Toronto R&B singer Dylan Sinclair has named Kirk Franklin, Daniel Caesar, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole as major inspirations, but the artist that comes most readily to mind while listening to his debut EP, Proverb, is Frank Ocean. It isn’t just the style—introspective R&B with arty touches around the edges—but the depth and nature of his feeling. Raised in church choirs, Sinclair has more than a touch of gospel in his sound—if the chord progressions of “Home” and “El Shaddai/First Love” don’t make it obvious, the loose allusions of “Jericho” will. But Sinclair’s faith isn’t purely religious, and, like Ocean, the beauty of his music lies in how he uses the earthy, concrete sounds of R&B and soul to reach for moods that escape definition. His honesty is his crutch. But it beats pretending. And he’s just starting out.

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