Exclusive: Daniel Caesar Premieres 'Praise Break' EP, Talks Creative Process & 'Violet' Video

Daniel Caesar, 2014.
Marco Lee

Daniel Caesar

The singer-songwriter also premieres the video to first 'Praise Break' single, 'Violet'

Daniel Caesar is a new artist that’s bound to break out. The Toronto-based singer-songwriter has the vocal and lyrical clout that can pacify the most heavy hearted, which one can experience in his new EP, Praise Break.

Check out Daniel Caesar’s 7-song below, premiered here on The Juice.

Praise Break follows an inquisitive Caesar navigating through experiences in love (first love in this case) to religion, which Caesar says specifically inspired the EP heavily.

"The phrase has a double meaning. Usually in church, when the congregation is overcome by the Holy Spirit for a moment, the people will interrupt the sermon to yell their praises, and dance for joy. I think the idea of a break from praise has taken on a more literal meaning in my life today. I was raised in an intensely religious household and I think the influence shows through my music," he tells Billboard. "In [the] 11th grade, I was kicked out of a Christian private school. I got caught selling weed to the resident students. Simply put, my parents found out and told the school; that kind of started me on the path I'm on now. I ended up having to leave home to make the music I wanted to make, and to find myself. As cliche as that sounds; I like to think I'm getting closer."

"Violet," his first Praise Break single, features Caesar vividly recalling a case of unrequited love. "'Violet' is really for this girl I was hanging around with at the time. She told me once that she wrote a song when she was little, called 'Violet in the Sun'... So I made 'Violet,'" he says. "I wanted her so bad but I never really had her. In the video, if you pick up on it, Ellis Nakata (co-star) was really just a figment of my imagination. She represents everything that I desire, and everything that I'm striving for. Before I moved to the city I spent every Saturday sitting in church wishing I could be living on my own, doing what I wanted. I think this video portrays that."

Below watch the video premiere of the Liam MacRae-directed, "Violet":
As explored on "Violet," the EP is laced with samples which gives another life to the stories told. The introduction, "End of the Road," samples Zero 7’s "The Road." "The gospel vibe felt nostalgic to me, and I wanted that feeling to introduce the project," he says. The song also features another rising singer, Shannon Dooks.

"Last winter I saw the movie Casablanca for the first time. As soon as I heard Humphrey Bogart say in his iconic voice, 'We'll always have Paris,' I paused the movie, grabbed my guitar and wrote 'Paris.' The Casablanca skit is meant to be an introduction to Paris, and we laid the intro to Jeff Buckley's 'The Last Goodbye' overtop"

The gospel sample heard on the intro to "Pseudo," is The Gaither Vocal Band's' 'He Will Carry You', from the A Capella album.  Again, Ceasar shares his religious background, with the assist of production courtesy of Jordan Evans and Matthew Burnett. "Chevalier" samples James Vincent McMorrow' "Cavalier."

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"My father used to listen to this record every single Friday night. The second half of 'Pseudo' is inspired by Pink Floyd's 'Time' from The Dark Side of the Moon. That was my favorite record growing up."

One of my personal favorites, "Porn Star," wasn't going to make the final cut, but with the assist of Burnett it did: "We scrapped it, but one day we got together with Matthew Burnett and transformed it into what it is now. We removed the lyrics, and we had an ending to the album."

Majority of the EP was recorded in Evans living room, in February. Evans and Caesar drove around the city, after a bad night, and heard the final version in its entirety: "That was super special; I realized for the first time what we were able to create and it was humbling."