During SiR’s five-year absence, the music star has been through it but still came out the other side. Following the release of 2019’s Chasing Summer, the 38-year-old Top Dawg Entertainment signee fell into a deep depression and self-medicated during the process. His fourth studio album, the critically acclaimed HEAVY, documents the highs and lows of the past few years. Baring all, the 16-track project, which features noteworthy collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign, Anderson .Paak, and Ab-Soul, arrives as his most personal to date.

“I think 2020 was the worst year of my life,” SiR explains in a press release. “I went through addiction issues, went through a relationship problem. Me and my wife were about to get a divorce, and we had a baby… It was the most pressure I had ever felt in my life.”

SiR began his journey to becoming clean in 2021 shortly after telling his wife about his addiction. From there, he checked into a rehab clinic and worked on himself. While he relapsed twice in 2022, SiR is now over a year sober and is relishing a new phase in life.

While touring down under in Australia with label mate SZA, we caught up with SiR to learn more about the creative process, why the next album won’t be so dark, and taking risks.

You’ve spoken about how this is by far your most personal album and that there was a lot of pressure when writing it. How did it feel to complete the record and eventually put it out into the world?

Man, finishing his record was one of the best feelings in the world. At a certain point, it felt like it was never gonna come out. I had a lot of help and a lot of love around me. I’m thankful to those that were there.

The album hears you come out the other side of your battle with addiction, depression, and issues with your marriage. Was there any part of you that questioned whether you wanted to be so open about your struggles in the music?

Of course. I’m a private person and a married man and I’m airing out my dirty laundry. It’s not the look I wanted but it is what it is and I’m proud to share my story.

Was there anyone else’s music that helped you get through the dark times? And who was it?

Not really. I kind of keep my music preferences to myself.

Now that the album has been released into the world, how have you felt about the reception?

It’s kinda too early to tell. The album is only a month old. I think we need to give it another three months.

You’ve described releasing “No Evil” as the lead single as a curveball and a risk that paid off. Has that influenced you to take more unexpected risks? And had you been scared to do so previously?

I’ve never been afraid to take risks in music. I do believe “No Evil” was the biggest risk that I’ve taken so far, but I always challenge myself and try to push my art forward in different ways.

The music video is an ode to D’Angelo’s “Untitled.” Have you heard back from him or anyone on his team regarding the video?

No, not at the moment. It would be great to meet him though! I’ve been a fan since I was a kid!!

Due to the songs being so personal, what was it about the collaborators on this album that felt right to be invited on something so close to your heart? 

Most of the producers and writers involved in this project are my personal friends. I felt like I wanted to be in a safe space when I was creating, and I knew they’d understand where I was coming from when I started singing the lyrics I wrote. I never felt as though I was being judged by them or pressured to write in a direction that wasn’t my own.

“Brighter” closes the album on a hopeful note, which you’ve said was intentional. Is that a sound and energy you are hoping the next chapter will continue from?

Definitely, I don’t wanna write songs like the ones on this album again. If I do, that means that I’ll be back in that place again and that’s not what I want.

You’re currently promoting the album on tour with your label mate SZA. How has it been letting out the emotions of the songs to a live audience and seeing crowds respond each night?

It’s been wonderful. I’m really looking at this as a warm-up to my own tour and it’s such a beautiful experience seeing SZA’s crowd. They really love her as much as we do.

Now that you’re an established musician with four albums and multiple other projects under your belt, have your career goals broadened, and what are they?

I’ve never been the type to set expectations for myself and my career. I think my goal has been and will always be longevity. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I love what I do and I always want to honor that. See you guys in 30 years.