The ever elusive DVSN (pronounced division), comprised of singer Daniel Daley and popular producer Nineteen85, dropped the melodic Sept. 5 early this month on the OVO Sound imprint and turned the self-proclaimed trap soul of today on its head.
Flashback to April 1st: I headed to the stair stepper for my daily cardio session, I perused my suggested playlists and discovered a name I hadn’t seen before – DVSN. I clicked on the track titled, “Too Deep” and began my workout. Once I heard the words “In too deep don’t wanna pull out / (I think we’re) in too deep, don’t wanna pull out/ don’t you make me pull out, right where we are supposed to be,” I knew I was in for a treat. Arguably the most radio-friendly track of the EP, the singer croons either about a lengthy love making session that makes him question becoming a father or, being in the thick of a love affair he doesn’t want to end.
The Nineteen85 produced EP features 10 smooth tracks total and can’t be pigeonholed to any one genre. The vocal stylings are reminiscent of John B at his peak and Prince in his prime. Nineteen85, born Paul Jeffries, previously produced powerhouse hits for Drake such as “Hotline Bling,” the biggest smash of 2015, “Hold On We’re going Home,” and “Truffle Butter” to name a few.
Previously, DVSN quietly dropped “The Line” and “With Me” back on, you guessed it, Sept. 5 of 2015. Loyal music fans flocked to forums to question, just who is this artist? Not much is known of singer Daniel Daley’s past as previous uploaded tracks have mysteriously been removed from the internet. But what we do know is that the Toronto native is extremely talented.
On Hallucinations, which is arguably the best track, Daley employs a riveting falsetto, only rivaled by Maxwell circa his Urban Hang Suite Days. On the track Daley dreams of a love lost, the type of track anyone can fall head over heels for. “Tryna rewind ’til we’re back where we started/Yeah that’s all I want/ Night after night after night I’m still haunted.”
And on the chorus when he sings, “But until then/ I live with Hallucinations/They’re just hallucinations/ I’ll just hallucinate/ Cause you’re not here,” he successfully takes you back to the time you thought you could live without such and such (and yet here you are, living and whatnot). Daley’s “hallucinations” seem welcomed and without fear because he will obviously take his former lover anyway he can get her/him.
On Let’s Get it On, DVSN pays homage to the late great Marvin Gaye, but departs from the old school groove, for a newer hipper modern one. The song is short yet sweet, a leaves the listener wanting more as a bass guitar’s riffs ring out and the sounds fade.
The production on each song is a testament to just how multifaceted Jeffries is. The album is equals parts smooth vocals and synths, high hats, guitar riffs, and bass. After listening to the EP, I scoured the internet, but couldn’t find much about Daniel Daley or his relationship with Jeffries. But maybe its better that way. For me, artists like The Weeknd, who managed to guard his identity throughout his early career, are much more focused on the music. I’ll be waiting in the wings for DVSN’s major debut, but until then, this album will most certainly make due.
Words by: Asia Johnson