Loyle Carner Lays His Heart Bare, Speaking to Generations


UK artist Loyle Carner has returned to local shores, playing through his catalogue and highlighting stories from his recently released album ‘hugo’.

Carner truly has come to share his gift. His vulnerability is admirable, and I hope his expression of self is something that the audience can soak up. Carner is a strong example of the impact that laying your heart to bare can have. Coming straight out the gate with a record like ‘Hate’ really gives you a taste of the honest, raw & emotionally driven ride we’re about to take.

The second show, sold out, and, man…you can hear it. The audience, giving him love back through claps and cheers. He cries at moments. We cry at moments. And even in a large theatre space, Carner talks to you as if it’s just him and you. His energy is magnetic and the choices he makes in which song to drive to next makes no moment of time feel wasted.

A kind of strange decision to host a Hip Hop show at the Palais Theatre, one would think, yet Carner’s music really creates a cozy home in the Palais’ expansive theatre space. When the vocals of Carner’s collaborators, Sampha and Jorja Smith, surface through the speakers, the space fills with colour. The beauty of their voices shines through and hits you right in the heart.

I’m reminded of Hip Hop’s bedrock in soul, jazz, gospel, and the poetry that flies on top. Carner gifts the Melbourne audience a special poem each night and creates a moment where the drop of a pin can be heard amongst a sea of people. That’s something special.

Carner, and perfectly placed opener Kojaque, really bring to the foreground the rich history this relatively new genre is steeped in. Carner’s record ‘Nobody Knows’’ sampling of Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir same named, ‘Nobody Knows’, gives example to this ode of stories of the past.

“Nobody knows… all the trouble… I’ve seen… Nobody knows all my sorrow” The Youth For Christ Choir sings. Carner opens up about his relationships, over the powerful sample; “When my dad passed, straight biological neglect. The other one, sunset, sitting on the steps. I was left, mum came heavy in her breath. Tears on my face transferring to her chest.”

A man calling out to his past, questioning his belief systems, trying to understand how to give the strong love he feels to his son whilst grappling with the ideas of masculinity he’s been fed in his life. These stories, showing growth, compassion, strength, love.

That’s why I’m so enamoured by his performance. Not only is Carner strikingly captivating, he puts himself under the many different lights of being human, making you reflect on the role we play in the relationships with the ones we love.


If you wish to dig into Carner’s art, I would recommend checking out; ‘A Lasting Place’, ‘Homerton’, ‘Desoleil’, ‘Loose Ends’, ‘Mean It In The Morning’ & ‘Still’.