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R&B Duo Dvsn On The Uncomfortably Honest Conversations Created By Their Music

R&B Duo Dvsn On The Uncomfortably Honest Conversations Created By Their Music
Photo Credit: Nate Shuls

Daniel Daley and Nineteen85 – collectively known as dvsn – is not your typical group. Their content consists of poignant and provocative lyrics from Daley, backed by 85’s flawless production. Since their first album SEPT 5th, this Toronto-based duo has made a unique mark on the genre of R&B, and thrived on normalizing the often-uncomfortable situations that arise throughout the course of an intimate relationship.

Late last month, dvsn dropped a new single titled “If I Get Caught,” a song that speaks about infidelity from the point of view of a successful male. The reaction after its release was polarizing to say the least, because the song resonated with so many of its listeners. These two talented musicians spoke to ESSENCE about their new track, linking up with the incomparable Jermaine Dupri, and the anticipation for their upcoming album.

“Real life,” Daniel said of the inspiration behind their new single. “It’s an honest conversation. It’s one that’s uncomfortable for a lot of people to have. But it’s a conversation that has been staring us all in the face, which is why it’s getting the reaction that it is.”

R&B Duo Dvsn On The Uncomfortably Honest Conversations Created By Their Music
Daniel Daley

That reaction that he is speaking of came from thousands of users on social media. There were many opinions from several different perspectives – some positive, some negative, but all came from each person’s individual experiences. “A lot of people feel a lot of different ways about what’s being said because it’s a reality that they’re living in right now,” stated Daley.

“What’s most important for us is that people understand that this is a story – the album is in story form,” the singer continued. “That was chapter one, and that chapter is really just dealing with ego, and the mentality that goes into doing the kinds of things and feeling the kinds of ways that leave you bold enough to say things like that. To put yourself in a position where you’re just being that self-serving and self-indulging.”

“If I Get Caught” samples Jay Z’s “Song Cry” from the classic album, The Blueprint. It was cleared by Carter himself, with the assistance of current collaborator Jermaine Dupri. Throughout the song, the loop “I was just f*ckin’ them girls, I was gon’ get right back,” can be heard. These lyrics, as well as the rest of the single’s content also led to negative backlash from men and women listeners alike. 

“It’s amazing that the first thing we created [with Jermaine] is just this bomb that’s having this effect and is catching people; because even if they’re upset, no one can deny that its stuck in their head, that the record’s a bop, and its an anthem – it’s not going anywhere,” Daley said.

R&B Duo Dvsn On The Uncomfortably Honest Conversations Created By Their Music
Nineteen85

“I think it’s a very real situation that a lot of people are living through or have lived through,” added 85. “I think that’s why it’s kind of resonating so much on the internet.”

The duo linked up with Dupri through their management team at LVRN. Initially, a session was set up between Daley and the Grammy Award-winning songwriter in Atlanta. The music that came out of that studio session was undeniable, which led to Daley reaching out to his counterpart in Canada. “The connection and bond was pretty much like, instant,” Daley said of his first meeting with the CEO of SoSoDef. “The music that we started creating, I told 85 like, ‘You gotta get down here as soon as you can. There’s something really special happening here and we should really lock in together as a unit.’”

After 85 arrived in Atlanta, dvsn, along with Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox, began laying the blueprint for what would become their upcoming album. Their new project draws from life experiences, which makes for that truly authentic sound that has made Daley and Nineteen85 popular with so many people. The two will continue to make timeless music, since their music is predicated so much on personal moments. “I think because our music is so based on life experiences, as long as we keep living, that creativity is always there,” said 85.

The Canadian R&B group is responsible for bodies of work such as The Morning After, A Muse In Her Feelings, and the joint project Cheers To The Best Memories, with Ty Dolla $ign. Now, dsvn seeks to expand the quality of their amazing catalog with a new album that encompasses all of the situations that come with loving another individual – even the ones that people don’t want to talk about, or admit.

Article continues after video.

“It’s an album about growth,” Daley said of the new dvsn album. “I don’t want to give away the title or anything too soon but it’s the growth, it’s the journey, it’s everything that people say they want out of R&B; it’s chock full of all that stuff. Like, how can we show you the ‘crying in the rain’ R&B without showing you the part that leads to someone crying?”

“We have to show you the hurt, then show you the accountability, then show you the remorse, then ultimately we have to show you how to grow,” he added. “That is all part of this story. It can’t all be peaches and flowers all the time; love is not like that and life is not like that. I want you guys to feel like dvsn is the realest.”

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