Label volunteer, Alec Reed, writes about his favourite artist, kicking off 2021 with some positivity.
Life can be an incredibly hectic, chaotic, confusing, worrying, scar-
You get the picture. In short, life can get a little busy. I often seek for escape from everyday life, you know, the times where you would rather just be alone. Away from the world, away from people. Sometimes, even away from yourself. Music is my escape from life, it allows me to detach or immerse myself in the environment around me. I have had my phases, as we all do. The “closet emo” phase: Admit it, we all have. The “indie boy” phase: “Have you heard of this really underground band called Oasis?” My palette of music has fluctuated over the years, that’s for sure, but it’s safe to say I have now found my feet with what I truly like. Something that can truly unlock that sense of escapism I desire in life, something that I can listen to and just relax.
2020 was a year that needed its fair share of escapes, and it looks as if 2021 will be the same too. So once again, I will be seeking counsel from various Spotify playlists, allowing me to vicariously live the lifestyle of my favourite artists. But one thing people always ask, is “who is your favourite artist?” Well, like my meal deal choice, it always changes. However, with that being said, there is an argument for one man, somebody who has inadvertently opened me up to a whole new world of artists.
That man is Loyle Carner. Loyle is a very cool man, far cooler than I have and will ever be. Despite his poor taste in football teams, his music has been my “plus one” everywhere I go. Bus journeys, walks, runs, lockdown after lockdown I’ve always had some LC playing between the ears. I could wax lyrical about the man all day, for a number of reasons. Loyle is, and he wouldn’t mind me saying this (not like he’d read this), probably the antithesis of the current state of rap. Amongst a culture surrounding materialism, lust and a sense of one-upping those around you, his music tells you that he is very much not a part of that crowd; with a lot of that owing to his life previous to Mercury prize nominations, sold-out tours and appearances at Glastonbury. Not to sound pretentious (proceeds to be pretentious), but when I find a new artist, as I did with Loyle, I often look beyond their discography. Looking into Loyle’s life, it was something that I took a lot from. He is a very talented storyteller, which when partnered with his adroit lyricism, culminates in an incredibly engaging portrayal of who he is. He covers a multitude of topics in his respective albums and EP; such as mental health, race, relationships with both friends and loved ones, his struggle with ADHD, as well as the responsibility he had as a young adult following the loss of his father.
Further adding to the personal elements to Loyle’s musical DNA, when it comes to writing and the process of making music, the rapper is very open about the influence his parents had on his creativity and music taste, with both of them featuring on his albums. His mother Jean reads poems on both albums, in the tracks ‘Sun of Jean’ and ‘Dear Ben’, both of which will make any mother, son or human being tear up. The esotericism embedded throughout his work is just one of many reasons why I hold Loyle in such high regard. But sticking to music, one the main reasons why I see Loyle as my favourite artist is because listening to him introduced me to a new selection of artists, producers and poets who I have grown to love.
MF DOOM (RIP), Common, Knucks, Arlo Parks, Benjamin Zephaniah, Kate Tempest are just a small selection of people I have found through LC’s work. His Radio 6 “Artist in Residence” show, completely burst the hatch open in terms of people I have found or learnt more about: Madlib, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, the list goes on. It is through Loyle Carner where I have found more people who allow me to escape from the mundanity of everyday life. Loyle made a comeback towards the end of last year, releasing the track ‘Yesterday’, a collaboration with the previously mentioned Madlib, who Loyle talks on being one of his biggest inspirations. The track did not miss, which seems to be the running theme with LC, with his music never seeming to disappoint.
If you haven’t listened to LC yet, I strongly suggest doing so. Despite not being able to see him live yet (thanks COVID), I am more than content continuing to feed my escapism by listening to him through my headphones or laptop; whether it be a new release, or on Radio 6.
So, when people ask me “Hey Alec, who’s your favourite artist? It’s safe to say the first name that’ll pop into my head, will be Loyle Carner.
Header designed by Annabel Smith – Deputy Head of Design
Article Edited by Matthew Rousou – Label Music Editor