Daniel Caesar is Modernizing R&B and Nobody Knows About It

If you’re like I was, you probably haven’t heard of Daniel Caesar. That’s alright, because despite his relative lack of widespread fame, he has been creating some pretty massive waves.

Daniel Caesar is an up and coming Canadian singer/songwriter who has released three critically-acclaimed projects, namely his 2017 debut album, Freudian. Caesar, born Ashton Simmonds, has been shaking the core of R&B, using elements of contemporary R&B, gospel, and soul to make some truly powerful music. His hit single “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis has accrued over 53.5 million views on Youtube since its release in December of 2016, incorporating crooning vocals and simplistic, drowned production to create a smooth and sexy soundtrack for the cold winter months.

Despite his connection to his roots, Caesar’s music travels farther from gospel and the trap-influenced R&B made popular in Toronto by replacing synths and 808s with pianos, guitars, and choirs. This simplistic and grassroots instrumentation keeps Daniel Caesar’s feet planted firmly in his classic gospel origins while maintaining ample room for his voice to shine. The key to Caesar’s critical success is his skill with connecting the old and the new. His music retains the passion and some of the vulgarity of contemporary R&B yet never feels shallow. It uses the same instrumentation as classic gospel and R&B but is not afraid to be creative and risky, creating the ultimate link to the soft spot in new-wave listeners. Strangely, though, it seems as if nobody’s heard of him.

When asked if he knew who Daniel Caesar was, senior Gianni Gabriel responded with a simple “No.” Senior Anthony Procida also had this to say: “No, I don’t know him. Does he go to Hills?” This is not good news for Daniel Caesar’s reputation.

Those same students were asked to listen to his song “Get You” and report what they thought. The responses were not surprising. “This is actually pretty good,” reported a shocked Gianni. “I could actually see myself listening to this.” Anthony expressed his interest as well, saying, “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this, but it’s actually a good song. You got me.”

Now that was expected. As is the story with most good yet somewhat underground music, all Daniel Caesar needs to do is to get his name out there. Maybe Caesar will gain some recognition in his next project. Here’s hoping.

By: Garrett Boyce ’19, Staff Writer

Featured Photo: Photo of Daniel Caesar (Photo Courtesy of peopledotcom.com).

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