t’s a Monday afternoon and Sir Darryl Farris, affectionately known as SiR, is sitting in his all-white room and is wearing a crisp white t-shirt accessorized by two gold chains.
The Inglewood, California, native’s lunch order arrives just as our interview begins but he prefers to hold off. “It’s going to have to wait. It’s at the gate but hopefully, they get in. We’re focused on this right now. It’s alright,” SiR assures me over a Zoom call before revealing his order: salmon and vegetables. “I’m trying to lose a little weight, so I’m just trying to keep it healthy today.”
SiR is gearing up for his next musical chapter, including his third studio album. In early May, he returned with “Satisfaction,” his first proper single since releasing his sophomore album, Chasing Summer, in 2019.
Produced by Rascal, “Satisfaction” hears SiR crooning about a complicated relationship. He explains, “‘Satisfaction’ was written in a tough time in my life relationship-wise. It tells a tale of two cities: It tells the SiR side, and it tells the side of me being who I am as a man, a father and a husband. Sometimes I might want my cake and want to eat it too, but it doesn’t always work like that.”
SiR also mentions that “Satisfaction” embodies his early twenties. “[I was] just trying to figure things out and trying to be as honest as possible with myself, as well as the people that I love the most,” he notes.
“Satisfaction” is the first single from SiR’s upcoming album, due this summer, on Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA Records.
In Rated R&B’s interview with SiR, the R&B maestro talks more about his new album, mental health, fatherhood, favorite films and more.
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I recently interviewed your brother Davion Farris and he shared how Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life inspired him growing up. So, I have to ask: Is there an album or artist that moved you in that way?
The answer’s gonna kind of be the same. Stevie Wonder was a huge influence in our life. My mother was a huge Stevie Wonder fan. Growing up, she made sure to play Stevie all through the house. Other than that, I’m a big rap fan. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001 is probably one of my favorite albums.
On another note, I’m a huge John Mayer fan. His first album [Room for Squares] is still in rotation. I like a little bit of everything. I think I got a top five. If we’re going off the top, it would have to be Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kendrick [Lamar], and John Mayer.
“Satisfaction” is only two minutes, but we hear a lot of vulnerability in the lyrics and your voice. How did you get to the point where you feel comfortable enough to be so raw and honest in your music?
It’s a lot of trial and error. I think you may sometimes attempt to say what’s really on your mind, but it doesn’t always come out as poetically as you might want it to. There’s probably about 50 songs laying around where I tried my best to talk about what was going on and it didn’t come out. “Satisfaction” was probably one of the first times where I really felt my actual emotional status on wax.
How would you describe your new album?
It’s different for me. It’s not Chasing Summer. We did a great job being in the moment with [Chasing Summer] and trying to give the fans something that was me at the time. In this next project, we’re doing the same thing, but in a different way. I’m in a different space mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s going to be enlightening and tell a side of my life that people haven’t heard yet. So many things have changed with me. It’s going to be nice to reintroduce myself to the world and my fans.
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One thing about you that has changed — that we’ve seen so far — is you’re now a parent. Has fatherhood influenced your next project in any way?
I would say so. It brings out a lighter side to me. It kind of reshaped my whole idea of who I wanted to be as a man. I think some of that translated into the music. That’s a big part of why it was so easy for me to be vulnerable on this next project and be as honest as I have been.
You ended your debut album, November, with the song “Summer in November.” Then, you titled your second album Chasing Summer, which concludes with “LA.” Is there any summer or LA ties with your next project?
Man, you’re reading my projects better than I am (laughs). I never really even paid attention to that. But that’s a good bar. I wish [this next project] was entitled LA but it’s not (laughs).
Are there any LA influences on the album?
There’s a lot of LA influence in it just because of where I was at the time. In 2020, I didn’t leave the city at all and 2021 was about the same. I didn’t get to do much traveling. I definitely had a lot of home on my mind when I was creating.
What are some themes you explore on the album?
This project focuses a lot on my mental health. It talks about two sides of my life and how they intertwine. I went through some stuff and had to figure out what I wanted. I think we do a good job of painting a very vivid picture of the duality of being an artist and a regular, everyday man. I know there’s music on here that people need to hear. It’s going to hopefully help people who are going through similar situations that I went through and help them overcome some adversity.
When you were writing about these situations, overall, were you writing through them or reflecting on past moments?
I was writing through, for sure. I was going through some of the toughest things that I’ve ever dealt with in my personal life. The writing became therapeutic for me. The deeper I dove into my own personal anguish, the better. I had fun going through my own dirty laundry (laughs) and seeing what came out of me being as honest as possible with myself.
Did you work with a variety of collaborators, or did you decide to keep the creative team small?
I have a few features on the project. But when it came down to the meat and potatoes, it was definitely in-house. I never really have a bunch of people around while I’m creating. I did work with a few artists that I respect and a few writers to get some of the tougher ideas out properly. I didn’t want to deviate from the overall goal, which was clarity and honesty. I’m proud of the people that I brought into this circle.
In an interview with Apple Music, you said your project is slated to release this summer. As we talked about before, you reference summer a lot. Is that your favorite season?
I would say winter is my favorite season. I’m an LA boy, so I’m kind of burnt on the beach and the summer vibes. I’m more of a snuggler. I like to be indoors. As far as performing and doing my job, I’ve always wanted to be out in the summertime. As much as I love the winter, I don’t like the cold (laughs). When I’m home, my favorite season is definitely winter.
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Speaking of home, what are some things you enjoy doing when you’re not in artist mode?
I love the gym. I’ve been working out like crazy as of late. Playing basketball. I’m a big movie buff. I like to sit at home and watch movies.
What type of movies do you like?
I’m a [Quentin] Tarantino fan. My favorite movie of all time is Reservoir Dogs. I love gangster movies. Goodfellas is always in rotation. I’m also an anime head. As of late, I’ve been watching this series called Berserk. Just like my musical taste, my film taste is a little broad.
Do you ever get inspired by movies when creating music?
All the time. Most of the time, I’d be watching a movie and I’d hear a song playing that I’d never heard or that sounded familiar, then I’d look it up on Shazam to see what I’m listening to. That’ll give me some inspiration to create something. Or I’d be watching a scene and the music playing for the scene didn’t quite fit. And I’d be like, “Well, what can I do? What would fit in this scene?”
When listening to your music, one thing that always sticks out to me is how you layer your vocals, especially the backgrounds. What goes into your vocal production?
Years and years of being a background singer (laughs). Growing up in my family — I’m the youngest — my older brother Davion always has been the lead singer. I had to know every part because me and Daniel (D Smoke) would be singing the background parts. I needed to make sure I was hitting my note and that we were always in key. That kind of translated into me wanting harmonies in most of my tracks. Then, just the experience of working with other artists and seeing how they stacked their vocals kind of gave me an idea of what I wanted to do. Right now, it’s pretty locked in. It’s second nature. Thank you for saying that because that’s my favorite thing about my [music], too — the harmonies.