The tunes are smooth. The sound is vintage. The voice, though. The voice is classic Rhythm and Blues. I guess that's a dead on description of Del Hartley. The Toronto artist has the sound of the RnB of yesterday. When you see him in person, you see a performer. He looks like the man of every woman's dreams. He's tall and dark. He's very well dressed. He looks like a singer. Then, he jumps on stage and absolutely kills it. His voice is reminiscent of a Johnny Gill. It's deep and melodic. He has the crooning ability of one Gerald Levert. He has the swagger of Keith Sweat. There you have it. He's the group LSG all in one. Now, let's get to know this Toronto singer, Del Hartley.
From singing in a closet to singing in a school assembly, singing has always been apart of Del. His journey goes back to listening to his mother's Michael Jackson: Live From Bucharest tape.
"I watched that shit on repeat. So, I was like the biggest MJ fan."
Eventually, he started to write and then produce. Then, a year ago, he put out his project. His influences are pretty standard when it comes to today's RnB artists. Who do they all say? Well, he credits Michael Jackson and Usher, as well as, John Legend and Maxwell amongst others.
Yet, outside of the musical influences, Del Hartley credits the family for his early success.
"My mom, and definately my uncle. He was a big Prince fan, so he was always pushing Prince on me saying, 'Listen to this tape. Listen to this guitar rip.' I moved from Ottawa, the nation's capital, when I was 18 to pursue this, and they have been in my corner ever since."
Since the move to Toronto, Hartley has been working. The former film major dropped his first EP, Symphony, and has performed like a mad man in the last year. Some of his future plans includes branching out to other producers and developing his own unique sound. In addition, Hartley is working on adding live band elements to his performances. Diversity is what he is shooting for in his next project.
Now, when talking about music in the "6", you have to bring up Drake.
"Every since this Drake movement, there has been a lot of focus on the talent here in Toronto, man. What a time to be alive!"
What a time to be alive is right! With the Del Hartleys of the world leading the Toronto music movement, all seems to be looking up. Del Hartley is just one a many talented to artists to be in area, but his smooth, clean style is setting him apart from the rest. But what does he say about staying focused and keeping your nose to the grinder?
"Just be patient. You have to be patient in this thing. Also, meet people. Your network is your net-worth. Basically, just stay focused and don't cheat the grind."
Del Hartley's, Symphony is available on Spotify and DelHartley.com, as well as, SoundCloud. Follow his movement on Instagram at Del_Hartley.