Doc Herbalist from One West Magazine sits down with the talented artist, SirReal, for an informative interview.
Doc: How long have you been rapping? How did you start?
SirReal: I have been rapping for 12 years. I started out with a group called Sunk City with Lampoon and KD. I also used to do some things with Hoax from Parksville.
Doc: What motivated you to become a hip-hop artist?
SirReal: My brother. He thought I was awesome when I was absolute shit. He was my biggest fan and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Doc: What were some of your early musical influences?
SirReal: While growing up I spent my time listening to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and of course my moms eclectic mix of Heart, Pat Benatar, ACDC and Metallica. On my own I discovered Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Deftones, Tool, Eminem, Chali 2na and many other influences that shaped my perception of art.
Doc: Are you and independent artist or have you been signed to a label?
SirReal: Independent. I did get a distribution deal through Sunrise Records which sees my albums in 88 of their stores across Canada.
Doc: What happened to your father and brother? How did this affect you, your music, your life?
SirReal: I lost them both to suicide. It has affected my life in so many ways. My father’s death was the catalyst for me quitting drugs and putting myself back into school and foster care. I was veering back into a path of destruction when my brother took his life… I had a son and started to take music really seriously because he took my music seriously. I raised all the money for his funeral by putting on a series of hip hop shows. We come from a poor family so that was a blessing. My music has since been directed towards trying to help people. I know it’s not the popular route but that doesn’t matter to me. I need to know I have made a difference in even one person’s life.
Doc: So you’ve had issues with substance abuse? How did you overcome those obstacles?
SirReal: I did. I got into drugs with my mom at the age of 11. I did all the things. I was a criminal and an addict by 12 and am very lucky that I survived when many others didn’t. I stopped when my dad died. I still consider myself an addict but now I’m addicted to music instead. Being in the studio is my drug.
Doc: You’re a father now, how has your career affected your relationship between you and your son? What’s fatherhood like?
SirReal: My son has always taken precedence over my music career so I have never toured as extensively as one needs to in order to gain a larger following. I have done a couple of Canadian tours but nothing where I am away from him for too long. I’d miss him too much He also now performs with me on stage so I do a lot of local all ages shows with him. We have an unbreakable bond. Fatherhood is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Doc: What is the overall message you try to convey through your music?
SirReal: Connection. Feeling less alone through relation to stories. If I can do it, so can you.
Doc: What is your all time favorite song you’ve done and why do you choose this one track?
SirReal: It switches all the time but I think the song called Nick’s Song (Light shines here) is still very emotional for me and I wrote it in ten minutes. I wrote it for my brother Nick who lost his life to suicide. It still holds the record for fastest song I have ever recorded, it came from the ether.
Doc: So you have a band that plays with you. It’s a little unusual, though not unheard of, for a hip-hop artist to have a live band playing with them. How did this come about?
SirReal: I have always dreamed of playing with a band and wanted to create organically within that group to do something I had never done before. We have accomplished that with my Blue album which will be dropping in February. We created everything organically in the studio together which was wild for me. My father and brother were both musicians so its important to me to bring the live band flavour to it. I have known my guitarist for 25 years, my bass player for 10 and our drummer is the best drummer I have ever seen live. My DJ happens to be my best friend and we share the same birthday and similar stories. Its really fate that brought us all together.
Doc: How many albums have you released? How many tracks total have you put together?
SirReal: I have 7 albums out. Only 4 that I am proud of though. I probably have over 125 songs.
Doc: What are some known artists that you’ve performed with?
SirReal: Tech Nine, Bone Thugs N Harmony, I’ve also done shows with Royce Da 5”9, Classified, Most of the Wu Tang Clan and every local big rapper that you can think of, Snak, Madchild, Sonreal, Belly and more.
Doc: What is your latest album release? Are you working on anything new?
SirReal: I have been working on two new albums, the Blue Album and the Red Album. Each one is a prescribed vibe. Music is medicine, each pill on the cover represents a mood or a dosage we can take when we are feeling a certain way. We all have tracks we throw on when we are feeling like shit or those jams we put on when we just wanna rage. The Blue album is a full on live band organically created prescription for introspection. Each track telling a story and featuring relatable concepts and plotlines. The Red album is more upbeat and features a bunch of collaborations with other Canadian MC’s including up and coming fireblazers FleshxFur, Attikus, Eliza Smith, Revron, and World class violinist Kytami to name a few. All production on both album was handled by Swollen Members own Rob The Viking at The Chamber Studios.
Doc: What upcoming performances do you have?
SirReal: I have a New Year’s Eve show in my hometown but other than that I am planning my Blue Tour.
Doc: What’s next for SirReal? What does the future hold?
SirReal: Two new albums. Island and possible Canadian tour, tons of new visuals, new clothing line, brand new website, just grinding as much as I can.
Doc: What message would you like to share with your fans?
SirReal: If you struggle with shit which we all do, make connection. Whether that be through music, art, someone you can talk to or whatever it is for you. You are worth being here no matter WTF anyone says.
- Raised all of the money for his brother’s funeral by putting on hip hop shows and fundraising almost $8000.
- Won $5000 and 1st place in Battle of The Bands against 16 other bands. Placed 2nd in another battle of the bands in Nanaimo
- Was nominated for a 2019 Independent Music Award for best new song for “In The Nick of Time”
- Recently won the Sunrise Records nationwide talent contest which created distribution of SirReal’s new album in 88 Sunrise Records stores across Canada
- Won 6 Freestyle Battle competitions in Nanaimo
- Has helped raise over $25,000 for BC Childrens Hospital
- Currently 5-1 In Prewritten Acapella battles IE: KOTD
- Won 1st place in the “Can I open for Classified” contest
- Won 1st place in the “So you think you can Rap” Contest winning $1000 and a slot on the Electric Love Festival
- Has opened for and met such artists as Tech Nine 5 Times, Bone Thugs N harmony twice, I’ve also done shows with Royce Da 5”9, Classified, Most of the Wu Tang Clan and every local big rapper that you can think of, Snak, Madchild, Sonreal, Belly, the list goes on…
- He has played many festivals including Electric Love Festival Twice, Rifflandia, The 5 Acre Shaker Twice and Drop Fest.
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