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June 2010 June 2010

VON

SWAY

Are You Ready... A New Sound in

R&B


(Vol.1 - No. 5)

No part of “Interview witth Dana” may be reproduced in any form by any means without prior written consent from Dana Da Designated Hata®. For permission or interview requests, please contact management@dadesignatedhata.com

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Artist Spotlight

Are You Ready...? VON

SWAY

One of the newest R&B singers “knocking at your muther fucking door” goes by the name of “Von Sway”. He carries himself as a gentleman that’s all suave and debonair, but trust me when I tell you that that all changes at the drop of a dime once he gets a mic in his hands. Von’s been featured on BET for the “New Joint of the Day” and he’s even won the “Wild Out Wednesday” All Star Competition. I’ve listened to Von getting in at the studio, watched him put in work during dance rehearsal, and he’s even earned the respect of having a few of his songs placed on repeat in my Ipod. Von Sway sat down with Da Hata to discuss what he’s bringing to the table, and why he’s what you’ve all been waiting for.

Nobody’s Fan ®

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D: How were you introduced to the art of singing?

Personal Stats Home Town: Brooklyn, East New York Age: 23 Shoe Size: 11 Favorite Snack: Fried Chicken Musical Influences: Music is my musical influence Sports: Football, but I play everything Favorite Movie: The Last Dragon Label: Brothers & Sisters Entertainment, Independent

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VS: I would have to say by my mother because I grew up in church. My grandfather was a pastor, so she was in the choir and one of the lead singers. I would always admire my mother singing up there, and one day she pulled me up there to sing a solo. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I know that I was very very young. I sang “This Little Light of Mine” and I touched a lot of people. From that day on I knew that this is what I blessed and meant to do. D: What music did your parents jam to that made you want to sing or perform? VS: It’s funny because my Moms always had… I don’t know if you remember the collection albums of all the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s music, but she just had a variety of old school music. Every Saturday she would thoroughly clean the house and just blast all of those songs all day long and I would just be sitting there jamming with her.


D: Why did you decide to become a solo artist and not work with a group? VS: Well I want to keep it real. I’m very stubborn when it comes to certain things, and to put myself in a situation of working in a group -- it would probably never work. Not saying that I’m the best or anything like that. It’s just that I’m very very very creative and sometimes being around certain people in a group per say that’s not as creative, or don’t usually see things in a creative way… it kind of feels like it holds you back. I’m the type of person that’s always evolving into something new and I just didn’t want anything to hold me back. D: What videos did you watch back in the day and pretend to sing while looking in the mirror? VS: Laughs…My favorite video, because I mean I followed this dude, Ginuwine’s “Pony”. That song right there helped me win a whole bunch of talent shows by just mimicking the video with all the winding moves and all that other stuff. That’s one of my all time videos right there, and it really helped me to become the smooth character that I am. D: Who were your musical influences? VS: This is a tricky question for me. I’d say that music is my musical influence. Everyone who ever did music has influenced me. Whether it was good or bad. Something’s influenced me not to do it that way, and some artists influenced me to do it similar to them, you know. But if you want to get deep as far as artists, all the old artists like Prince, of course Michael Jackson, and just everybody from back in the days. I love that kind of music because that’s where everything originated. D: How would you summarize a session in the studio? VS: Aw man… its life. It’s like going to the studio… I feel like it brings me life. It’s like if someone is in love real real deeply and they lose that love, that’s what it feels when I’m out of the studio.

Nobody’s Fan ®

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D: I know what rappers spit in a cypher session. As an R&B artist have you experienced your own version of a cypher session? VS: Nah, I haven’t had the pleasure. It’s usually just me or my engineer, my producer, or other people. It’s not really a group thing when it comes down to me. D: If you could choose anybody to sing with as a collaborative effort, who would you like to sing with? VS: For the younger generation I would definitely have to say Melanie Fiona, Ne-Yo of course, and actually Mario. I really like Mario’s voice and I like the passion he puts into his music. I’d have to say those three. D: If you could go old school, who would you choose? VS: Aw man, of course God bless his soul Michael Jackson. The presence he has on a track is ridiculously crazy. I would have to say Luther Vandross and maybe even Stevie Wonder. D: I know that you’ve been out there grinding and doing lots of shows. Who are some of the people that you’ve opened for? VS: I’ve opened up for Wyclef Jean, Whodini, UTFO, Melanie Fiona, Electrik Red, just a bunch of people. I’ve done a lot of opening things. D: You’ve certainly been getting around. Soon somebody’s going to be opening up for you, ya know. VS: Yeah, I’m not letting anybody close my door right now.

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D: Both of your singles “Are You Ready” and “Here I Am” are making a lot of noise. As a native of New York what was it like the first time you heard your song on the radio? VS: It was a blessing. Actually the first song that was ever played was on my album called “So Stupid”, and I wasn’t actually by the radio. Somebody called me and was like, “Yo turn to Power 105”, and I’m like alright. And it didn’t really hit me right then. I was like “what’s this?”…I’m like “oh…yeah, that’s me”...laughing D: Really? VS: Yes, it was very shocking blessful moment. It felt very good. It felt like I’m actually doing what I’m suppose to be doing. D: The video for “Here I Am” actually debuted as the “New Joint of the Day” on BETs 106 & Park. How did it feel to be featured on this nationally recognized television show and being a contender on the Top Ten Countdown? VS: Well I was actually eating dinner and chilling with a couple people and whatever like that, and once they said the “New Joint of the Day” everybody just started screaming. I just stood still. I wasn’t really amazed because I’ve been on BET before with “Wild Out Wednesday”. I won the competition, and the All Star Competition and all that, so I’ve actually seen myself on BET before. But when the video played it was like… “you hear me knocking, time to let me on in now”. D: How did that wind up happening? VS: Well besides me being on “Wild Out Wednesday”, there’s this guy up at BET named Gideon Moncrieffe and he co-directed the “Here I Am” video, because he liked my stuff so much and whatever like that. So he actually was like, “You know what? I like you guys”, talking about my whole camp and everything. He was like, “I’m gonna work it out”. Then I got Alastair “Gee Lock” Christopher to direct it. They teamed up and it was just amazing that it came out good enough for BET, and it was just history from there. D: A little birdie told me that you hurt yourself last week while practicing. VS: Aw…laughing.


D: I heard you be putting it in real hard body on your stage performances. What makes you want to work so hard behind the scenes before you actually go out on stage? VS: Well first of all my team won’t let me do different. Even if I wanted to they wouldn’t let me do different. They are on my back training and molding me to be the best that I can be for one. But I was once told that wherever you go, you either give your best or you get your butt kicked and I’m very very competitive. Whether we’re friends, family, or whatever like that… we can stay friends or family, but know that when I get on that stage you either bring it all or you’re gonna get your butt kicked. D: You seem to have a really strong team behind you. Do you want to tell me a little bit about them? VS: Oh yeah, well we’ve got C. Roc who’s one of the producers on the label as well as myself. Re-Re Browne that’s my manager. Khaliq he’s a very very good vocal coach and producer as well, and then we’ve got my DJ, Mr. Famous. D: Tell me a little about Brothers and Sisters Entertainment. VS: The main B.S.E., like the beginnings of it comes from C. Rock and Khaliq. They’ve been doing tracks for a lot of people and have worked on albums with Tyrese, Ruff Endz, and Patti LaBelle… some of the great ones you know what I mean. So just being underneath that and that movement that they’re making… I just had to make it happen. I’m basically the key to the door that they’ve been knocking at for the whole while now. And everything is right now, and I’m just gonna go knocking down doors now. D: You’re young, you’re sexy, and you’ve got talent. Would you say that you’re the answer to Trey Songz right now? VS: Laughing… you mean the answer or the problem? Which one?

