Dylan Sinclair has been thinking a lot about his surroundings lately.

“Environment is a big thing for me,” the 20-year-old R&B singer tells me, sitting in a bright room in Toronto’s Harbord Village area. “A sunny day like this, the outcome of a song would be totally different than on a rainy day.”

It’s not just weather, but location that informs Sinclair’s creative process. Which makes sense. Where you are influences what you do and how you feel. Anyone who’s taken a psychogeography course can tell you that. Light affects our circadian rhythms; landscapes affect our emotions. A long walk can miraculously uplift your mood; a leisurely bus ride can spawn the song of the summer.

It’s why, about a year and a half ago, Sinclair moved out of his parents’ house. After breaking out with his self-released, deeply personal album Proverb in 2020, he suddenly found himself with a Juno nod for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, millions of streams to his name, and scalding-hot buzz as Toronto’s next R&B sensation. Most kids living at home are content just making the honour roll. He admits he was worried about not having enough experiences to draw on for the follow-up project. “All that really told me is, ‘OK then why don’t you just go and live some more life?’” Sinclair explains. “I always say, you can’t tell the story until you live it. I had to no longer be in the suburbs. I had to make adjustments to my life that would allow me to experience new things.”