On the hunt for three guys who would best embody the creative and passionate spirit of new men’s fragrance, Y, Yves Saint Laurent found the perfect ambassadors in French artificial intelligence researcher Alexandre Robicquet and NYC based sculptor David Alexander Flynn; also tapped by the fragrance babes was south London rapper, Loyle Carner.
If you recognise the name, it might be because the 22-year-old (real name, Ben Coyle-Larner) has been the talk of the town ever since the release of his debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, earlier this year. Wowing festival crowds across the country throughout the summer, he was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize (narrowly missing out on the top spot to Sampha last week), and is fast becoming one of our all time faves.
Critically acclaimed for his refreshing take on rap, Yesterday’s Gone blends jazz and hip-hop with intelligent, honest lyricism that will make you fall in love with him on the first listen (we certainly did). A breathtakingly frank look into the young artist’s life, Loyle let’s us in on his relationships with girls, his feelings over his biological dad leaving and his questions about God, and that’s all covered in album opener “The Isle of Arran”!
The rest of the record winds beautifully between sincere storytelling and singalong moments. The best interpretation of its themes can probably be attributed to its artwork, which depicts a family portrait, Loyle and his mum, Jean, front and centre. Talking about the biggest influences on his music, he immediately points to her, describing her as his biggest motivation for working so hard. And TBH, it’s impossible to watch him bringing her on stage after his triumphant set at this year’s Glastonbury without shedding a tear over how happy you are for both of them.
It’s little wonder then, that YSL decided to recruit Loyle to front a fragrance that pioneers forward-thinking, hard-working and passionate creatives. This is Loyle Carner in a nutshell. A heart-on-his-sleeve melody maker, like YSL, he’s pushing the boundaries in his field and showing the brilliance that can come from it.
But what’s Loyle’s own advice on how to be a pioneer and make (in our opinion) the best album of the year? “Nothing good happens after 3am.” Noted.