Published Dec 15, 2017Big would be too small a word to describe Daniel Caesar's 2017. The much-lauded artist — and Exclaim! 2017 year-end cover star — will perform five sold-out shows at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall, starting this Saturday, December 16, a feat that's without precedent, particularly for an independent Canadian musician who gets limited radio play in his home country.
On a broader scale, he's been doing it: debut album Freudian has been getting incredible levels of acclaim and support, including a pair of Grammy nominations. His Freudian single "Get You" has been blowing up streaming sites — at last count amassing over 56 million streams on Apple Music and another 55 million on Spotify. Recently, Caesar also had a downtown Toronto popup titled "Freudian: A Gallery," featuring merch, vinyl and photos at the event.
"It's pretty crazy," he recently told Exclaim! about the sold-out shows in his hometown; the five-night run at the Danforth will close out his North American tour in support of Freudian. In terms of making it in the industry, Caesar understands he's arrived, but is staying grounded. The past year has seen him meet up with names like Mary J. Blige and Chance the Rapper and have artists like Liam Gallagher, Rick Rubin and Stevie Wonder sing his praises.
"I very proud to be a part of it," he says, admitting to have briefly been a little starstruck, at least in the beginning. "But I've never been like 'Ah, we're here!' which probably makes me hard to be around. I'm always hungry."
Ever since his first official show in Toronto back in early 2016, he notes, he's come a long way; he's only gotten better in terms of his presence on stage. "It's crazy because I came up singing in the [church] and I didn't realize how much of a transition it was," he says. Growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church meant a level of piety, he notes, where you didn't dance or draw much attention to yourself.
The attention is on him when he's on stage these days, he says, adding it's about bringing that level of excitement to a crowd. The year has been good to him; he's giving back.
"I'm more free than I've ever been. That makes me happy."
You can read our year-end feature with Caesar .