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D: Um, I’ll take the problem. Are you the problem to Trey Songz? VS: Um hmm. I mean shout out to Tre… I mean whatever. But what I do, and what I am, I feel like I am music. I do this. I produced and wrote say 75-80% of my whole album. So everything that you’re hearing is just raw passion and determination to get my message across of how much I love what I do. Not to knock anything that he’s done because the stuff is good, but he has the big new producers, the big named writers, and all that other stuff. I don’t have that nor do I need it. Not saying that I wouldn’t appreciate it, but I don’t need that because what I’m doing is real. D: You know how guys always want to act all tough like they don’t like R&B music; which is the furthest thing from the truth. Do you think that your music represents guys well for this genre of music? VS: Oh yeah. On my album you get everything. You get the Hip-Hop, the romantic love songs, the Pop, and a little Rock. So whatever you’re into you can get from my album. It’s not just a one track thing… so definitely. I even have tracks on there that the thuggest dudes can rock to. I also have the softer ones that dudes can play around their girl, and make they girl want to love them even more. D: I’m sure that the ladies must be coming at you left and right. Do you consider yourself to be a bit of a romantic when it comes to the women? VS: Oh yeah, I treat my women like I treat my music…laughing. D: If we were to actually go out on a date together. What would you do to make the moment special? VS: Well I would have to use what I’ve got. So first of course I feel like flowers are always a beautiful thing if that’s what you’re into. Definitely have a live environment, take you out to a restaurant, have a piano there to actually sing to you in front of everybody. Not enough to make you embarrassed but enough to make you feel like damn he really ain’t just do that…make you feel sweet. D: Sounds like fun. VS: Laughing. Nobody’s Fan ®

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D: Now, I’m gonna take it back. Your publicist told me that you’ve got a song called “I Gotta Man” featuring Chubb Rock (which I didn’t get to hear). He’s mad old school. How did you two manage to hook up to do a track together? VS: Well first off my Godfather is Doc Ice from UTFO, and Doc Ice and Chubb Rock go way back and they’ve done plenty of shows and everything so that was one of the connections. Also my manger Re-Re Browne is actually friends with Chubb Rock, and he heard the project we was working on or whatever and he was like, “Yo I got to do a track with this young boy”, because that’s what he calls me “young boy”. So he hollered at us with the track or whatever like that. He blessed us with his verse and I just came back at it with my verses, and it was just a masterpiece. Like the best of the old and the best of the new. D: So you’re doing a lot of your beats in house with Brothers & Sisters Entertainment? VS: Oh yeah, definitely doing some production and B.S.E. D: When you’re in the production phase do you just say, “I like this, I don’t like that, change this”? VS: Oh no, no, no. I actually play any instrument. I arrange music. I write music. I’m very musically inclined. D: Are you self-taught or did you go to school for it? VS: You know what’s crazy is that I actually failed music in High School. I was the type that just wanted to learn it. You know in school they try to teach you the history about Mozart and Beethoven and all that; which is cool don’t get me wrong. But I was just so creative and I would just see the piano sitting there and I’d see the trumpet and the saxophone and the guitar and stuff. I was like please let me just touch it, let me just play it, let me just play it. So it was to the point that I became so frustrated that I would cut music which was my last period and go home and play what I had in my house. I would listen to the radio and mimic everything on the guitar and on the piano. I was just blessed to have that talent and I just used it to the best of my ability. I taught myself, I couldn’t wait on people.

