Daniel Caesar Has The Makings Of A Great Modern-Day Soul Singer. Just Watch (Video)
Daniel Caesar’s Freudian has made him one of contemporary Soul’s biggest names. Since releasing the album in August 2017, the Toronto singer-songwriter became a Grammy-nominated musician thanks to the success of singles like “Get You,” featuring the inimitable Kali Uchis, and “We Find Love.” At just 23, he’s found tremendous success (he’s got hundreds of millions of Spotify streams on just three songs alone) in the four years since his 2014 debut Praise Break, a title inspired by religion and the role Gospel has had in shaping his own artistic purview. Similarly, his recent appearance on the prestigious NPR Tiny Desk Concert Series is soulful and divinely inspired, and he’s rocking with a full band and small choir.
As NPR’s Bobby Carter writes, “The years of training in church, fused with natural talent, is on full display” in Caesar’s performance. Down to the musical influences and the already limited space offered by the nature of Tiny Desk, the final product feels church-like. Carter says Caesar et al decided to make the piano the centerpiece so as to create “a fly-on-the-wall moment” that imbues the performance with a holy purity. In all, the six of them offer up luscious harmonies, pregnant pauses and moments of improvisation one might see at a Sunday service.
Joining Daniel Caesar are supporting vocalists Camille Harrison, Danah Martin and Nevon Sinclair, who he says provide “some of the richest harmonies we’ve heard at the Tiny Desk.” Also on deck are bassist Saya Gray, drummer Adrian Bent and musical director/pianist Matthew Burnett. Together, the angelic ensemble groove through “Japanese Denim,” “Get You” and, with a surprise appearance from H.E.R., “Best Part.” As he leans against the pulpit (in the form of a piano), Caesar delivers an immaculate sermon of Soul, and H.E.R.’s live vocals are downright goosebump-inducing. Their duet runs for the final six minutes of the Tiny Desk Concert, making it twice as long as the song’s album version.
#BonusBeat: Also released recently by NPR was the Tiny Desk Concert from Los Angeles rapper Ill Camille, who performed a medley of material from her sophomore album, Heirloom:
Check out her appearance in Ambrosia For Heads‘ “Ready Or Not” column, which spotlighted her video for “Fight On.”