Genre is an easy way to put artists in groups, but it’s not the most accurate or consistent way to think about music. I’ve always found that my favorite music is the more unexpected type, the kind of music that bridges gaps between genres. These crossover sub-genres seem to have surged in popularity recently, with swarms of unique artists joining disparate influences and modern instrumentation to create new sounds. Daniel Caesar is one of these innovators. He’s only 21 years old, but has released two EPs (the last one released in October), along with appearances on various other artists’ tracks.
His signature style is relaxed, a blend of many genres. Many of his songs are very laid-back; their beauty is in their simplicity. Take this piano-and-vocals cover of James Vincent McMorrow’s “Cavalier,” retitled “Chevalier:”
I was happy to hear this version of McMorrow’s song, as Caesar’s use of falsetto voice sounds so much like McMorrow. “Chevalier” is unique to Caesar, however. You can hear how he’s been influenced by jazz music in his piano part. Listen to the piano around 1:31 and 3:13-- this influence is especially apparent here. Here’s the original song, for comparison:
The beginning of his song, “Show No Regrets,” sounds more like gospel and R&B, which makes sense, as Caesar’s father is a gospel singer. However, later in the song, electric guitar is introduced, and it ends with a heavier, minute-long guitar solo. This track really exemplifies his ability to shift between genres; within one song, his sound transitions from gospel-style to rock.
Listen to “Show No Regrets” here:
Daniel Caesar is a truly unique musician, but he is a part of a growing group of musicians who use R&B as a basis in which to create new sounds. Personally, I have a strong affinity for a soft, minimal kind of music, so I fell in love with Caesar’s music upon first hearing it. I want to leave you with the song that was my first exposure to Daniel Caesar, a beautiful collaboration with him and River Tiber:
DISCLAIMER: As is always the case with art, not all of the songs released by this artist are school-appropriate. We strive to support the EWHS School Vision through Driftwood Literary Magazine: to “empower students to achieve educational excellence while demonstrating integrity and compassion through responsible citizenship.” Explicit music will not be linked through Driftwood; the purpose of this column is to appreciate the artistic value of different types of music. Please exhibit maturity if listening to explicit songs, and refrain from affiliating any inappropriate work with our magazine.