About Daniel Caesar
Throughout the 2010s, Toronto was the epicenter of an austere, atmospheric R&B popularized by Drake, The Weeknd, and all manner of OVO Sound affiliates. However, when he emerged mid-decade, Daniel Caesar was an outsider to that scene—figuratively and literally. Hailing from the eastern suburb of Oshawa, the artist born Ashton Simmonds in 1995 was a choir boy raised by a pastor in a strict household where ungodly music was verboten. His career can thus be seen as an ongoing attempt to reconcile his religious upbringing with his desire to sing about love and relationships in intimate detail. Caesar’s 2017 debut, Freudian, offered secular neo-soul with a deeply spiritual core, wrapping his silken voice and carnal thoughts in a gospel-gilded sound that bypassed contemporary R&B trends to reinforce the genre’s roots in the church. And as Caesar explained to Apple Music, the titular reference to the famed psychoanalyst underscored the fact that, for him, music is really a form of therapy: “I’m trying to figure myself out,” he said. “I write what’s in my head, and I’ll sing it and then I’m like, ‘Oh… that’s me.’” But where Freudian featured cameos from fellow rising phenoms like Kali Uchis and H.E.R., the celebrity guest list for 2019’s CASE STUDY 01—Pharrell, John Mayer, Brandy—confirmed Caesar’s arrival on R&B’s A-list, and reinforced his commitment to blurring the line between the sacred and profane.