Breakthrough hit Made For Us achieved over one million streams which is no mean feat for a new artist. Recent release Over and Over also hit more than a handful of streaming milestones, including features on Spotify’s coveted ‘New Music Friday’ in Germany, Austria and Turkey, multiple Spotify playlists in Denmark as well as Spotify’s ‘Women Don’t Cry’. Her talent has been recognised by the BBC, where she has performed at the Live Lounge, and received ‘Track of the Day’ for BBC Introducing In The South and Introducing Solent.
Released July 13th, ARK recently returned with deeply gripping Electro Pop cut Let It Breathe. We were lucky enough to catch up with ARK to hear about her inspirations, future and more!
How would you describe your sound/vibe?
A friend came up with the genre ‘Shadow Pop’ to describe my sound the other day and I think it’s pretty spot on!
So I noticed in your description that you started writing music after listening to Joni Mitchell’s Blue and learning piano from a local eccentric. Firstly, what is it about Blue that inspired you?
Joni was the first “successful” artist that I heard growing up who sounded like nobody else. I couldn’t define her genre, but it didn’t matter because I could feel the emotion in her music. I had a load of feelings and thoughts going around my head at that age (as every teenage girl does ha) and I didn’t know how to process them or let them out. Her music became the catalyst for me to put what I was feeling into song, and because of that, Blue is one of the most special albums ever to me.
Secondly, can you elaborate on the “local eccentric”? I’m dying to know.
The local eccentric! That was Mrs Palmer. She was a lovely old Scottish lady, who lived at the end of a little close in my town. On a surface level, she seemed pretty straight edge, until you’d go into her tiny piano room for your lesson, and over half of it would be spent listening to BIZARRE stories about her life rather than actually learning! The stories definitely helped the songwriting. She was a dark horse!
How would you describe your songwriting process?
It varies so much, but it always comes from a feeling. Sometimes I find a nice melody or chord progression, and sing some gibberish over that until I find out what it is I’m trying to say, or sometimes I start with a few lyrical lines that I know I have to use.
Where does the name ARK come from?
My surname is Clark, so it was initially from there. When I looked into it, I discovered that an ARK is a chest that holds the torah scrolls in a synagogue. My mum’s side of the family are Jewish and I liked the sentiment of having my own little ARK to put all of my songs in to. I see ARK as the home of my songs.
What inspired “Let It Breathe”?
Let It Breathe was inspired by the intensity and highs and lows of living in a small space with someone. It’s about that feeling when two people are addicted to each other so much that they struggle to be apart, yet when they’re together they just need space.
What inspires you?
People, relationships, love, and the sky.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m loving the new album by Emilie Nicolas, and Big Red Machine are blowing my mind! I’m also listening to a lot of Donny Hathaway.. his voice is pure silk.
I see you supported Paloma Faith, who I love, and Pixie Lott that must have been very exciting! How did that come about?
Yes! Supporting Paloma was amazing. It was in a beautiful forest in Cornwall, and came up very last-minute through my booking agent. It’s a huge honour to be supporting these kinds of artists and I’m truly loving every second.
What does the future hold for ARK?
Well, I’ve just had some mixes back of new songs and lets just say I’m verrrrrrrry excited! Until then, lots of shows, lots of writing, living and having a lovely time!
You can also listen to Let It Breathe on Spotify here