I don’t consider myself to be an industry figure. I’m not all that well versed in the goings on in the city, because I usually just come across things that I like, and I just go from there. I’ll head to a few showcases and then that’s that. One of the showcases that I’ve attended often times, is The Known Unknown. At these shows, I’ve seen up & comers like John River, Benjamin Stevenson, Andreena, Sean Leon, Juvon Taylor, Plaitwrights, and also IXXI member, Daniel Caesar. Now, for most of these acts, they go on about in their own lanes, and I am guilty of not always following up with where they are at in their respective careers (some more than others). So, when it comes back full circle that most of them have sparked an insane amount of popularity and respect for their music, it’s just like “damn, when did this happen?” That’s been happening far too often, and really, as a city, and damn well even a country, it’s time to really start paying attention to our people while they’re here and not just jumping aboard the hype train when it’s convenient for us.
This project came as a surprise, because I had just listened to Praise Break and I heard a lot of growth from the artist I first heard that had a shyness on stage with his marked up acoustic guitar (I pay attention to the details). The Toronto ‘sound’ is essentially a moody R&B, which Gyalcast’s own, STDY MBBN proclaimed DaRk&B. Blame it on the harsh winters, or blame it on the heartbreakers that are the Toronto citizens, but we are tortured souls that profess our feelings in the most melodic ways possible. It’s even influenced the likes of Bryson Tiller whom everyone initially thought was from here, so that just goes to show you how far the influence reaches. When it comes to Caesar, he is more so soulful but still expresses those heartfelt ballads that resonate with the everyday person regardless of how they’re initially feeling.
In this album’s work, you not only peer into an area of Toronto that the outside world hadn’t discovered, but it’s a cold, yet serene mood that encloses you in a space where he’s open with his vulnerability and reflection. This is a testament and a sampling of what he may have to offer in the coming months, and hopefully, years. Paradise should be getting more attention than it is, being as it’s a song full of great Toronto talent bunched into one, with BADBADNOTGOOD & Sean Leon at the helm, and also his cover of Kanye West’s Street Lights (Daniel’s version being Streetcar) is something worth note as a beautiful tribute. I’m not mad at myself for sleeping on him, or him flying under my radar as the abundance of music fell in 2015, but this is definitely an artist, outside of this one project, that needs to be paid attention to and taken seriously. You’ll be doing yourself a favour.
That’s My Word & It STiXX