Sir the Baptist, legally William James Stokes, was born at the gateway of Jazz Heaven Bronzeville on the near South Side of Chicago. Sir’s parents were Christian Apologist Dr. James Benton and Mission Ambassador Patricia Ann. The mystique of his artistry is connected to the memories of his father’s sermons and the Chicago crime and drug infested ghetto. With that crime being a real part of Chicago, Bronzeville’s culture was a rich musical community with a historic legacy of jazz and soul. Growing up next to the homes of greats such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and so many more, these artists served as Sir’s inspiration. His cultured and religious upbringing, along with his unquestioned talent, made Sir a musical genius from an early age.
After his father’s passing in 1998, Sir began to stray from the church to discover more pop culture movements and hip hop/R&B sounds. Sir also became more involved in marketing, branding and design, leading him to land a job at famed advertising agency, Leo Burnett. After deciding to leave the agency to pursue his musical endeavors full-time, Sir found himself driving Lyft all day and then sleeping in his car, homeless, at night. This life journey led Sir to develop a sound and story that is all his own.
In the 1950’s Ray Charles was rebuked by the church for bringing gospel music to the secular/pop world with his hit song, “I Got a Woman”. Sir is the second coming of that twisted faith. He’s a game-changing fusion artist that incorporates both the secular and sacred – with a message that’s refreshingly progressive, delightfully innovative, and sometimes unapologetically necessary for today’s socio-political climate. Nevertheless, Sir is the best of hip-hop’s aggressiveness, just with a crooner’s effortless charm that paints the provoking imagery of a sinner who juggles desire for salvation and plotted bad habits.
Ready for a new genre? This new sound has led Sir to collaborate with legendary Composer Lee Musiker; who produced the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra Jr; but he also has collaborated on the track “Familiar” with Chance the Rapper, King Louie and Quavo of Migos. Sir has performed in finales with the Joffery Ballet; but then took that same 8-piece horn section to rage venues with Travis Scott at Chicago’s renowned music venue, Metro. Sir has been featured on Late Night with Seth Meyers, BET, the Chicago Tribune, Sway in the Morning, LA Weekly, Tidal, Spotify (“Raise Hell” hitting #1 on the Viral50 charts and over 1.5 million streams) and many more media outlets; but he also has scored a Hollywood box office film “Dysfunctional Friends”. Sir has a sound that is all his own and one that you will be able to see live at most major music festivals this Summer, including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Made in America and Afropunk, and hear on his forthcoming Atlantic Records release PK: Preacher’s Kid.