For Loyle Carner, Taking to the Stage is as Simple as Stepping Into a New Pair of Kicks

Hypebeast sits down with the artist to discuss his New Balance campaign, first-time in Boston and a summer of sold-out shows.

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At the end of summer, New Balance welcomed Loyle Carner to the stage of its 1906 World Tour in London to celebrate the release of its JD-exclusive 1906 pack. Like any of his performances, the headline gig was filled with a classic setlist of well-loved tracks, impromptu instrumentals and a recited poem, giving fans the chance to see the rapper in all his glory.

However, Carner’s relationship with the brand doesn’t start or end there. A keen wearer of functional-yet-contemporary sneakers, the artist can often be found sporting the 2002R and 1906 silhouettes across his busy lifestyle. It’s what led him to front New Balance and JD’s launch campaign for the latest pack, where he visited the sportswear brand’s home of Boston for the first time. Along with A.Girl, Redveil and footballer Tim Weah – who also starred in the new campaign – he ventured into the metropolis, taking in every attraction. “We watched the Boston Celtics win on the buzzer and I managed to play football in an 11-a-side as the sun was setting,” says Carner. “The food was crazy! Clam chowder was a highlight and we also went to a 24-hour bakery called Bovas, racking up a lot of cannolis.”

This month, the artist is set to return to the U.S. for his Hugo album tour. It follows on from a long line of milestones he has achieved so far this year including his knock-out performance at Glastonbury. Reflecting on his headline set at the famous West Holts stage, he says, “The awesome thing about shows over the summer is that you never know what kind of crowd it will be: big, small, up for it, quietly listening or extra loud. You bounce off their energy and it keeps you in the moment.”

For Carner, the main aim of his gigs is to stay connected to the audience, those who have stayed devoted to his music throughout his career. “My fans are the whole reason we get to play shows and it’s important never to take it for granted,” he expresses. This being said, the artist aims to approach each performance all the same. From his larger gigs on big stages to more intimate performances like the London leg of the 1906 World Tour at Aures, he finds that his preparation doesn’t need to change, as some people might expect. “We try to treat them all the same. To us the stage is like a pair of sneakers, we slip them on and feel at home,” he says. “Over time, I think I’ve felt a little more comfortable out there, hopefully that comes across.”

Offering a brief respite from life on the stage, Carner hopes to take time out at the end of the year to focus on Chilli Con Carner, his cooking school for young people with ADHD. “The cooking school that my team and I run together is well underway, so I’m trying to get stuck into that and keep my eyes and ears open for what the next generation of the students want to show me.” His commitment to those who follow in his footsteps is one that many people admire but only a few seem to carry out. It’s what makes him a beacon of inspiration on the stage and across to the other areas in life he touches.

To shop the New Balance 1906 sneaker, head to the brand’s website now.

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