Auckland-based artist Jarna Parsons, known professionally as Jarna, has been playing guitar since she was eight and started singing and writing songs in high school. In 2020 she has emerged as an artist with a laid back RnB sound, a strong focus on vocal hooks and relatable lyrics.
In March this year, Jarna released ‘Memoirs For The Brokenhearted’, a project which, she explains, is a mixtape rather than an album.
“It’s just a bunch of songs that don’t really relate to each other. An album would have a storyline throughout the whole collection of songs.”
Since then, she has released 40, which is a remake of Soytiet’s Number Song.
“His whole song is just the numbers, but I just took that idea and made it my own,” she says. “I just took that and used it as a hook, and then I added a storyline to it with my own lyrics.”
On both the mixtape and the recent single, Jarna worked with up-and-coming producer Edward Liu aka Edy, whom she met through studying Popular Music at the University of Auckland. Jarna really enjoys working with him.
“The best thing I got out of uni was all the connections that I’ve made, ‘cause I wouldn’t have met Edy if I hadn’t have gone to pop school. We really gelled musically. We’re both on the same page with the RnB stuff and… he’s one of my closest friends now… ”
Relatability in her music is important to Jarna, and she often writes about other people’s experiences.
“I think the majority of my topics are about relationships or about other people, and I think I usually write about what it’s like to be in a relationship, even though I’ve never been in one, but I usually write to other people’s experiences… I think now I’m getting more comfortable writing about my own experiences and my own feelings.”
A few of the songs on the mixtape are personal, including single I’m Fine.
“It’s about what it’s like dealing with anxiety,” Jarna explains. “The chorus is like, ‘I’m fine,’ but it’s just explaining that when someone actually says that, it doesn’t always mean it. It’s kind of just putting on a front and telling people what they wanna hear, but really you’re just like ‘gasp’ and have a cry at home…”
She says this was the song for which she was most involved in the production aspect.
“I actually came up with the chords. I sent him a demo track, and then he just rearranged it.”
Another personal song is Gone, which was about a friend, of sorts.
“I felt like they didn’t treat me like a friend – they just used me for a lot of stuff. Writing a song about it kind of just felt like it was all on the table, like it was done. I didn’t have to worry about it any more. It was like a big relief.”
Jarna clearly prefers looking forward rather than lingering on things past.
“I think my main goal is to make music my main career and source of income,” she says. “I think one of the biggest goals for especially next year is to get an award at the Pacific Music Awards, and I guess just making my music better, getting my fanbase to grow, and just making sure I’m always enjoying what I’m doing. And also, I hope that my music in the future is always relatable to everyone, or at least someone.”
Made with the support of NZ On Air.