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(CBS) – He’s a music professor, a respected singer and now an author.

In honor of Black History Month, CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield says Robert Sims is someone you should know.

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He’s a very busy lyric baritone. He was born and raised on Chicago’s West Side. And for all that could have distracted him, he steadfastly clung to his ambitions.

“I always wanted to be a singer, ever since I was about five years old,” Sims says.

He ultimately became an opera singer, having studied at some of the best music schools in the world. Sims looked back at a renowned singer who didn’t have those academic advantages.

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His name: Roland Hayes. Sims co-wrote a book about him. He calls him the father of African-American concert singers.

“He didn’t have management,” Sims says. “He was inspired by his own talent and a belief that he could have an extraordinary life as an artist.”

Recently, Sims performed with the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir — what he calls an “extraordinary experience.”

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At Northern Illinois University, he is a professor and has taught music for the past 20 years.