Inglewood’s Sir Darryl Farris didn’t choose music. Music chose him. The singer, songwriter, producer and engineer, known professionally as SiR, has worked with Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper and Tyrese — even though he didn't start taking music seriously until he was 22.
SiR showcased his innate ability to compose romantic lyrics and ethereal melodies on his 2015 sophomore album, Seven Sundays. His introspective, chill R&B sound has been praised by NPR, and his association with the Soulection collective led to a live session on Beats 1 Radio (which you can watch below). Now, at 29, as he prepares for the release of his third album, SiR is ready to transform from an underground talent to a breakthrough artist.
But all of this almost never happened.
SiR is the son of a church singer, the nephew of Prince bassist Andrew Gouche and the brother of hit songwriters Daniel and Davion Farris. His childhood was a blur of choir rehearsals and studio sessions. And that’s why he abandoned music.
“When I got out of high school, I was like, fuck that shit. My brothers writing music ... I didn’t think it was for me,” he says. “I thought it wasn’t what people wanted to see me do in my neighborhood. I figured that I had a better chance playing ball and being a kid instead of doing what my parents felt was best for me.”
While his family was making hits, Farris worked as a gym manager, but even that fell apart. “I ended up moving to Hollywood, tripping out. I was on drugs, shit like that. I lost my job. I was out there struggling and almost out on the street.”
Then his mother stepped in, and brought him back to the very thing he was running from. “She took me back to Inglewood, 22, broke as fuck. No job. My brother had a studio at my mom’s house in the back and he’s writing songs.”
One of those songs was Jaheim’s 2007 hit “Never.” Seeing the success of his brothers' songwriting team, the WoodWorks, changed SiR’s perspective. “I never enjoyed music because my parents made me do it. Once I had an opportunity to appreciate it for myself, then I fell in love.”
Daniel supplied SiR with production tools, but he decided to truly commit to the profession by getting a degree in recording arts. Soon after, he used the harmonies his mother taught him to work with a legendary soul artist. “I had an opportunity to produce a song for Anita Baker,” SiR remembers proudly.
After getting a 1 a.m. phone call, SiR came to the studio and instantly started writing. Baker liked the song so much that she later invited SiR to her studio session. “She was so sweet, she was like that mama that you never had. She paid high compliments. She let me play some of my own music before we started working, and when I played my stuff she sorta flipped out. ‘Who’s your manager?! What are you doing?! Where are you going with this?!’ We had a 30-minute conversation after that,” says SiR. “It is still one of the best days of my life.”
The confidence that industry veterans instilled in him fueled the making of #songsforkelly, a forthcoming album of love songs inspired by his wife, Kelly Ann. SiR recently shared an Instagram post celebrating their seventh anniversary, but the new album is far from a tell-all. “It’s a story of our relationship without putting too much of our business out there.”
SiR is also cautious about leaking album details, but does name-drop one collaborator, rapper Big K.R.I.T. “I actually got some really fucking major features on this project ... I think the Krit thing is my favorite new song.”
SiR won't name any other #songsforekelly features, but past songs with first cousin Tiffany Gouche, producer Iman Omari and breakout star Anderson .Paak hint that he'll likely be drawing on his connections in L.A.'s thriving R&B community. The increased visibility of Inglewood artists in particular, like James Fauntleroy and Kamasi Washington, is highlighting the close-knit music scene of his hometown.
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“The people who are around me, Tiffany, Iman, my family, WoodWorks — we’re comfortable in our skin and our music is honest. We’re not faking it. Anything we put out, we believe in it.”
SiR is finally enjoying his musical family as a gift and not a burden. “Music has always been good to me," he says. "I just didn’t know it when I was younger.”