We sat down with Lexington, Kentucky’s breakout star, Swavé for an exclusive interview on the release of his Hour on Hour EP. Growing up in a small town provided him the motivation needed to dream big and work hard towards creating his own way of life. Although he’s experienced quite a few setbacks throughout the creation of Hour on Hour, he’s thankful for the journey because of the mental strength he was able to develop.
How do you feel that your baby is finally out in the world right now?
It’s just a real moment because we’ve been working hard making sure everything was done right, quality wise. It just feels good because of the reviews and feedback we’ve been getting from it, it’s crazy the whole city is going wild. And it’s just you know, we expect it, but we’re remaining humble and stay working. It feels good because we’ve put so much effort into it. So it’s like to get good feedback, it’s a blessing.
What was the inspiration behind Hour on Hour?
Hour on hour was really inspired by me, just the life I was living. I was working 9-5 jobs then hustling outside of those hours.
Living in a poverty-stricken area where you know a lot of drugs is moving, a lot of illegal activities is going on, it’s easy to dab into those worlds and become a product of your environment.
And I kind of shied away from it. I worked jobs and then you know used my money from that to put into music and make sure my music was just getting better. That’s where Hour on Hour came from because I would have all my schedules like super strict. Like when I get off work, I’d be going straight to the studio. Everything was accounted for, every hour on the hour was working towards my goal.
That’s amazing! I saw it took about 3 years to develop your project, can you talk about that process?
That process was a long one because when I had started doing music I didn’t know anything about the music industry, like what was the standard and what I needed to do to make sure I had the best product. And I was just trying to do it by myself. You know, you lose and then you gain when it does happen like that. To be honest, there were times when I’ll be focused and then I wasn’t focused and then I’d be focused again. Then I’m like I’m not doing what God’s path is telling me to do. Like I’m just trying to do it on my own, my own terms and not really what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s really what took so long. I also had a lot of different people telling me they can be my manager, they can sign me to a label, they can take me to this place, you know, invest in me and none of that ever worked.
I was just kind of lost for a minute and then like a year ago I just really got super, super serious and after that I wasn’t taking no for an answer.
I started learning the business, started learning how to navigate, what I’m supposed to be doing. Like I grew a lot in one year it’s crazy, my whole mindset is different and it’s a blessing. Honestly, it just worked out for the better.
That’s really important, especially because one thing I always try to tell people is that when you have a certain passion and there’s something that you’re working on, you need to understand it’s not going to happen overnight. If it does, then great. However, more than likely it won’t happen overnight but that’s okay. Just like you showed, it’s vital for you to never give up, to never give up on your dreams and just keep pushing forward. You did that and look, you’ve created a beautiful body of music.
Thank you, I really appreciate it.
I know you said you’ve grown a lot throughout this process. How would you say you’ve changed mentally throughout this journey, especially within the past year?
Mentally, I put everything in and really humbled myself. Most importantly, I learned patience. I learned that my vulnerability and flaws are okay for me to embrace those. You know it’s okay for me not to be at one level and that me not have to catch up to other people or be in the same position they in even though I know I’m just as good.
I had to learn that everybody’s path is different and that my path might not be the same, even though I felt like I should be already there. But it’s not how it works, you understand everything happens for a reason.
I look at things way differently, I’m not worried about what people are going to think or really worry about like what society is going to try to make me. I just have to be myself and just remain who I am and everything else will play its part. I had to sit down myself look in the mirror you know read more books and pray to get close to God. That made me open my mind to a whole other different level and really put my mindset in a place for me to take advantage of the gift that I have.
Is there anything, in particular inspiring you lately that you think will play a part in your future projects?
I’m just inspired by people who are chasing dreams and that you know started from nothing and try to turn into something you know. I’m seeing it happen to other people, it’s beautiful. I love when it happens to others other than myself. That inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing and make my music even better. Nobody from my hometown ever made it out to do something like this big. I’m here to put my hometown on the map like it’s a small city, and I’m trying to be the one. I feel like I’m the chosen one so I’m going to take this energy and show the true colors of what we about and show the world. I’m inspired by all of that.
I can appreciate that. So one thing I usually ask every single person I interview is if they had one message to get across to a large group of people what would it be and why?
Really going back to just staying true to yourself and believing in yourself and don’t get caught up in like society’s versions of what you should be. You know with social media and all of that where you know you think that you have to look a certain way, you have to talk a certain way, that you have to you know walk a certain way. And just being yourself is really going to take you way further because what makes us all great is that we are different. You know what I’m saying, me and you are different. But it’s a good thing because we can probably learn so much from each other and that’s how I think. That’s how the world supposed to work, you know everybody shouldn’t be the same. I don’t want to be around the people that are exactly the same, you know what I’m saying. If you’re always with people who are the same as you, nobody is really going to advance, right?
