- Words Yasmine Dankwah
- Photography Sophie Jones
- Styling Connor Gaffe
- Set Design Zuzanna Skurtys
- Hair Sharon Robinson using Design Essentials UK
- Makeup Makeup Lucy Thomas using Deciem - The Ordinary
- Photography Assistants Max Hayter and Alexandra Crichton-Brannan
- Styling Assitant Benny Mails
- Hair Assistant Stacy Copeland
- Location Town Hall Hotel & Apartments
- Production Studio Notion
We ride the waves with TDE’s singer-songwriter-producer, SiR as he makes us long for summertime with his hazy neo-soul album 'Chasing Summer'.
Inglewood-born star, first found fame when writing for the likes of would-be fellow TDE record label members. The singer-songwriter, christened Sir Darryl, dropped EPs ‘Her’ and ‘Her Too’ which were more than well-received, and proved to be a great marker of what was to come in terms of his success.
When looking at the trajectory of the artist’s career, it’s absolutely clear that SiR creates from a place that is visceral and raw. His lyrical mastery gives you goosebumps with all of the emotion he emits from each and every track, regardless of whether he’s teams up with the likes of Zacari or Kendrick Lamar, to taking to the mic alone.
When discussing his songwriting process, SiR embraces the present moment as a way to express the inner workings of the soul, he tells me “music has always been therapeutic for me; it represents a lot of my growth and where I am in my life, not only as an artist but also as a person. I would say it has little to do with how honest I was being and more to do with where I was at that moment in time.” This cathartic lyrical journey occurs organically with SiR, preferring to “go with the flow” and let his intuition and experience drive him to the song’s completion, to make songs he can be proud of. He sings to me the first verse of ‘New Sky’, declaring it to be one of his favourite songs, a testament to the love of this craft.
Using introversion as a strength, SiR’s ‘Chasing Summer’ sees him craft hits drenched in summer-warm, marble-smooth productions, which had captured the attention of audiences worldwide. ‘Hair Down’ featuring Kendrick Lamar is exemplary of this. The TDE powerhouse of a collaboration attracted millions of streams and views. Check out the exclusive editorial and interview with the knight of our dreams and chase summer forever on SiR’s tour.
Hey SiR, what’s up?
Not much. Just playing Call of Duty – it’s 8 am.
What are your feelings surrounding the release of Chasing Summer, now that some time has passed?
I still feel great. The album’s been getting a lot of love and I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Now I’m just excited to get on the road and start performing.
Would you say that touring is the best part?
I would say so. After the response, we’re always waiting to hear what fans think. I never know what to expect with these projects. If I had any they would be surpassed. It’s definitely given me a lot of energy and it really helps with what comes next.
What kind of energy do you want to emit whilst on tour?
It’s gonna be big energy whatever it is! I spend a lot of time conserving my energy for live shows. When I sing live, I really go for it and try to give my all, so hopefully, people recognise that and they sing along with me as I’m yelling into the microphone!
Do you find songwriting to be a sort of cathartic release, in that when you’ve finished you leave the feelings there on the paper?
It depends on the emotion or the day. There are certain songs that I don’t even write down. I would say, it’s only gratifying to complete a song,
Was that the main creative process behind creating the record? Was the process organic?
Yeah, definitely. I think it always starts with a feeling but as a writer with that experience, I always try to complete the thought before I start writing. It’s always good to get ‘a whole thought’ together before I start putting things on paper.
Did you have a ritual when you get this feeling?
No, a lot of people do. Being a writer, I just try to go with the flow, especially as I’m strict on so many things technically. It’s one of the weirdest things with me. I have to put on two hats, one when I’m writing a song based on raw emotions and one when I’m recording it – but it helps.
Do you have any other writers that you look up to for inspiration?
Yeah, one of my favourite songwriters is John Mayer and recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder. I think spending time with my mom has made me quite nostalgic. Overall, a lot of specific things that I say and do comes from songwriters who are emotion-driven.
Is there anything else that inspires your writing?
I try to keep things as personal as possible. I also have family members that I look up to that create music, so I’m competitive in that sense. I tend to make my work stand out more, just because my friends and family are so talented. So they push me a lot.
Do you have a favourite lyric off of the record, that you’re particularly proud of?
[sings] Barely alive on this G5 / bottle away from me drowning, start with a sip / then I down it, land in Toronto / I’m tipsy, you never say that you miss me / but I know that you miss me / I wish you were with me [laughs] New Sky is like my favourite song!
That was incredible! Can you sing every answer, please? Have you got any incredible advice, that has really stayed with you?
When you’re in the game, you don’t have to look like you’re in the game. You don’t have to worry about what people think, just be yourself. I think it pushed me a lot to focus on myself.
Do you ever feel that it’s emotionally taxing when you are writing works that are so poignant and vulnerable?
Simple answer. Yes.
How do you recharge when you feel weighed down by everything?
Sleeping. I’m a type B person so I like to sit somewhere in LA, look out at a view and just soak in that energy. I spend a lot of time by myself, so I always have time for that. If I’m in a place where I need to get away, I’ll just drive up somewhere and regain that energy.
Do you think that being an introvert in this industry can be isolating sometimes? Or is it more like a secret weapon?
It’s definitely who I am, for people that know me There’s SiR and then there’s Darryl. I’m the music and vulnerability that comes with that, and SiR is the image that you put together to make things make sense.
Do you have any mantras or sayings to keep yourself grounded?
My favourite right now is ‘be the change you want to see’.
Where did the inspiration for your name come from?
So my actual birth name is Sir Darryl, my grandma gave it to me. There are so many different things I understand now that I didn’t when I was younger in relation to my name. I was embarrassed to say it. But as I got older I understood how black men are treated and that people, where I’m from, don’t carry themselves with the respect that I wanted to. So I definitely made it something that was a part of me. Something that I’m proud of.
Do you think more people are starting to find strength within their vulnerability?
I think we’re all picking up on the vibe of being honest and sharing our situations. I think it’s important so that we can all learn about our situations and about the world.
Do you have any particular albums or records that have defined you as you’ve grown up?
I can give you three, one would have to be Songs in the Key of Life, my mother played it religiously when I was growing up. Be by Common, that’s one of the albums that Kanye West had almost full creative control over, it introduced me to him as one of the top 5 producers of all time. And number three would have to be Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint 2, but they’re both Jay-Z albums, [laughs] so it counts as one.
What was the process like collaborating with all of the amazing artists on the album? Was it quite natural and organic?
In hindsight, I would say yes. At the moment, it felt surreal, I spent a lot of time just soaking up the idea that I could work with these people. But now that I’ve had so many of these experiences, it’s more chill. I’m not so hypey.
Who would be some of your dream collaborators be, dead or alive?
That’s a trick question! There are so many talented people over the generations, I couldn’t just pick one. But if I had to I’d love to work with Jay-Z. That’s a big one for me.
Does it take some work to remind yourself why you do what you do?
You have to make a conscious effort for sure. Some people like that feeling of being bigger than life. I don’t shy away from it but that’s not me.
What are you excited about right now?