The evolution on his latest EP, released Wednesday, is personal as much as it is musical. As the title says, Sinclair is “No Longer in the Suburbs.”

Sporting a purple windbreaker, purple durag, grey jeans and Jordan 3s, Dylan Sinclair glides when he walks.

Skating through the long corridor of the Arch Café in Toronto’s Kensington Market, his stoic expression only cracks for a smile as he greets me with a fist full of rings. The expression reassembles as he takes a seat in a butter yellow arm chair resting a copy of “The Mastery of Love” and a pair of airpods on the coffee table.

With both of his arms extending past the chair’s and shoulders square, Sinclair exudes quiet confidence, rare for a 20-year-old. It’s not unfounded though. A 2021 Juno award nomination for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for his last EP “Proverb” let Sinclair see beyond what he’s already done. As did racking up millions of streams and accumulating over 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

But there’s always a next step. A next evolution.

The evolution on his latest EP, released Wednesday, is personal as much as it is musical. As the title says, Sinclair is “No Longer in the Suburbs.”

“I feel like I just want to live many lifetimes in my one lifetime,” Sinclair told the Star. “I just want to just feel and see a lot.”

According to Sinclair, who is from Thornhill, there’s only so much growth that can happen in the suburbs. It’s an isolating experience full of cookie cutter houses and 20-minute drives.

Growth in your early 20s can easily depend on your surroundings, who you get a chance to speak to and the minute decisions you make snowballing into a life path. Sinclair didn’t get that in the suburbs, so he moved.

“You feel more here because there’s higher highs and lower lows, and it’s about welcoming all of those experiences and all those challenges that come your way when you step into a city like Toronto,” he said.

“I’m free to be my own individual within a city finding myself as a 20-year-old man. It’s really just about freshness, newness, which is something we all strive for.”

That life change has bled into the music. “No Longer in the Suburbs” is a dalliance from Sinclair’s gospel roots.

Sounds of the TTC launch the opening track “Rational” before an offering of woozy synths and maturing revelations establish Sinclair’s new esthetic. While the rest of the project offers smooth guitars in place of the previous EP’s sombre pianos, lonely violins fill what used to be devoid silence.

And with the recognition Sinclair’s received, lyrics imbued by wariness of fame and alienation weigh on each track. Tracks like “Lifetime,” “If You Feel Like Leaving Me,” “Open” and “Suppress,” in particular, challenge the idea of being a suitable partner as his lifestyle sees drastic changes.

“I feel like everything is constantly changing. I’m a very ambitious person, so I have to be very open to the changes that come with the goals that I have,” he said.

Sinclair’s aware of the possible consequences of his newly emerging life.

“(On) the intro track and outro track I’m talking about if you feel like leaving me, I will be hurt, but you have your reasons and it’s OK. You choose your battles but, at the end of the day, you got to be comfortable accepting in order to move forward,” he said.

In the past year and a half Sinclair says he’s turned to meditation to help slow things down while everything else in his life is speeding up. Ten minutes a day simply breathing in complete quietness have helped Sinclair centre himself.

“As much as you’re growing, you have to communicate with the people around you, you know what I mean? And in order to do that, you have to be calming yourself, not reactive.”

Spinning his rings on his fingers, Sinclair consistently stressed focus throughout our interview. He takes time to understand what he specifically wants, takes that breather and then, “I pray about it and I go and I get it,” he said.

“I feel like everything is a series of decisions that you make in your life so just make sure you’re making the right decisions for you,” he added.

While prayer is still very much part of his life, the church is no longer.

Laughing, Sinclair explained that like many during the pandemic, his attendance took a hit and he’s simply never gone back. At this point, a requirement to pull him back in would be the quality of the music.

“I’ve studied and been listening to only heaters for the past two years, because you produce what you take in. So I have to listen to high quality music in order to make the type of quality music that I want to make. And then that carries into the church.”

When Sinclair refers to high quality music he means timeless classics. The likes of Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Pharrell and D’Angelo roll off his tongue. They’re all key innovators who galvanize the rest of the music industry and push things forward — a group to which Sinclair aims to belong. Raising the bar of music is one of his goals, but he doesn’t have an end goal in sight, just constant evolution.

“I want everything to represent growth because I also feel like once people can go back and listen to my discography, they can see the growth and be inspired themselves to grow,” he added. “I like seeing people grow, so you got to be an example in order to see whatever you want to see.”

And for Sinclair that growth has only just begun.

“I want to open my world to beyond. That’s also why this EP is called ‘No Longer in the Suburbs,’ this is my journey in the city. But the next is global. I’m trying to feel the world and communicate to the world what I feel with them through my music, when the time is right.”


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