For more information on Swavé, click the links below:
The Importance of Nipsey Hussle’s Legacy and How it Can Live On
As a platform, we aim to focus on current news that is inspiring and motivating. For this, we typically stay away from celebrity death topics. But Nipsey Hussle was more than a celebrity and his passing is something we need to highlight. He embodied our goal of creating mindsets where people of color can thrive.
The Grammy-nominated artist created a journey that others from similar backgrounds could use to build a new cycle of wealth. His upbringing mirrored many people who never made it out of poverty, yet he found a way to prosper.
Hussle invested with purpose and didn’t make meaningless partnerships. He stressed the importance of accumulating continuous wealth through ownership instead of endorsements.
He advanced his community in many ways, for instance he created a co-working space and business incubator for inner-city entrepreneurs in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. His vision was to bring representation to the science, technology and mathematics industries by creating a pipeline between his neighborhood and Silicon Valley. He hired felons who couldn’t get work, invested in influential local businesses that were declining and worked toward ending gang violence.
He approached his community’s issues as if he was a parent working to break generational curses. He built infrastructure that his community could inherit and benefit from. He provided resources to catalyze growth.
He was not only working to change dreamers into doers, but aimed to build dreamers.
This type of loss can leave us angry and hopeless for change. We’ve been robbed at a time when we need every single one of our resources. He wasn’t just a beacon of hope. He was a caretaker for the disenfranchised, putting people in places to thrive and building places for people to thrive.
So for those of you who are understandably feeling sad and lost, bring his vision to life. Invest in his businesses. Build your own businesses. Be rebellious against a system that wasn’t made for us and pursue your dream. Accumulate lasting wealth to build cycles and make strategic investments. Support reverse gentrification and support businesses of color. Give back to your community and help those who need it.
Nipsey Hussle was a loved father, husband, friend, idol and more. But importantly, he was a teacher.
Water the seed he planted by moving in his vision and adding to his momentum.
10 Things I Learned From My 2019 SXSW Experience
Every year, Austin, Texas initiates spring with its diverse 10-day festival, SXSW. Thousands of people gather in the state’s capital to enjoy the experiential marketing, assorted music acts and interactive sessions that take over the city. Though I spent February planning and organizing my SXSW trip and had seen previous coverage of the event, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. My experience exceeded my expectations and equipped me with valuable knowledge and life-long memories.
Here are my main takeaways from the festival:
1. A change in routine can benefit your mental health.
Get out of your routine and do something that gets you excited about life. As someone who works remotely, I can get into the same pattern, often working from my desk-bed (various bar stools surrounding my bed topped with tea and sticky notes) and straying away from side projects or bigger goals. Having ambitious dreams can be overwhelming at times and can seem far from achievable when your routine keeps you in one place.
SXSW was quite the opposite of a routine. My mid-SXSW self laughed at my pre-SXSW self’s plan to stick to a schedule. I spent more than a week stopping by theatrical activations, going to random interactive talks and wandering into exciting music events. Though there were certain events I planned out, every day had a new dynamic and was far from repetitive. Yes, there are people who need routine to be content. But there are also people like myself who need constant inspiration and movement in order to feel centered. SXSW reminded me that letting loose and going with the flow can provide a much needed mental cleanse.
2. Networking needs a new name.
Maybe tribe building or just… like… having a conversation.
When you think of traditional networking, there can be so much pressure to say the right thing or come off qualified and polished. SXSW affirmed the fact that you don’t have to be in business casual attire at a glitzy event in order to network. You can have conversations at anytime that lead to a business connection. During SXSW, I met CEO’s who were wearing T-shirts and shorts at concerts. Most of the connections I made started with a conversation with someone I didn’t even know I needed to talk to. Queue the next thing learned…
3. There’s power in having one conversation.
The excitement of the festival fueled me to talk to every single person that I came across. Whether it was with someone I was standing next to at a concert or someone who asked a great question during a panel, I was ready to start a conversation. This came in handy during my first night of the festival when I was attending a launch party at Latitude 30, SXSW’s British Music Embassy.
I walked into the event after the first band had already begun playing. I asked two guys in front of me if they knew the band’s name and they said they didn’t know them too well but that they were about to go on next. I then asked them what type of music they play and where they were from. They then told me they were one of the artists on the label of the launch party we were at. This led to a great conversation where they eventually introduced me to various team members of the label including the CEO and founders. All of this came about simply because I started one conversation.
