The Pandemic Pushed SiR To A Dangerous Addiction. Here’s How He Became Victorious

SiR photographed by Ro.lexx

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to uproot life as we knew it in 2020, the psychological impact of witnessing industries and the world around you change almost overnight was maddening for many. Together with the ongoing opioid crisis, fatal overdoses among Black men and women practically skyrocketed. According to the American Psychological Association, 2020 saw a reported 213 percent increase in the death rate from fatal overdoses at 54.1 for every 100,000 Black men. Sir Darryl Farris, better known as the Grammy-nominated singer SiR, was nearly one of those men after battling with drug addiction after the dust settled with his third album, Chasing Summer while battling with depression, anxiety, isolation, relationship issues with his wife, triggering factors for many who struggled with addiction during the pandemic.

“I turned to self-medication, drinking, it eventually got to the point where I was a full-blown addict and wasn’t operating to the best of my ability,” said SiR during our conversation at his home via Zoom.

From Rehab To The GRAMMY Awards: A Look Into SiR’s Heavy Road To Recovery
Sir photographed by Ro.lexx

Now having been clean and sober for over a year and being in a happier place with his family, the Inglewood native was finally able to share his story about that time beginning in 2020 on his new album appropriately titled, Heavy. Coming fresh off his two Grammy nominations “Best R&B Performance” and “Best R&B Song” for him and Alex Isley’s guest appearance on Rober Glasper’s “Back To Love,” the urgency for this album is to spark a conversation around addiction for those are also suffering but lack the language or platform to talk about it, allowing this to be his most vulnerable album yet.

“During all this time, what’s crazy is that I never stopped working on music and this album is the culmination of all that. During the creation of the album, I was struggling. [In 2020] we had some free time on our hands and we were working, but I wasn’t functional most times,” SiR explained. “But I’m blessed to say that these experiences shaped this album. I can’t say that I’m regretful because my tragedies always turn into testimonies because I’m blessed.”

Said testimonies like the title track “Heavy” and the Isaiah Rashad-assisted single “Karma” highlight the depth of his turmoil. SiR explains that the hook on “Karma” refers to the things he was out of balance with like being honest and his relationship.

“[Karma] was me trying to be honest about what I know. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction and I know that you’re going to get what you give. ‘Slowing my lac’ down to 100’, a lot of people don’t get that line, that’s me saying tell the truth. It’s talking about the person I was,” said SiR.

Having been isolated during the height of the pandemic and being forced to “deal with himself” as he describes, was a huge trigger for him as he watched people around him becoming dangerously ill from a virus no one knew how to navigate. On top of anxiously watching the music industry transform and take a screeching halt all around him, his wife was pregnant then. And despite having access to more money than he knew what to do with, he was practically the modern-day Atlus, carrying the world on his shoulders. The weight became too much for him and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope.

The tipping point for him was when he needed to have surgery in 2020 and as part of the pre-surgery routine, his doctor had him write out the drug of choice, which he declined to reveal, among other harmful substances he was taking before he was given anesthesia. The doctor reeled off the names of the drugs with a confused look in front of his wife who was next to him. Having been forced into a position where he had to be honest about his drug abuse, his wife told his whole family, leading to a crisis intervention at home.

SiR’s addiction issues were so deep that he hardly paid attention to the world around him as many legendary Black creatives such as Michael K. Williams, DMX, and Shock G of Digital Underground all succumbed from drug overdose, some connected to the growing prevalence of Fentanyl laced in hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. He was “too high to care” whether he lived or died.

“My mind was kind of open for [death] at a certain point because I was that deep into the addiction that if I died this way, this is how it’s gonna happen. It is what it is. I was pushing my body to the edge,” said SiR.

Similar to what happened to the legendary D’Angelo, who he effortlessly channels on “See No Evil”, he gained an immense amount of weight, bloated and puffy all the time during his battles with addiction. His blood pressure and cholesterol were out of control.

