If you are a fan of soulful and smooth R&B music, chances are you have heard of Daniel Caesar. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Toronto has been making waves in the music industry with his distinctive voice, heartfelt lyrics, and eclectic sound. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the genre, such as Kali Uchis, H.E.R., Brandy, and Justin Bieber, and has won a Grammy Award for his single “Best Part”. But who is Daniel Caesar and how did he become one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation?
From Church to the Streets
Daniel Caesar was born Ashton Dumar Norwill Simmonds on April 5, 1995, in the Scarborough district of Toronto. He grew up in a religious household, as his father was a pastor and gospel singer who had moved from Jamaica to Canada. Caesar was exposed to music from an early age, singing in his father’s church and listening to soul and gospel legends like Sam Cooke and Kirk Franklin. He also developed a love for rock and alternative music, citing bands like Radiohead and Pink Floyd as influences.
However, Caesar’s relationship with his family and faith was not always smooth. He attended a Seventh-day Adventist private school in Oshawa, where he felt out of place and rebellious. He started to question his beliefs and experiment with drugs and alcohol. At the age of 17, he had a fight with his father and was kicked out of the house. He became homeless for a while, sleeping on park benches and couches of friends. He decided to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds.
Finding His Voice
Caesar began to perform at local gigs and open mic nights, where he met producers Jordan Evans and Matthew Burnett, who would become his longtime collaborators. He also connected with other Toronto artists, such as Sean Leon and River Tiber, who helped him shape his sound and vision. He started to release music online, gaining attention for his soulful vocals and honest lyrics.
In 2014, he released his debut EP Praise Break, which was a critical success and ranked No. 19 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “20 Best R&B Albums of 2014”. The EP showcased Caesar’s versatility, blending gospel influences with contemporary R&B and hip-hop elements. The lead single “Violet” was a haunting ballad about love and loss, while “Pseudo” featured a rap verse from Sean Leon.
In 2015, he followed up with his second EP Pilgrim’s Paradise, which was more personal and introspective. The EP explored themes of identity, spirituality, and relationships, drawing from Caesar’s experiences of being homeless and estranged from his family. The EP also featured a cover of Kanye West’s “Streetlights”, which became a fan favorite.
Caesar’s breakthrough came in 2016 when he released the single “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis. The song was a smooth and sensual duet that showcased Caesar’s falsetto and Uchis’ sultry vocals. The song went viral online, racking up millions of streams and views. It also caught the attention of major labels and celebrities, such as Drake, Stevie Wonder, and Barack Obama.
In 2017, Caesar released his debut album Freudian, which was a culmination of his musical journey so far. The album was a cohesive and mature work that delved into themes of love, faith, and self-discovery. It featured collaborations with H.E.R., Syd, Charlotte Day Wilson, and more. It also spawned several hit singles, such as “We Find Love”, “Blessed” and “Best Part”. The album received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, earning him two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance for “Get You”.
In 2019, Caesar surprised his fans by dropping his second album Case Study 01 without any prior announcement. The album was more experimental and diverse than his previous work, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, rock, and pop. It featured guest appearances from John Mayer, Pharrell Williams, Brandy, and more. It also showcased Caesar’s growth as a songwriter and producer, as he tackled topics such as mental health, social issues, and existentialism.
In 2021, Caesar achieved his first number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as a featured artist on Justin Bieber’s single “Peaches”, alongside Gideon. The song was a catchy and upbeat tune that blended R&B and pop influences. It also marked Caesar’s first collaboration with Bieber, who is also a fellow Canadian and a longtime friend.
Superpowers World Tour
Caesar is currently on his Superpowers World Tour, which is his second headlining tour and his first since 2018. The tour kicked off in June 2021 in Europe and will continue until December 2021 in North America. The tour features songs from his two albums, as well as some new material and covers. Caesar is known for his captivating live performances, where he interacts with the audience and creates an intimate and emotional atmosphere.
If you are a fan of Daniel Caesar or want to discover his music, you should not miss this opportunity to see him live. He is one of the most talented and original artists of his generation, and he has a lot more to offer in the future.