What is your name and role within Sir The Baptist?
My name is William James Stokes aka Sir the Baptist. I am the artist, singer, songwriter, producer and more.
How did you start?
I started writing music in church growing up when I was very young. It started with little kids songs, but quickly progressed to more serious songwriting for other singers and rappers. I then worked for Leo Burnett, the world’ largest ad agency, at 18/19 doing jingles and digital marketing.
Where are you based?
I am from Bronzeville, an amazing neighborhood in Chicago, IL. Bronzeville is the gateway to jazz heaven, where Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and more moved after the Great Migration from the south to Chicago. Currently, I live everywhere since I’m always on the road touring.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
Since I produce and write all of my music, the process is always different. Sometimes I hear a melody walking down the street and it turns into an idea. Sometimes I watch the news or read a poem and it sparks an idea. The process is different everytime. But I always try to bring in my musicians that I work with to bring a level or musicality to the sound.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am writing songs for a lot of other artists – Brandy, Tori Kelly, Jordan Mitchell and more. I’m also starting to work on my next project already and generating ideas for the project.
What is your gear setup?
My gear/band setup for live shows is me with my drummer (Desmond Davis), bassist (Rob Woolridge) and keyboardist (Marshon Lewis). These are my guys for live shows and recording in studio.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I’m kind of boring outside of music since I’m always working. But I love spending time with my kids. I also like golfing at Top Golf (driving range). These pieces give me peace to be able to work and deal with the pressure of the music industry.
How would you describe your music genre?
Too many genres to name! ha The music is a mix of hip hop, gospel, pop, R&B and more. I really see myself as a preacher. A Hip Hop Chaplain more than anything.
Do you know any music theory?
Yes, I studied music growing up and know music theory. But usually when songwriting it is based on the feeling and gut of what is right for the song.
What are your plans for the future?
I’ll be touring the rest of 2017 doing festivals and club dates. This will include my first Europe tour in July/August 2017. You can also expect a new music video very soon!
How did you get into music?
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to mostly older music, but for current stuff I really like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Brandy and a few others.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
I would say that my top 5 influences include Steve Jobs, Louie Armstrong, Ray Charles, CS Lewis & President Obama.
When are you playing next?
My next show is next Friday at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE.
Please feel free to include any extra info.
Thank you so much for your support! It means more than you know.