Cael Dadian – “Saved” + “Pay It Back”


cael dadian

Cael Dadian is a fiercely talented pop songwriter and vocalist whose recent gospel infusions have resulted in two phenomenal tracks: “Saved” and “Pay It Back”. Listening to his rich sound, it’s amazing to think he’s only 18 years old. “Creating a San Diego-based pop, R&B, and soul sound that feels just right,” Dadian has star potential, all while navigating a fine balance between pop stardom and coffee shop understatedness.

“Saved” is a must-listen. I’m loving the various key sounds that comprise its soulful beginning, with the nice apt cut sample also used on Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” working well. What follows is a punchy and immaculately produced gem, which blends backing gospel vocal samples with a ferocious contemporary take on soulful hip-pop. The vocal delivery is faultless in the rhythmic approach, reminding of some excellent Mac Miller and Frank Ocean hybrid in that it’s simultaneously adept at both atmospheric pop hooks and furious hip-hop adornments. “Saved” is immediately accessible and seizes on the gospel-tinged soul-pop that’s been increasingly popular lately, but adds a very creative hip-hop element in its mid-section that shows Dadian’s creative prowess. Absolutely fantastic closing minute as well.

The even more recent “Pay It Back” plays off a funky rhythm section and gospel choir backing samples, with loopy synths emerging occasionally for a playful addition over Dadian’s alternation between R&B charm and hip-hop adeptness. It’s a similarly enthusiastic track that continues the strengths of “Saved” and confirms Dadian’s pop fervor as both a vocalist and songwriter. We’ll be keeping an ear on him for sure.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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