Daniel Caesar Embraces a Melting Pot of Musical Influences

The genre-bending artist spoke to HYPEBEAST about the tight-knit Toronto music scene and his GRAMMY-nominated collaborations.

Music 
4,612 Hypes 3 Comments

Daniel Caesar has recently achieved global success through his critically acclaimed R&B music releases, though he remains deeply tied to his Canadian roots.

Having released two EPs, two LPs and a chart-topping collaboration with Giveon and Justin Bieber over the last seven years, the singer has since reconnected with his hometown through a partnership with Toronto-based hotel franchise The Annex, where he now serves as Chief Cultural Officer. The new role allows him to engage with and provide a platform for the city’s up-and-coming creative minds and bring their work in front of a larger audience.

He describes the job as “mostly curation” of talent with a mix of planning events and parties. “I just want to keep it grassroots and cool and fun,” he told HYPEBEAST.

The new title hits close to home for Caesar — whose real name is Ashton Simmonds —having grown up in a nearby suburb of Ontario called Oshawa. At 17, the future GRAMMY winner left home to pursue a musical career in Toronto, where his smooth, genre-defying music style began to take shape.

Though he’s been in the industry for less than a decade, critics have commended Caesar for his evolution through various musical projects. They often reference his intertwining of soft melodies and metaphor-heavy lyricism that have followed him from the time of his first EP Praise Break, which was recorded in his early years in Toronto.

He credits the city’s tight-knit community with propelling his career forward and supporting him through the initial stages of his career. “Toronto’s scene is very centralized,” he said. “There’s different collectives and pockets, but for the most part, everyone knows each other. It’s like two degrees of separation at most.”

As an artist with a distinct yet inimitable musical style – converging nineties blues with elements of gospel and pop – there are a few qualities Caesar looks out for while scouting local artists to spotlight. “Authenticity is what I respect most in other people’s art,” he said. “You might call it pretentious, but I want it to be youthful, cool, interesting, fresh.”

This sums up Caesar’s approach to his own art as well – he was crowned somewhat of an R&B wunderkind with his second self-released EP, the tragic and soulful Pilgrim’s Paradise, in 2015. Two years later, the singer made his full-length debut on Freudian, and followed up with Case Study 01.

“I don’t like labels,” Caesar noted of his musical evolution.

“When people describe me, they’re talking about R&B, which is cool, cause that was very much where I was at the time I made all that music. That was where I was in my life. That’s like what I wanted to hear.” Caesar has branched out in different genres, teaming up with Bieber – a fellow Canadian – last March on the multi GRAMMY-nominated single “Peaches.”

“We’ve known each other for, for a few years, me and Justin,” Caesar said of the collaboration. “Being able to be on a record with some of that caliber from the same country as you, I’m very cognizant of both what it means and how important it is.”

More recently, he teamed up with FKA twigs (whom he calls a “certified legend”) for the song “careless” off of the English singer’s January CARPISONGS mixtape. And this past week, Caesar dropped the song “Invincible” with Mexican-American singer Omar Apollo, who he met “purely coincidentally.”

“I was living in L.A. and I was just asleep in my apartment,” Caesar recalled, speaking about his encounter with Apollo. “One of my friends had brought over a couple artists and I woke up to beautiful music.”

“We became friends that day, and then me and Omar made a few songs together,” he added.

“Invincible” hears the two artists sing about feelings of love and vulnerability within a relationship, which are recurring themes throughout Caesar’s discography. Freudian charts an entire love story, from its first encounter on “Get You” to finally finding closure on “Blessed,” while Case Study 01 explores similar concepts while intertwining Caesar’s musings on the ego and religion.

Three years after the release of Case Study 01, Caesar found himself in the throes of writing again and has since began recording his third studio album. He said that since then, “everything’s changed,” including “the way I dress, the way I think, the way I like my musical style.”

“I’m kind of dipping into all the other influences, all of the music that I listened to growing up,” he said. “I’ve always tried to take all my influences and put them in a pot and stir them up and see what happens.”

“I think with this album I’ve accomplished that – at least better than any other album I’ve ever made,” he concluded.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Daniel Caesar Releases New Single "Please Do Not Lean" Featuring BADBADNOTGOOD
Music

Daniel Caesar Releases New Single "Please Do Not Lean" Featuring BADBADNOTGOOD

Marking the first single off of his third studio LP album.

Daniel Radcliffe Believes He Is a "Natural Fit" for the Role of Spider-Man
Entertainment

Daniel Radcliffe Believes He Is a "Natural Fit" for the Role of Spider-Man

Hoping to expand into the superhero role.

Take a Closer Look at Daniel Arsham and Kohler's 'Divided Layers' Installation
Art

Take a Closer Look at Daniel Arsham and Kohler's 'Divided Layers' Installation

Currently on view at Milan Design Week.


Daniel Arsham Reveals His Latest Print 'GROTTO OF LAOCOÖN'
Art

Daniel Arsham Reveals His Latest Print 'GROTTO OF LAOCOÖN'

Made in conjunction with Brand X Editions.

Stampd’s Spring 2022 Collection Inspires a New Wave of Early ‘90s Surf Apparel
Fashion 

Stampd’s Spring 2022 Collection Inspires a New Wave of Early ‘90s Surf Apparel

Presented by Stampd
Monochromatic fits for on-and-off water activities.

Future Drops New Valentine's Day Music Video for "Worst Day"
Music

Future Drops New Valentine's Day Music Video for "Worst Day"

Featuring the Atlanta rapper showering women with high-end gifts.

Sony Unveils Two New Walkman Music Players
Tech

Sony Unveils Two New Walkman Music Players

Introducing the NW-WM1ZM2 and NW-WM1AM2.

A.P.C. Unveils Its First SS22 Golf Collection
Fashion

A.P.C. Unveils Its First SS22 Golf Collection

The french contemporary brand is taking its shot at golf.

Say Hello to Drake’s OVO x Scarface SS22 Collaboration
Fashion

Say Hello to Drake’s OVO x Scarface SS22 Collaboration

The three-piece capsule includes signature Scarface graphics.


MadManga Announces First-Ever NFT Collection Building the Largest Manga Creation Community Yet
NFT

MadManga Announces First-Ever NFT Collection Building the Largest Manga Creation Community Yet

Presented by MadManga
Join MadManga’s metaverse and let your imagination roam free.

Canada Goose’s Latest NBA Collection Sees Salehe Bembury Revive '90s Basketball Styles
Fashion 

Canada Goose’s Latest NBA Collection Sees Salehe Bembury Revive '90s Basketball Styles

Presented by Canada Goose
Commemorating the league’s 75th anniversary season.

The Netherlands’ Music Community Present This Issue of Zalando Street
Music 

The Netherlands’ Music Community Present This Issue of Zalando Street

Presented by Zalando
Hear how its city’s multiculturalism influences their sound, style and creativity.

Nike Inducts Vibrant Air Max 90 SE to “Running Club” Collection
Footwear

Nike Inducts Vibrant Air Max 90 SE to “Running Club” Collection

Equipped with ‘70s-inspired hairy orange panels.

C.P. Company's Metropolis Series Returns So You Can Keep Exploring
Fashion

C.P. Company's Metropolis Series Returns So You Can Keep Exploring

Referencing the brand’s Urban Protection range from the 2000s.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.