Wise was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up amongst a religious family; his father owned a Christian bookstore and his mother was a choir director. Wise joined the church choir as a child and grew up with classical and gospel music as a primary influence.
When he was 11 years old his mom asked him if he wanted to audition for the Maryland State Boys Choir and he refused so she signed him up anyways and he ended up loving it. This was his introduction to classical vocal music. He realized from this experience that there was a lack of diversity in the choir and there was "not much room for the black voice."
He attended high school at Baltimore City College, which is a school for gifted and talented students and was known for their internationally competitive choir. At the age of 14, he competed in choir competitions with his school choir in Europe and won trophies. He said in an interview with Loud and Quiet, "It was all black kids, but our repertoire was predominantly classical. And that blew my mind." After this, Wise decided that he wanted to become a world-class performer and he started taking vocal lessons to become a classically trained opera singer.
He later moved to Philadelphia, where he attended the University of the Arts. Although Wise was initially interested in becoming a classical opera singer, he was rejected from conservatories he applied to.