To be bold, brave, and honest are some of the most powerful feelings to have. This is how 20-year-old Filipino-Guyanese singer-songwriter Dylan Sinclair wants people to feel as they listen to his new record No Longer In The Suburbs, releasing May 12, 2022. Sinclair is on the rise with 25M+ streams across his catalog; already hailed as an R&B artist to watch by industry players such as Apple Music and Sidedoor Magazine. This record is about “[Dylan] stepping into a new light that [he’s] unfamiliar with, but trying regardless.”
This coming-of-age indie record includes singles Lifetime and Suppress, produced by Zach Simmonds and Jordon Manswell and mentioned as one of Sinclair’s favourite songs off the track. He tells us, “I had a lot of fun making [Suppress] in my room, challenging myself to try some new flows and cadences.” However, if listeners plan on fully experiencing Sinclair’s favourites, they should watch out for the lyrics to Rational as his favourite lyric off the record is “to be free is to feel the pain with no sense of fear.” He believes that we must accept the low points in life because “the lower the low, the higher the high.”
In support of his new EP, Sinclair will be performing at the 2022 JUNO Fest (May 12th) and making his debut this summer at the world’s largest Jazz festival in Montréal (July 7th). This is big because performing was a constant thought in the creation of this record. “I considered live shows a lot while writing these songs,” he tells us, “I’m tryna be outside with songs like Open and I’m In It with people singing back at me. Open is also the new focus single set to release May 11 at 12pm EST.
Co-produced by Rowan and GRAMMY-nominated Jordon Manswell, the confessional track presents Sinclair’s conscious effort to remain grounded and tethered to his roots and values. He credit’s Toronto’s appreciation of “less poppy” sounds for making him the musician he is today. “We really appreciate the classics,” he says about Toronto; “Even the artists out here, we’re always trying to go for making something classic rather than something that’s in.” More of Sinclair’s background is rooted in the church where he sang solos as part of their choir. It’s also here that Sinclair cites his earliest interactions with music.
No longer is Sinclair in the suburbs. He’s grown into himself saying “on this EP, I’m showing what I have to offer and what my taste consists of rather than doing what’s safe and what I know works. We’re building my identity in the midst of all the music constantly being released. I’m free to create what I want, how I want, and it’s beautiful. It’s technically always been that way but I never really realized it I guess.”
As an artist to look out for, Sinclair doesn’t let the pressure get to him, saying “we do what we do with purpose and it’s fun for us.” While happy he’s getting more recognition, he still says “we’ve got so much gas left. It feels sustainable. It feels wrong how ready I am to make music that’s beyond the level of what people expect from me.”
What makes your new No Longer in the Suburbs release different from the others?
I’m in a different place than I was when I wrote my other EPs. I’m no longer in the suburbs. I’m in the city now away from my parents. I’ve grown into myself and my team has gotten to grow with me from music production to visual. On this EP, I’m showing what I have to offer and what my taste consists of rather than doing what’s safe and what I know works. We’re building my identity in the midst of all the music constantly being released. I’m free to create what I want how I want and it’s beautiful. It’s technically always been that way but I never really realized it I guess.
What are you most excited about with this release?
Performing. I considered live shows a lot while writing these songs. I’m tryna be outside with songs like ‘Open’ and ‘I’m In It’ with people singing back at me.
What do you want listeners to feel when listening to the record?
Bold. Brave. Honest. That’s how I feel at least when I think of everything I speak on in the record. It’s about me stepping into a new light that I’m unfamiliar with but trying regardless. We did some stuff in the production that reflects that too. We made songs that have no direct reference to anything else I’ve ever heard.
What is your favorite song and lyric from the record?
“Suppress” probably. I had a lot of fun making that one in my room challenging myself to try some new flows and cadences. Zach Simmonds and Jordon Manswell produced on that one. My favorite lyric is probably from the opening track, “Rational” and it’s “to be free is to feel the pain with no sense of fear”. Accept the low points in life too cause the lower the low, the higher the high.
Being named as an artist to look out for must come with a lot of expectations/pressure, what was that like? Or did he not feel any pressure at all?
Nah, no pressure. We do what we do with purpose and it’s fun for us. I’m happy what we’re making right now is being recognized but we’ve got so much gas left. It feels sustainable. It feels wrong how ready I am to make music that’s beyond the level of what people expect of me. I’ve got stuff that isn’t on this EP that we’re holding for my debut album and the people around me are still growing alongside me so it’s an exciting time.