Dvsn Brings ’90s-Influenced R&B Authenticity To Their Virtuoso Tiny Desk Concert

Drake-signed, Toronto-based R&B group Dvsn delivered a throwback, 90s-inspired performance for their NPR Tiny Desk appearance, running through both their star-making hit “Too Deep” from their 2016 debut Sept. 5th and songs from their more recent 2017 album, Morning After.

Bringing a full band and soft violet lighting, signer Daniel Daley took center stage as his production partner Nineteen85 hung back in the audience. Meanwhile, the Newjack-influenced aesthetic was translated through the all-black ensembles worn by Daley and the band, including his three female backup singers, who were adorned in hoodies and newsboy caps, completing the look of the decade from which Dvsn draws much of their stylistic inspiration. Daley himself pulled off the look with an additional accessory — a shiny lower grill, which added a little grit to the silky smooth performance.

Besides “Too Deep,” Dvsn also performed “Body Smile” and “Mood,” letting Daley’s unassisted, bell-clear vocals take the lead as he slid up and down the scale with his stunning falsetto and warm tenor. He bantered with the crowd during the final song, inviting them to participate in some call-and-response vocal runs with him — an invite that was turned down with a few chuckles, as no one seemed to want to try to match his vocal pyrotechnics. The group even brought their own lighting crew to ensure that the atmosphere was properly set and just as romantic as their usual, venue-staged performances. It all makes for an engaging and inviting performance that shows that there’s just as much “real” R&B as the trap and hip-hop-influenced stuff out there — all you have to do is listen for it.