“The pandemic was heavy on everyone and it just got to me worse than it got to a few other people, that’s all. I don’t feel special though. N—-s go through shit every day,” SiR said humbly.

From Rehab To The GRAMMY Awards: A Look Into SiR’s Heavy Road To Recovery
Sir photographed by Ro.lexx

 When faced with the reality that many other Black people who were dealing with similar issues were not as fortunate, he recalled a time in rehab when he watched Amy Winehouse’s documentary. Learning about documented struggles with addiction played a role in motivating him to heal and get to a better place before he wound up a statistic.

“Nobody knew what the fuck was wrong until it was too late. [Amy] had so many eyes on her and was so loved and had so much support, but they couldn’t keep her from her addiction. And that’s the one thing I’m thankful I figured out at the right time. I can’t depend on anybody for help if I’m not gonna help myself. I made the personal decision that I wanted to see a change in myself before I could ask for help,” said SiR.

After a few tries with rehab, SiR realized beyond the religious aspects of it, most of the 12-step program didn’t work for him, thus doing rehab “his way.” However, he says that therapy was one of the best things he’s done for his recovery as he was able to uncover the root of his problems which were relationship issues, struggling to balance SiR the sultry R&B singer with Daryl the family man. He admitted that he started to make mistakes which he was struggling to forgive himself for.

As the “Karma” singer went into recovery mode he also underwent a physical, health transformation that saved his life. He was always a bit of a gym rat from his days as a salesman at Bally Total Fitness, but struggled with dieting, being a “foodie.” Eventually, he sought out help from a nutritionist and began figuring out the best ways for him to eat better to feel and look better. Nowadays, he usually eats foods like salmon, zucchini, spinach, chicken, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa consuming 190 grams of protein a day. He also took to removing sugary and overly salted junk food from his plate, though he’s bulking at the moment.

Since he’s been recovering, he’s been taking better care of his mental and physical health by prioritizing that as much as his career, earnestly admitting that he spent more time focusing on that and trying to please others, his well-being went to the back burner. The process of painstakingly rebuilding himself after nearly losing everything is what made SiR ultimately stronger from all angles.

From Rehab To The GRAMMY Awards: A Look Into SiR’s Heavy Road To Recovery
Sir photographed by Ro.lexx

“The pressure I was under, it shaped the way I look at people, the way I look at myself. Humbled the shit out of me. I feel so much surer of myself and I feel the right kind of confidence in what I have to say and how I move with my intentions. I’m glad that before I put this album out and did all this stuff, I went inward. I went to myself and took care of me,” said SiR.

All of this would lead to the 2024 Grammy Awards, a historic day for his label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) as he not only got to experience being nominated for the first time but also watched his friend and labelmate SZA win three Grammys for Best R&B Song with “Snooze,” Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Ghost In The Machine” and Best Progressive R&B Album for SOS. It was what was the most special about that whole night for him above everything.

“I came to TDE right after her and Zay [Isaiah Rashad] got signed. I just remember seeing them where Rayvon and Doechii started from. We all started from the bottom. We all go through these stages so to see her go from CTRL – I went to her first signing for CTRL and waited in line and surprised everyone. I always admired her work ethic let alone her talent, her beauty, SZA’s a 10 out of 10 for me. I’m a big fan and I hope we get to work together soon,” he said.

He says that now that he’s in a much better place, he hopes that he and SZA’s paths will align once again and that the timing will be right for both of them.

Forgiving himself for his mistakes was one of the most important lessons he’s learned and therapy. And with his recovery and his new music, he’s on a brighter path to healing.

“I had a long year of tears and crying and therapy sessions. I definitely have forgiven myself today. And I have to forgive myself all the time because these pains don’t go away,” SiR said. “These are scars so it takes time to heal. I’m still forgiving myself.”

SiR’s new album ‘Heavy’ is now available on all DSPs and for purchase on iTunes.

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