At the 2019 Soul Train Awards on Sunday, November 17, BET will celebrate Yolanda Adams, naming the gospel legend our honorary Lady of Soul. In a similar spirit, we’re taking a look back at the year of SiR—a transformative time for an emerging student of the craft.
After releasing two studio albums, Seven Sundays in 2015 and November in 2018, the Inglewood native signed with RCA and Top Dawg Entertainment in August of 2019. And with the release of his latest effort, Chasing Summer, the artist, born Sir Darryl Farris, has gained momentum heading into 2020 and has earned a superlative place in our hearts as BET Digital’s Gentleman of Soul.
A traditional champion of R&B, distinguished amidst a landscape of alternative forms of the genre, SiR’s past writing credits are as impressive as his present solo success. Anita Baker, Jill Scott and Ginuwine are but a few collaborators on his resume as a songwriter. And while educated in the school of experience, the producer-singer-wordsmith also has an academic background in audio engineering.
Fast forward to 2019, and the 33-year-old is currently at the forefront of TDE’s continued dominance—with Top Dawg darling Kendrick Lamar and resident songstress SZA still crafting follow-ups to their 2017 masterpieces, DAMN and CTRL.
Aptly, the turning point for SiR this year arrived in August, right before autumn. Days after unveiling his Kendrick-assisted single, “Hair Down,” the multi-hyphenate maestro performed the single in front of a raucous crowd at Real Street Festival in his home state of California. The withdrawn and sedated take on protecting one’s energy primed fans for the singer’s 2019 opus, Chasing Summer.
“The best thing I can ever do for myself is to be honest in my music,” SiR explained to Zane Lowe the month his album dropped. “This time around I didn’t hold any bars, it felt great.”
Delivering fans 14 tracks and 45 minutes of traditional, restorative R&B, SiR easily had one of the most soulful projects of 2019. With rap collabs dispersed between a collection of duets and solo cuts, the album’s featured artists include Kendrick Lamar, Smino, Kadhja Bonet, Lil Wayne, Sabrina Claudio, Jill Scott and Zacari. Inspired by the “duplicity of [his] life,” as he’s stated in a previous interview with BET, SiR shares stories of lust and leisure on songs like “Touch Down” And “Fire,” interrupted by aloofness and anxiety on tracks such as “The Recipe” and “Mood.”
Following his critically acclaimed project, SiR also shined as a featured artist himself on a handful of tracks this year. Most notably, the singer praised Black women on Rapsody’s “Iman,” an album cut from her equally lauded LP Eve. He also floated on Phadid’s “Dark Fire” with StanLee and Saint Bone, flexed his versatility on Eijuba’s “Heavy Weather at Jazz” and matched Etta Bond on “More Than a Lover.”
In September, SiR unveiled his second Chasing Summer visual—a sepia-toned video for “That’s Why I Love You,” featuring Sabrina Claudio. Directed by Daniel Russell, the semi-romantic visual takes us through a journey of lust, dimly lit love and concupiscent chemistry. In the song’s lyrics, Claudio and SiR explore the complications that come with loving through trauma.
We would be more if I could deal with the pain (But I can’t) / Survive another tumble down lover’s lane (We remain) / The brightest color in an ocean of grey / Ain’t the same if I cared, ain’t the same if you stayed.
At the top of October, SiR released his latest visual. The Haitane-directed video for “New Sky,” illustrating the vanity of celebrity culture through special effects are green screen backdrops.
As fans across the country anticipate awards season, namely the 62nd Grammy Awards in February, there’s opportunity to reward our Gentleman of Soul with some much-deserved flowers, as SiR prepares for his upcoming Summer Forever Tour. The soul singer will embark on a nine-day tour, starting on the East Coast and making his way back west to “chase summer” for a few months longer as the winter approaches. Still mixing, mastering and producing, TDE’s latest star will certainly have more accolades to come in 2020.
(Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage)