This profile was written by Tony on behalf of Sway.
With apologies to the terrific Charlie Mullins OBE, the MOBO Award winning rapper Sway may have stolen the starring spot at #MicroBizMattersDay Jan 9th 2015.
Sway hails from Hornsey in North London. He captured the public eye in September 2005 when he was named Best Hip-Hop Act at the tenth annual MOBO awards — a surprise upset over 50 Cent and the Game — despite being unsigned and before he’d even released an album. Despite the slew of label offers that predictably followed this triumph, Sway chose to remain independent, but his proper debut album did arrive the following year. It was critically hailed, making the shortlist (of 12) for the 2006 Mercury Prize, and led to another MOBO nomination and a BET award for “Best U.K. Hip-Hop Act.”
Sway has faced many traumatic events during his life which he would write about in songs. He witnessed the untimely deaths of his business partners Tayo and Olu, cousin Derek Dodoo and close friend Kaya, all of whom died in close proximity to each other. In 2009 he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and took some time away from the music scene but continued when he came into remission.
Sway used his ability to attract some of the worlds greatest talents. He went out to talent competitions where he first came across a unique ginger haired singer song writer who he would then invite to his home and record songs with, they became friends and shortly after this period that person became known as the world-renowned Ed Sheeran.
He read and studied the music business and whilst he’d always been reluctant to sign to a record label, while rebuilding his own Dcypha Productions label, he realised he had never experienced what it was like to be a signed artist. He signed a publishing deal and “Still Speedin'” climbed the National UK charts landing Sway his first top 20 hit and the support of racing legends Lewis Hamilton and Nigel Mansell. Sway also starred in a guest role in the Channel 4 drama Top Boy. Sway’s next single “Level Up” written with Flux Pavilion during his Uni student days became Sway’s highest charting single to date landing at number 8 in the UK National charts.
Sway then returned to his original plan of building his own business with his label and curating new talent. Through his search he came across south London rapper/ singer, now Tiggs Da Author, who he took under his wing and signed to his revived Dcypha Productions label.
In July 2015 Dcypha Productions became an imprint of Island/Universal. Throughout the years of building his own business, with his longstanding team, Sway has continued to perform across Europe, North & South America, the Middle East and Africa alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Example, Mark Ronson, The Streets and Public Enemy. His vast array of collaborations go from acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, Nicky Romero and Madness.
Sway remained independent in 2015 for the release of his long awaited “Deliverance” album. He wanted to keep the album away from “the machine” so it could serve its true purpose as a platform for a new chapter in Sway’s career.
Why I’m Supporting #MicroBizMattersDay
You can listen to why in his interview with Tony on the first #MicroBizMattersDay on January 8th 2015. Above all, Sway is a creative talent and business owner and the ability to control his own destiny and career and tell his own story is essential. As he says about ‘Deliverance’, the album:
“For me this album is about telling a story, about introducing new people, going from tragedies’ to triumphs and allowing myself to learn from mistakes and utilize my experiences to empower others, it’s a project I hope will connect with the right people over a long period of time…” Many people like Tina and Tony feel like this about their own businesses.