SIRE • An Exclusive Interview with Former Saginaw Hip-Hop Artist & the 15-Year Old Breakout Star of Lifetime Networks ‘The Rap Game’

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature,   From Issue 875   By: Robert E Martin

21st February, 2019     0

J-Lee ‘Sire’ Haulcy is a rising Hip-Hop artist, actor, and television personality that hails from Saginaw, Michigan by way of Atlanta, Georgia.  At only 15-years of age, Sire has managed to rack up many notable accomplishments that have earned him the reputation as the ‘Yung King of Hip-Hop’.

He was the youngest emcee invited to join the UBL, as well as one of the youngest featured artists on Cypher Circuit and 16 Bars of Real Rap. He is also the breakout star of Lifetime Network’s The Rap Game, created by executive producers Queen Latifah and Jermaine Dupri.

As a spokesperson for then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Drink Up’ campaign, Sire worked with the likes of Beyonce, Doug E. Fresh and Dr. Oz, encouraging kids across the country to drink plenty of ‘Wat-aah’. An IMDB accredited actor with several film credits under his youthful belt, Sire also has worked as a professional model and is a well-accomplished motivational speaker, who recently added Youth Correspondent to his resume.

Being an emcee has always been at the heart of Sire. From a very young age he began to hone his craft freestyling, writing songs, and eventually making records. All of these accomplishments have led to his breakout moment as a contestant on season five of the Lifetime Networks his series The Rap Game, which follows six aspiring rappers, challenging them to freestyle, flow and rhyme their road to victory. In what is being called the most intense season yet, season five showcases Sire as he works with legends like Lil Jon, Killer Mike, and Will.I.Am.

Sire says his first exposure to Hip Hop & Rap was at the tender age of three, thanks to the influence of his father, noted Hip-Hop and Rap producer Tyran Haulcy (aka “SKEEM”).  “My father took a year to teach me to the business and understand the craft and the art form I was getting into,” explains Sire. “He taught me the importance of separating myself from the crowd and making my music different. But first, he wouldn’t even start working with me on the music until I learned about the culture, so I was about five years old when that happened.”

Sire says his biggest inspiration to pursue his craft and vision was the platform it gave him. “The main thing with me musically is that it gives me a platform to speak on and empowers me to get my message out,” he states. “I was always raised in a way that I was supposed to use this musical platform to project my message, which centers on societal constructs, domestic violence, anything I want to speak out about.”

Considering these are pretty heavy topics for someone so young to delve into, what types of challenges does this pose to Sire?  “It is challenging addressing these topics for young audiences because our attention span isn’t what it should be,” he reflects. “Plus these are not the types of things that kids are as interested in as they should be.  My demographic ranges from ages 13 to 41, which is real broad; and usually the parents attach to my music more.  For kids it’s a different approach and I try to center on the notion that to play the game you need to take the game.  I do music they enjoy listening to and work to earn them as fans. Once I do that, then they’ll listen to the message I’m trying to convey in the music.”

When asked what distinguishes his sound, Sire again references his age. “My age is one thing, because people are thoroughly jacked by that; but also I’m more developed than the average artist my age would be, because of my respect for the culture. You can hear the essence of everything when listening to my music and grasp my knowledge of both the music and the genre.”

Sire says working with artists like Beyonce and Will.I.Am brought him a sense of reassurance about his direction. “I was in a group at that time and they showed us the path we needed to pursue and posed the question of whether we wanted to truly pursue it or not,” he explains. “We were living on a schedule and would have a press conference and then a magazine interview, with only an hour in between; which showed all of us how demanding this life can be. It wasn’t for everybody in the group, but I decided I wanted more of this.”

Sire says working and shooting the current Lifetime series is “kind of like living in a fish bowl.” “It takes time to adjust because a lot of stuff that happens is not added into the series. Actually being at the house and the process of filming is a very educational process that is teaching me about patience and a sense of validation. While I always thought I was a good songwriter, its different when you hear other people prop up your work. The feedback is consistent. Everyone says the same words to me: ‘You’re a star’. That’s what I hear from everybody, no matter how big or small they are in the industry.”

With his considerable youthful experience, where does Sire see the future of Hip Hop & Rap music going?  “A lot of people are worried about the lack of ballads, but it gives me excitement for the simple fact there are so many different sub-genres of Hip Hop, as there are with Rock music. Everything has been a cycle in Hip Hoop and everything goes back in a circle. Eventually it will move back to more lyricism and ballads that people can kick back to.”

Seeing as you have film experience happening in tandem with your musical journey, how would you compare working in film as opposed to music?  “I prefer music,” admits Sire. “Music is my passion, but film is something I enjoy doing, plus music carries similarities to acting. If you’re not an independent artist your creativity is being directed by someone else, so you’ve got to be able to express yourself in both film and music. What I get from acting is being in touch with certain emotions and focusing how a character would express what is being said. The key to acting is to become the character and bring that character to life, which you get to decide; and with music you decide how to bring your song to life.”

You can follow Sire and support his #YungWor1d movement on IG, Twitter and FB@Sire_YD1. His motto is Peace & Love and his mission statement is UMI (Uplift, Motivate & Inspire). For further information or bookings email booking4sire@gmail.com

 

 

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