Get to know UK hip-hop's most sensitive soul
Few British artists are making waves like Ben Coyle-Larner, aka UK hip-hop’s sensitive new star Loyle Carner. Over the last couple of years, the Croydon-born musician has gone from unknown newcomer to bona fide rising star, via supporting Kate Tempest and Nas, and a killer debut album that more than lives up to the hype surrounding him. Here’s everything you need to know you about Loyle.
He’s great at cooking
Never mind just being an excellent musician, Loyle’s also a whiz in the kitchen. As a caring and sharing kind of guy, he wasn’t satisfied with keeping his skills to himself and set up a cooking school last year to teach kids with ADHD how to make dishes from salmon en croute to chicken ramen noodles. As someone with ADHD himself, he found whipping up delicious meals helped him deal with the disorder and hoped those who attended his week-long school could benefit in the same way. What a guy.
He’s a Mercury Prize nominee
The Mercury Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the British music industry. Over the years it’s been won by the likes of Primal Scream, Pulp, Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys, Skepta and more, while the shortlists read like a who’s who of the best in UK music of the last 25 years. Loyle’s excellent, soul-searching debut ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ was among those in the running for the trophy this year and, while he didn’t pick up the trophy, its mix of confessional hip-hop and warm, soulful sound means he’s still a winner.
He’s the new face of YSL Beauty
Loyle’s one of three faces signed up for YSL Beauty’s new male fragrance, Y, none of whom are the traditional famous types you’d expect to see staring down at you from billboards. He’s the perfect fit for the new scent, which was inspired by a generation of creative, boundary-pushing men – hard working, innovative and inquisitive, and hungry for success on his own terms. Like many others his age, Loyle is carving his own path – not that the humble rapper sees himself as any kind of pioneer, though. Speaking in relation to his appointment as the face of Y, Loyle noted: “I don’t like doing things that have been done.”
He’s a family man
Loyle’s described his family as his biggest influence and it’s clear they’re very dear to him. “My mum and dad used to play an eclectic mix of music in the house, all centred around the importance of words,” he says. Mum Jean features on his record and even made a surprise appearance on stage with her son at Glastonbury, while his dad, who passed away in 2014, also can be heard on ‘Yesterday’s Gone‘. The album artwork, meanwhile, is a touching black-and-white photo of the musician with his family, friends and mentors that shows the importance of his inner circle to him.
His videos are just as good as his music
“A video can influence someone’s perception of a song,” says Loyle of the world of music videos. That’s why he controls all of the visuals that accompany his tracks, creating his own world that expands beyond the songs themselves. ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ sees a prosthetic-clad Loyle playing an older, grey-haired version of himself, while the one-shot clip for ‘No CD’ travels from a stoic Rock Band session in the kitchen all the way up to a jam in the attic.
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