Collaborative efforts have graced us with some of the most revered pieces of music history, but it’s hard to make an argument against the fact that the strongest collaboration to ever take place, did so between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The famed Motown vocalists were an unstoppable force in the studio and on stage. Not only were they incredibly capable and talented vocalists as solo performers that each had successful careers for themselves, but they also found that success with vocal deliveries that had the ability to ooze romance and sexuality and evoke raw emotion from their listeners. When the two were brought together by Motown records in order to record in collaboration, love was the clear goal. And love was the outcome they got. Their collaborative work with one another exists today as the stuff of legend – an unmatched, perfect duo that changed the course of music forever. When listening to modern R&B artists performing today, the influence of Motown, particularly the influence of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, can be heard in each and every track.
Just listen to someone like Daniel Caesar. A young artist from Ontario, Canada, Caesar has broken through his humble beginnings in the past year and emerged as a leader for the new generation of R&B vocalists. His music is drowning in sultry falsettos, emotional ups and downs, and tales of love and lust that evoke raw, personal feelings in his listeners. Sounds like a pretty similar description that we could write about a young Marvin Gaye, huh? There’s no coincidence there. The two are essentially one in the same, and that’s exactly why R&B and Daniel Caesar are so important to the world of music right now.
Through his early success, Caesar has earned the fair share of brilliant, high-caliber collaborations under his belt. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to work with the man who is currently, at age 22, at a place in his career so impressive that you could make the case that he alone is the most important and powerful R&B voice alive. And with a 2017 as explosive as Caesar’s that saw him, with the release of his debut album, Freudian, become a Grammy-nominated household name seemingly overnight, the doors are only swinging wider. His talent in combination with his current music social standing set him up perfectly to become one of the most sought after features in all of music.
His approach delivers music so organically romantic, that there are many artists who would benefit tremendously from hosting his pipes in a guest spot or being honored to feature in his music. Everyone sings about love, right? But the fact is, though many want his voice adjacent to theirs, most simply don't have what it takes and would find themselves buried beneath the heavy, emotionally moving weight of Caesar.
So, a better question is, who would he want to work with? Who has the power, the grace, and the necessary specialness that would allow them to stand out from Caesar while also working in cohesion with him? Who would mutually compliment? A look into Freudian's guest features reveals a jaw-dropping list of powerhouse women. Kali Uchis, H.E.R., Syd, and Charlotte Day Wilson all exist as the kinds of artists parallel to Caesar when it comes to raw talent and truthfully, at the time of recording, with Caesar's standing far lesser than where it is now, he probably had trouble believing those women were willing to collaborate with him. So, who is the perfect female vocalist, in possession of the powerful vocal ability, emotional reach, and youthful, up-and-coming spirit necessary?
There’s only one answer.
There are many parallels that can be drawn between Sabrina Claudio and Daniel Caesar. Both had tremendous 2017’s that saw their careers launched into level after next level of fame and opportunity. Both have incredible vocal ranges that don’t end at quality but extend into something much more important – innovative uniqueness. Daniel Caesar hits a falsetto as high as anyone alive, but his delivery is filled with pain and struggle in the frequent, seemingly natural breaks in his voice. Claudio’s range is blanketed in a soft air of mystery and sensual intrigue that masks her voice with something of a guard on her deepest personal thoughts. Both tend to work within the bounds of slow, acoustic production that steers their music away from the realm of heavily-produced R&B, once again nodding to their authenticity and displaying their musical talent and appreciation. And both are shockingly young, just beginning their lives and their careers, and yet already climbing near the top of music scene. As mentioned earlier, Daniel Caesar is merely 22.
Sabrina Claudio is only 21, and what a fast ride it’s been. She didn’t post her first ever tracks to SoundCloud until 2016. When they immediately caught notice and attention, she put together an EP titled Confidently Lost, released it independently in March of 2017, and watched it change everything about her life. The projects bannerhead track sharing the same title as the project itself, exploded, and to this day remains her most popular song. But she didn’t stop there. In the following months, she released two singles leading up to a follow-up tape. Both singles, Unravel Me and Belong To You, peaked high (#22 and #2 respectively) on Billboard’s Charts for Emerging Artists, and her project, About Time, released in October of 2017, climbed all the way to 13th on the list of top R&B albums. Her breakneck paced earned her a spot opening for Atlanta R&B enigma, 6lack in a North American Tour as well as a feature in Apple Music’s documentary series following the rise of up-and-coming artists, Up Next.
If there were ever two artists rising to fame at frighteningly quick paces, they’re Daniel Caesar and Sabrina Claudio. They just so happen to also be incomparably gifted R&B vocalists that would and should make amazing music together. If they do, they too might just one day grace history like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, as one of the most powerful, important collaborations of all time.