Do you remember the first song by an artist you then recommended to someone?
Usually, all points of human interaction begin with discovery. When you’re in elementary school, you notice the girl with a pretty dress or the boy whose shoes are outrageously priced. You instantly attempted to become friends with that boy because, by sheer force of gravitational pull, you would also be cool, but not even have the fresh pair of shoes.
When you’re in middle school, you find yourself becoming fast friends with the person who made everyone laugh. Or, you look up to the guy or girl that was considered “cool.” Perhaps they were a combination of school famous, good-looking and athletically superior to their peers. If they had a combination of any of those three elements, there was a chance people found them likable, even desirable.
Quick aside here: in middle school, every letter you wrote to your crush had a song attached to it. It was a mood-setter, definitely, but the song had to mean something. You couldn’t crush on somebody and write “Song: I Hate U Bitch” by Z-Ro. That wouldn’t work. You also couldn’t write “Song: I Can Tell You Wanna F*ck” by the 504 Boyz. You had to have some couth. Perfect crush song? “Cupid” by 112. Simple, easy. You probably could have gotten to at least first base off “Cupid.” Let’s move on.
In college, certain people seem to specialize putting you onto new music, so much so that it's become a discernible skill in modern music consumption. It’s how playlist curators become big names. It is also how, by chance, you end up meeting somebody that would change your life. For example, somebody reminding you of your terrible, heartbroken and "
Daniel Caesar is that kind of artist.
If you haven’t met Daniel Caesar, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, a few people haven’t had the proper chance to meet him. The Toronto singer exists in that weird realm where he can craft beautiful, thought-provoking love songs while also sounding genuinely excited about the prospect of love. Syncing together the moment you put someone on to Daniel Caesar is an A-to-Z type moment. There is the before moment where such a person seems curious. Then there’s the after a minute; that euphoric zip and dash to tell everyone you know about what you just heard. The person who put you on to Daniel Caesar? They’ve immediately shot up your friend list. Had this been 2008, they’d be No. 2 on your MySpace Top 8. It is that serious.
For Caesar, 22, having a sold-out Warehouse Live show next Tuesday — in the Ballroom — would be icing. His music is partially responsible for maybe thousands of those moments. Hundreds of people have circulated “Get You,” last year's about-perfect single with Kali Uchis. That hundred became thousands and soon millions. Has it crossed over to terrestrial radio? Not at all.
In the current music climate, few songs by breaking artists need to. Post Malone’s “Rockstar,” which sounds close to his attempt to recreate the frantic high of Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Lif3,” is the current No. 1 song in the country and hasn’t even broken into the Top 15 on Urban Radio. Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” single, a purposefully skinny rap song where Pump raps about him and his grandmother having matching drug cabinets, is a smash single sans radio airplay. Even those in Caesar’s strong 2017 R&B class, artists like dvsn and Brent Faiyaz, haven’t tasted solo radio airplay. Faiyaz is only now cracking that once considered “dated” mode of communication thanks to his appearance on GoldLink’s “Crew” single.
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Freudian, Caesar’s concisely organized album. finds the peaks and valleys about love from the perspective of someone who just began getting his feet wet. The sticky-sweet duet with H.E.R., “Best Part,” is potential wedding first-dance material. “Blessed” recalls that first misstep we all make in relationships with a moment of absolution: “Sometimes it gets unhealthy/ We can't be by ourselves, we/ We'll always need each other,” he sings. Your first puppy-dog heartbreak always features you saying something ridiculous but also being sweet about it. It has those perfect “nayoooo” adlibs that are necessary for any R&B project, and even a flip of Kirk Franklin’s “Hold Me Now” on “Hold Me Down.” You cannot lose with a gospel sample or a choir in 2017. Or a flute. Or a nayhooo. Nobody has ever lost with a nayoooo on a song. That also includes Tyrese, which is an utterly fantastic feat when you think about it.
Because Tyrese can ruin anything.
Point is, Daniel Caesar and his brand of elegant, not-all-that-complicated love songs are coming to Houston. You’d be doing your life a favor by pointing a stranger in the direction of his music.