Born and raised in Philadelphia, R&B singer and songwriter Sterling Simms was heavily coached by his grandfather, a musician himself, to be a performer. He exposed Simms to classic soul artists like Sam Cooke and even helped Simms record his first song at age six. Inspired by new jack swing artists like Teddy Riley, New Edition, and Boyz II Men, Simms moved to Atlanta to pursue his singing career when he turned 14. He seized on the opportunity to work with up-and-coming producers (who were his co-workers at a car wash) when they established their own imprint and landed a deal through Sony. Due to restructuring, however, Sony eventually dropped the imprint, leaving Simms extremely frustrated. He moved back to Philadelphia, but was motivated to record again after hooking up with an old contact, '70s Philly soul auteur and producer Kenny Gamble, who offered Simms free studio access.