It wasn’t too long ago when Canadian singer/songwriter Daniel Caesar was a relatively unknown musical talent.
He garnered critical acclaim with his 2014 debut EP, Praise Break, and doubled down on that with another EP entitled Pilgrim’s Paradise the following year.
But the soulful R&B crooner busted down the industry’s door with his 2016 single, “Get You”. That single, which also featured Kali Uchis, has amassed over 10 million streams on Apple Music since its release, in addition to over 25 million streams on Spotify.
The son of Caribbean parents who mainly listened to gospel, Caesar grew up in Oshawa, a suburb just outside of Toronto. Attending a private Christian school, Caesar watched his father regularly sing at church. In addition, many of his classmates were listening to the likes of John Mayer and Jason Mraz.
But his musical horizons really expanded after moving out of the house at 17 years old and sleeping on friends’ sofas or park benches when those friends weren’t around.
Around that time, local act Sean Leon, who appeared on Pilgrim’s Paradise, introduced Caesar to producers Jordan Evans (Drake, Jay-Z) and Matthew Burnett. That duo introduced him to 1990s R&B luminaries Jodeci and D’Angelo, further shaping Caesar’s sound.
Now, Caesar is preparing to release his highly anticipated debut full-length, Freudian. With Evans and Burnett handling production duties, the album finds the Apple Music Up Next artist taking yet another step in finding his unique voice.
Caesar has come a long way in a short time, and it’s clear that the 22-year-old has a lot more bubbling in his creative mind.
Here, Caesar checked in with Fender to discuss his musical upbringing and his love of the acoustic guitar.
”My first performance was probably at 6 or 7, singing."
“My father was a musician back in Jamaica. He came to Canada because of music, but he's a gospel singer. He had me in the church. Me and my family we did this little family style. We sang ‘Come, Thou Fount’. That was my first introduction (to music) I've always been around it.”
”My dad got me my first guitar when I was 10."
“I started playing piano when I was … I don't even remember. But I think the problem with me is that if I want to do something and then someone tells me to do it, it's not as fun and I don't want to do it anymore. So I wanted to play piano. I was taking lessons, but then some things were expected of me and that wasn't fun anymore. I begged my mom. I was like, ‘Please let me play guitar and I'll go back to it.' And it actually happened, I guess.”
”I’m definitely not a lead guitarist."
“As time goes on, I want to improve myself, but I like to be around people that are better than me and pick up little things like chords. If I hear a chord that makes my ears perk up, I like asking, ‘Show me that.’”
”I feel as though my songwriting is stronger because (the acoustic guitar)is all I have."
“I'm bare. I can't hide any of my shortcomings with anything, any filters or reverb. If the song is good in this stage then I can bring it to my producers, who I trust, and they can make it better. But you've got to give them the tools to work with.”
”It's like an all-purpose weapon, the acoustic electric."
“I wanted one for as long as I can remember. It's just very versatile. Anywhere you take it. I like to sing in the park and stuff like that, so it's good for writing, when you're by yourself. But then you can still perform well, too.”
”I wouldn’t be able to play guitar if it wasn’t for John Mayer."
“I just learned every single John Mayer song ever. I was really into that. I never met him, but I had a meeting with Columbia one time and I heard an unreleased John Mayer record. It was crazy.”
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