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D: I just heard your mixtape remix of Rhianna’s “Rude Boy”. VS. Oh you heard that…laughing. D: That’s kind of ironic that you failed it in school but I guess that was because you wanted more, and you cut out the middle man. VS: Laughing… yeah. Oh, yeah. D: Yeah, I heard it. I like it. I like it. What made you decide to do that? VS: Well I feel like Rhianna is a very very relevant artist right now and good at what she does and she’s needed. I just felt that since I can’t actually get her in the studio with me now… I might as well just bless the track as much as I can with her on it. D: Well it sounds like you were in the studio together. I like the way the collaboration came out. She’d be a fool not to be happy with it. VS. Laughing… thank you. D: Now that people in and out of the music industry are starting to pay more attention to you, have you noticed people acting funny towards you because of your success? VS: You know I get the “I hope you don’t change” or “you look like your going to change soon” because the video is playing this, that, or the other. I think it’s more so of people expecting me to change so they change, because I’m gonna be who I am regardless of how much money or fame I got. I was taught that all that stuff can be taken away from you at any given second of your life. So why sit there and treat it like you can risk something like that. I feel like I’m one of the most humblest (if that’s a word) people in the world. I’m very down to earth, no matter what’s going on. I’m just doing what I’m doing because I love to do it. Not to look down on anybody or to make anybody feel bad or whatever. D: You think you got some haters out there? VS. Oh of course. I wouldn’t be who I am or I wouldn’t have gotten as much success as I have already if there wasn’t for haters. That’s why I thought it was kind of funny when you brought up Tremaine (Tre Songz). Nobody’s Fan ®

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D: Laughing… people can listen to the V-Mix of “Neighbors Kno Von Sway” for more on that…laughing. D: What can I expect from Von Sway in the future? VS: Well besides more good music. You can expect the unexpected. Like nobody is going to think what happened just happened as far as the name Von Sway, and the bells that it will ring. The fact that I’m making history on my own and the whole B.S.E. crew. It’s very very hard to break in New York, and just the buzz that I have already is just amazing. So I’m going to be looked at, and I don’t like to say I think I’m gonna be or whatever. I’m telling you now that I’m gonna be looked as one of the greatest to have done it one day. So when the next Designated Hata is asking who inspires them, my name will be apart of that. D: I understand that you’re working with the Sniper Squad DJ’s as one of their artists right now. VS: Oh yeah, yeah definitely. D: Having the support of all those DJ’s behind you is pretty big right there. VS: Word. Shout out to every DJ that ever played my song. DJ’s show me so much love and I just love it. I don’t know whether they can see my heart or whatever’s going on in my head, but they just take it and make it a part of them. They let everybody hear it, and I just thank every DJ for that! D: I don’t know if you have a stylist but seem to be a pretty fashionable guy. Any plans for the future outside of the music world? VS: Oh definitely, definitely. You know that’s actually how the name Von Sway was created. I was starting a clothing line and dedicating it to my brother Lavon, so I was naming it “Vonsway”, like his way, and everybody kept pronouncing it Von Sway. So when people that I knew saw me they would call me Von Sway and it just kind of stuck.

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D: I was wondering were your name came from. I was like is his name Von and then he added on the Sway. VS: Laughing… that’s what a lot of people think but it definitely has a deeper meaning than that. But yeah, I’m definitely getting into the fashion and the acting thing. In all aspects of being an entertainer you will definitely see me. D: Are there any destinations overseas that you want to hit up first? VS: I would love to hit up Germany and Australia first before I hit up anywhere else because they show me so much love over there. I’m actually getting played in Germany on the radio and I’ve been in the top charts over there. It’s so so amazing. I’ve never been and I’ve got to get over there. D: Do you have a message that you want to pass on to any haters? VS: Just keep doing what ya’ll doing, and let me do what I do. You can Google me to keep track of what I’m doing so you can talk about it. 10 Questions 1. Boxers or Briefs: Boxer Briefs not the skinny dippers 2. McDonalds or Burger King: Burger King

6. Voyeur or Exhibitionist: Exhibitionist 7. Take Out or a Home Cooked Meal Home Cooked Meal

3. Do you prefer if they swallow or spit: Swallow

8. Do you like her in Heels or Sneakers: Heels until her feet hurt and then she can put on sneakers

4. Martial Arts or Boxing: Martial Arts

9. Brazilian or Jungle: Jungle

5. Auto Tunes or Oh Natural: Oh Natural

10. Trojans or Magnums Magnums

For more on Von Sway check out: Brothers and Sisters Entertainment, LLC http://www.officialbse.com MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vonswayonline Nobody’s Fan ®

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