Photos: Adam Gasson
“I don’t think I ever really had major ambitions to do music.” Stevie Parker is a picture of understated accomplishment: an oversized black velour jumper hangs about her frame, and strands of incandescent silver hair fall casually on her face as she talks about writing, gigging and her expectations for the band’s new album, The Cure.
This modest attitude does her pursuit of music very little justice. Parker’s reputation may have snowballed in the last year or so, but while many of the album’s tracks were written in the last five years, this is a body of work which has been eight years in the making. With plenty of interviews and live shows cropping up in advance of their album release, the band is experiencing a prolific surge of success in Bristol.
From opener, ‘This Ain’t Right’, to closing number, ‘This Time’, The Cure covers the story from a 15-year-old Parker, struggling with inner turmoil and making music in her bedroom, to a 23-year-old young woman co-writing tracks with Jimmy Hogarth. A lot has happened, and the album really works to convey this: “I like that it’s covering that bit of time because I think it’s reflective of my life: my youth. I’m not going to get the chance to write about that in that way again, and it’s good to have that sense of a journey to reflect on. Some people write diaries: it’s just another medium for conveying that.”
“I might not get the chance to do another album”
Not having an extensive body of work behind them, the band haven’t been entirely sure what to expect as their debut met the world, and Parker admits that the sudden rush of interviews and gigs in the last couple of months has been “good but a little intimidating.” “It’s been like being on the precipice and looking over the edge,” – impossible at that point to tell what the band’s next steps would be with the then-impending album release.
“I can’t write inauthentically” she declares, yet unfortunately, communicating said authenticity doesn’t come quite as easily between songs: “The talking bit is not my strong point”, Parker says. “I don’t really have the gift of the gab when it comes to speaking to crowds. I sometimes worry that I may come across as being rude or disinterested to people – but I just don’t actually know what to say.”
Quite content with the band’s current state of affairs, Stevie Parker muses over her own trajectory, and the idea of fame is still a very distant one to her: “Perhaps the more famous you get, the more ambiguous you have to be. For example, if I go to London, no one knows who I am. But back in Bristol I get the occasional person recognising me. That feels really sincere. I play a lot of gigs in and around Bristol, so I feel like I deserve it.”
Nevertheless, Parker is still finding ways to overcome the issues that come with being in the public eye – censorship becomes a second nature: “Is this relevant? Who am I going to offend this time?” she poses, on writing new experiences into songs. For the most part though, she seems rather unconcerned with the idea of a second album, stating that, “it’s unlikely, but things could go awfully, and I might not get the chance to do another album.”
Rather than worrying about what the future holds – “musicians: we’re pretty much all basket cases, so we’re quite likely to always have something to write about” – Parker talks passionately about her inspirations for creating music. She’s a massive fan of London Grammar and Hannah Reid’s incredible voice, but despairs at the lack of talent that’s required to become a musician nowadays: “what happened to all of the great singers? I think you’re allowed to be a singer, and not a good one, as long as there’s production or some other value there to make up for it.”
“It could be a nice little boost, or it could be something that changes my life”