It seems Toronto has become a hotspot for talent in the recent years, with acts such as Drake and The Weeknd coming from the city. The latest act to emerge is singer songwriter Daniel Caesar (born Ashton Simmunds), who first became known through the release of his EP ‘Praise Break’ in 2014, which was ranked 19th in Rolling Stone’s ’20 Best R&B Albums of 2014′. His music is a mix of soul and R&B, with elements of Gospel too, which mainly come out in his album ‘Freudian’, released August of this year.
Religion was at the heart of Caesar’s upbringing, influencing his music massively. He grew up listening to a lot of Gospel, and bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd. He has said the John Mayer trio inspired him to become a musician and learn guitar. Caesar’s music comes from a place of vulnerability and honesty; he sees music as a ‘mirror’, and has described his own writing as a way of making sense of his feelings, a way of analysing himself, hence the name ‘Freudian’ for his album. Mellow, soothing and soulful are just a few words that can describe Caesar’s sound, someone you might enjoy listening to if you like Frank Ocean, BJ the Chicago Kid or Jorja Smith.
‘Get You’ featuring Kali, Caesar’s most well-known track, develops from a place of self-doubt about a relationship, resulting in beautiful raw vocals which carry the track. The backing is made up of mainly a slow drum beat, bass guitar and electric guitar, however the song could be sung without any instruments and still be the same. Kali also adds to the track well, her soft vocals placed well with Daniels falsetto notes. Transform from Freudian shows off his ability as a songwriter, as he sings ‘If a leopard never changes its spots, how can I change what I’ve got?’, a lovely line about the struggle of change. Caesar is an artist who has reimagined R&B into his own concept, through the use of organs, guitars and choirs to produce music that you feel, rather than simply listen to.
Caesar is currently touring North America and Europe, although most of the dates are sold out. Luckily, Daniel’s tour does involve a stop off at the O2 institute Birmingham on the 3rd of February, so be sure to grab some tickets while they’re still available.