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Loyle Carner - Confessions Hidden in Music

Photo of Loyle Carner by Charlie Cummings

Photo of Loyle Carner by Charlie Cummings

As Loyle Carner cracks an egg and empties it into a pancake mix, he whisks away while lipping lyrics from his single “Florence,” then spreads the mix into a hot pan. At first glance, you might assume you’d tuned to the Food Network and were perhaps watching a young chef showcase a new experimental cook-and-rap style of cuisine.

Yet, the music video for “Florence” is not a peek into Carner’s ambitious endeavors—but his intimate life. As he noted in an interview with Fader, “I grew up with ADHD, and found cooking was the one thing that fully relaxed me.” His music videos tell brutally personal stories about his life. In the video for “Tierney Terrace,” we see him in his home alongside his mother and brother, thus setting the stage for the missing piece, which turns out to be the greatest source of pain about his family:

Photo of Loyle Carner by Stew Capper

Photo by Stew Capper

Trust, all I wanted was a fucking man. To tell the fucking truth, hold my fucking hand

One of Carner’s most popular songs, “BFG,” labeled by Dazed as “brutally real,” further delves into his missing father. As he raps over a sample of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s “Baby”, he confesses about his father, saying towards the end, “Everybody says I'm fucking sad. Of course I'm fucking sad, I miss my fucking dad.”

One would think that the South London rapper’s confessional style conceived in a background of sensitive artists, with influences going back to 2Pac and Pete Rock, perhaps. However, the “young hunter” (as credited for his part in BBC’s 10,000 BC) grew up listening to grime music, referring to it in an interview with NME. ‘Yeah, this is me.’ It [grime] gave me a voice. It’s the one thing we all latched on to, because it’s just so fun. Before, I was just running around being loud,” said Carner.

Although absent in his recordings, this energy the “Cantona” rapper reminisced about comes to life in his concerts, where his intimate songs transform into swaggered, crowd-affirming performances. Through his live shows, fans get a look at a different Carner—a gritty, beat-bumping, shirtless, unapologetic version that bursts with energy, provoking fans into chanting: “Oh! Oh! Cantona!”

His music videos tell brutally personal stories about his life.

In 2015, Carner mentioned an album in the works and the long awaited Yesterday's Gone is out on Jan. 20th. His music is gaining momentum, even providing the soundtrack to an iPhone 7 commercial on June 2016. Whether appearing in commercials, movies, or an EasyJet flight (per his latest tour Vlog), one thing is certain about Carner; he is sure to end up in a kitchen somewhere chopping up a storm of confessions. Indeed, he’s even working with the Goma Collective, a social enterprise that supports creative projects, to teach cooking skills to kids with ADHD.

Currently, you’ll find Carner touring across Europe promoting his latest singles, “Florence” and “Ain’t Nothing Changed.”