4. Shoot your shot.
One of SXSW’s goals is to foster networking by connecting you with industry leaders through events like meet ups, mentor sessions and round table talks. Even if you don’t attend one of these events, most of your idols are hanging around after a talk or in the crowd at a venue. From celebrities to trailblazers, you’ll most likely come across someone you’ve always dreamt of chatting with. I am here to tell you to shoot your shot. Don’t be discouraged by fame or status. The worst that can happen is your conversation gets cut short. This is a small risk when there’s the possibility of having a meaningful conversation and exchanging contact information with someone you admire.
I saw one of my favorite bands, Big Joanie, at Cheer Up Charlie’s during SXSW. After their set, I noticed them off to the side of the crowd watching the next acts. I was hesitant at first but decided to introduce myself. I told them how inspiring they were and that I wish I had their music for my younger self. We had such a great conversation and they ended up giving me their contact information and told me to reach out if I ever needed anything. I was in shock after but I was so thankful that I took that leap to approach them.
5. Successful people are legit just people.
SXSW was a week of listening to people tell their stories and share their trials and tribulations. Arlan Hamilton, founder and CEO of Backstage Capital, spoke about starting her company from her car while she was homeless. Lance Bass talked about having imposter syndrome during his NSYNC days. These talks helped me remember that my idols were once in the beginning stages of their careers too. Constantly hearing success journeys will make you realize that you are in the middle of yours.
6. A good tribe can keep you motivated.
I met people during my first day of roaming around SXSW and we instantly connected and bonded. Though we were all in different fields, we had similar views, ambitions and energies. We were interested in the same talks, liked the same music and hyped each other up when each of us had something work related to do. This experienced reminded me of the power of connecting with ambitious peers who are working toward amazing things. It’s important to be around people who have inspiring paths, support your work and motivate you to keep achieving greatness.
7. It’s important to get involved with things outside your field.
SXSW is a playground of experiences with something new to offer almost every hour. There were events that taught me about important issues, compelling topics or refreshed my interest in old subjects. It’s the perfect place to dabble in something that you wouldn’t normally incorporate into your daily life.
I met someone who informed me on the serious issue of food waste. She shared jarring statistics with me that motivated me to attend a panel on the subject. This is how you stay informed, connected and inspired. Throughout my SXSW experience, I was introduced to new issues, organizations, and businesses that I hadn’t known about.
8. Comfort isn’t everything.
I can be a perfectionist and I often need things to be organized and comfortable in order to have a good time. SXSW helped me stray away from this notion. Once you dance at concert with a tripod in your hand or attend an event alone that’s outside your field, you tend to lose the need for comfort. I had to adapt to certain situations by embracing the uncomfortable and focusing on the positives. Things don’t have to be perfect and comfortable in order to be successful.
9. Your Uber can double as a travel guide.
I had conversations with 90% of my Uber and Lyft drivers and they all gave me the local tea: where to eat, what places to avoid at certain times, nicknames for parts of the city, local issues. Rideshare drivers really know what’s up and can help you in more ways than one when navigating a new city.
10. You can actually do whatever you want.
Your dreams are attainable as long as you keep an open and determined mindset. Imposter syndrome can often creep in and convince you that you don’t have enough qualifications to make progress toward your goals. SXSW was a reminder that there are many diverse methods and outlets that people use to achieve what they want. Spending 10 days experiencing creative ideas and messages motivated me and revived my own dreams.
It is also refreshing to know that SXSW can be used as an outlet to aid your aspirations. Whether you’re going there to meet like-minded people, organize a talk or set up an activation, the festival has various opportunities for you to share your message and execute your goals. SXSW is definitely a tool that needs to be added to everyone’s professional bucket list.
HerStory: Ambitious & Fierce Celebrates Women of Color Dominating in Their Fields
We teamed up with powerful women behind AB Media Group, WeWork, Bumble Bizz, & Forbes the Culture to bring together some of Philly’s fiercest powerhouses. The event kicked off with a panel consisting of Krystle Rich (NBC Sports), Heather Qadar (La Colombe), Holta Tegu (People for People) & Yashira Rivera (WURD Radio) moderated by Ayana Iman (Authentic Convos) who spoke about breaking barriers in the workspace while being your authentic self.
Gems were dropped and our attendees were given the confidence they needed to dominate every single room they walk into. After the panel discussion was done, it was time to let the hair down and mingle with one another during our happy hour social sponsored by @hennessyus. This social was specifically created to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our fellow powerhouses during this Women’s History Month.
Check out our event recap video here:
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