Daley / Shi Wisdom Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, April 4

Daley / Shi Wisdom Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, April 4
Photo: Shane Parent
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"Music is my therapy," says Daley during a song change. One is inclined to believe him.

It's not a stretch to imagine the 24-year-old UK R&B singer-songwriter and live-action Johnny Bravo analogue growing up weaned on American R&B acts like Maxwell, Jill Scott, and others from the '90s and early 2000s eras of the genre.

In town promoting his debut album Days & Nights (including leadoff singles "Alone Together" and "Broken"), the man from Manchester known as Daley has an excellent voice and strong musicianship for one relatively new to the game.

Toronto's Shi Wisdom was more than capable as an opening act, revealing why she's probably one of the strongest R&B artists in the city at this point in time. Serenely sitting on a stool for the performance, Shi delivered a powerful se, leaving you asking when or if she will release a full-length project (recent Intervention EP notwithstanding).

From the time he took the stage, complete with trademark black glasses, you get the sense that Daley was born at the wrong time. His sound could be slotted in the same lane as pre-"Blurred Lines" Robin Thicke, while his voice is dynamically solid and as good live as on record. He's got the professional stage banter down and the calmness to weather mild technical glitches (i.e., sound guy communication and low levels for his guitar player) with ease.

He took time to shout out Toronto producer/rapper Rich Kidd, who, unbeknownst to many, actually produced 2012 mixtape Those Who Wait. The Canadian connection continued with Days & Nights track "Time Travel," produced by Illangelo of the Weeknd fame. Daley will be forgiven for using a backing track — for harmonies, mostly — and there was never the sense that he needed or was leaning on them. Seguing from "Game Over" into the Mary J. Blige by way of Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing," there is an easy flair to Daley. His effortless falsetto and range, as witnessed during performances of "Be," "Blame the World," "Love & Affection" or "Good News," showed the intimate but engaged crowd why he's coming into his own as a contemporary soul singer to be reckoned with.

Read an interview with Daley here.

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