When I met Loyle Carner at the O2 Academy Newcastle, my first impression was that he is shy, quiet and quite normal in fact. There is no braggadocio that one may associate with rappers and hip-hop generally, despite supporting the likes of Joey Badass, a loud and flamboyant Chicago rapper. However, part of the charm of Loyle Carner is how humble he is despite being one of the most impressive rappers to come out of UK rap scene for years.
"Loyle Carner is refreshing like an ice tea in an ice bath after spending a week in the desert with no water"
So how did such a humble guy become one of the UK’s exciting new talents? Perhaps one of the most interesting reasons for his confessional style of rap and his intricate flow is his ADHD and dyslexia, which Loyle Carner struggled with throughout school. His stage name is what he used to write on his school work because he muddled the ‘C’ and the ‘L’ in his surname. ‘ADHD and dyslexia pushed me down the field I chose of being a creative as I was forced out the lineal work environment.’ He owns up to being fired from a waiting job for miscalculating change and having to pay his own wages to cover the loss from the restaurant. ‘I used to write for myself to make sense of what was going on in my head so I wasn’t really thinking “this has got to be cool”, it was more just written as it had to be.’ However, this is not to say that Loyle Carner sees his ADHD and dyslexia as a total disadvantage.
ChilliConCarner is a cooking school he set up this Summer for kids with ADHD to get them out of the classroom and focus them on creative work. Loyle Carner tells me that with ADHD, you’re distracted easily but having different elements to cooking helps him focus because he has many different distractions cooking itself. ‘We did a week’s course with 8 kids and we taught everything from chicken ramen to beef wellington and homemade pasta.’ Not only did he teach the kids himself but he also funded the project. ‘The course was small because I’m not a millionaire but the aim set up summer schools in Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool etc. looking after kids with ADHD everywhere!’ Are there any artists that he’s worked with that would beat him in a cook-off? ‘The only other artist I’ve cooked for or been cooked for is Tom Misch. He just cooks pasta. He’s not that good…’
Loyle Carner’s other passion is football so I brought one to the O2 Academy to see what tricks he had to show for me. On his first attempt at an ‘around the world,’ where the ball is flicked up and a foot swings round the ball in mid air, he surpassed my expectations not only doing the trick with ease but returned the ball to me with a back-heel flick pass. When I asked him about his predictions on the next England manager, he thinks Gary Monk is his top choice. What about Jurgen Klopp of his beloved Liverpool FC? ‘Well obviously Klopp if it’s anyone but he’s too busy getting us [Liverpool] to the top.’ I was also keen to try out his pre-show ritual: whisky and yoga. Sadly, there was no whisky, and downward facing dog was slightly awkward in the tiny interview studio as I was about 5 inches from Loyle Carner’s face, but it was interesting to do a pre-show ritual all the same.
Who would Loyle Carner like to work with next? ‘I’d love to work with Madvillain. Anderson Paak would be cool as well.’ Both artists have jazzy soulful beats to rap to so either would suit Loyle Carner well. My final question to Loyle Carner summed up his modest and humble character. Is it hard to be true to yourself as you become more famous? ‘I don’t really think I’m famous.’ This comes after playing the Main Stage at Outlook this summer!
Loyle Carner is refreshing like an ice tea in an ice bath after spending a week in the desert with no water.