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Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF | AFTRA

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop Alternative




"Q+A with Swayyvo"

Swayyvo is a Chattanooga-based artist doing everything from producing 90s-inspired hip-hop, peeling out smooth R&B on the saxophone, and working with major brands like the NBA, NFL + Nickelodeon. In other words, nobody puts Swayyvo in a corner.

We talked with Swayyvo about his new album “Sounds in My Own Words,” the Chattanooga music scene, and his history with the sax. Keep reading to find out his dream lineup for a Chatt music festival.

What do you do for fun in Chattanooga?

It’s kind of embarrassing, but I just make beats in my downtime. I’m just still making music and creating content still, you know. I’m becoming more and more of a family man. I just had a birthday, so the older I get, the more I value spending time with like, my family and my kids and stuff like that.

Have you been able to make it around the music scene here at all?

Isaiah, you know, he just dropped “The House Is Burning Deluxe.” He got Juicy J and Project Pat on one song, so I’m just like, I’m lit about it, so I’ve been bumping that super heavy.

It’s a big month for Chattanooga music.

It’s huge, bro! I love the trajectory that I’m seeing that the Chattanooga hip-hop scene is going. And, I mean, the arts in general is booming in Chatt right now. You know, this has always just been harder for hip-hop. We get denied venues and get denied certain types of press, collaborating with certain businesses, we get denied. So being in hip-hop in Chattanooga has been difficult over the years for a lot of us, but it’s just opening up right now.

So you think it’s going to be a big 2022?

Yeah, I think we’ll have a lot more artists in the mainstream, such as Isaiah has done it. I feel like over time, you know, faster and faster, we’ll start seeing more and more Chattanooga artists in the spotlight and getting our sound out there because Chattanooga does have a sound.

Could you describe that sound for me at all?

There’s a few different sounds in Chatt. Chatt doesn’t really have two artists that sound alike. We have rappers that don’t sound like anybody else in the industry, it’s like our own niche. You can tell it’s bubbling up, turning into something. But the most consistent sound out of Chattanooga that’s actually gaining the spotlight is very … It’s more musical. We have churches on every street in Chattanooga. So those musicians are starting to collaborate more with the artists in Chattanooga.

I hop on trap beats every once in a while, but for the most part, I like real musicianship in my music, so you can just kind of feel this Southern — it’s like Memphis drums, the Memphis bounce with musicianship. That’s my best representation of what the Chattanooga sound is like.


You’ve worked with some pretty serious brands, but you still identify very much as a local artist. What is it that’s kept you in Chattanooga and kept Chattanooga in your identity?

Oh, I love this question. Most people who are starting to see [national] success, they move out of Chattanooga to somewhere bigger. Me, I still believe you can still grow up and out of Chatt. (He made a blooming gesture with his hands.) Chattanooga doesn’t have enough people to blow up an artist. There’s just not enough people here. But I still believe in doing community work, being involved in your community. I could still be one of the first artists to grow up and out of the city, and I feel like I’m doing a decent job thus far.

Chattanooga has been very supportive of me. So I feel like we need to see an artist in Chattanooga really work hard and see national success off of what they’re doing.

You’ve mentioned how gospel songs are some of the first songs you learned on the saxophone. Do you see a line between the stuff you first started working on and “Sounds in My Own Words”?

Yes! My saxophone-playing style comes from church. It’s not your typical saxophone-playing style. I didn’t take a jazz approach on none of the songs. The phrasing was all gospel R&B. The notes I played, I guess, the tastefulness of the melody lines come from R&B and church. It’s very linear. I come from that, so I can’t help it. I’m not the most technical saxophone player. I’m no, you know, Kenny G. or anything like that. But I’m still a musician. I’m young, doing it, there aren’t many of us, so I felt like it was needed.

Why now?

Here’s the thing, people like to put people in boxes. So I had been hearing conversations where people were saying, “Oh, Swayyvo is only doing well because he plays the saxophone.” And usually I’m able to block out what people say, but that kind of rubs me the wrong way. I’d like to believe no matter what I put my mind to, whatever area, if I put my mind to it, if I want to be successful in it, if I put the time into it, then I can do it. So I didn’t stop playing the saxophone, but I stopped promoting it for a while. I’m like, they’re finna get these bars. They finna get these raps for a while.

I started rapping, and I started getting the notoriety and the respect for it. “OK, he’s a real MC, he really has stage presence, he really is a good writer, he’s a really good songwriter. I get Swayyvo a little bit more now. Maybe it’s not just the saxophone.” Since I was able to get that respect, it’s like, OK, now I’ll give them the saxophone project, but I’ll do it my own way. I still gave them these hooks, these choruses, that singalong kind of rappy, hip-hop-ish. But then in the verses, I gave them saxophone.

So this project isn’t just a saxophone record, it’s you bringing-

Everything. This is bringing the idea of Swayyvo together. I’ve always had a problem marketing Swayyvo, like it’s so broad. I never really knew how to make it a thing that I could put on a shelf and sell. But now with “Sounds in My Own Words,” it’s like, I’m on stage, I’m able to rap and go into one of the songs in “Sounds in My Own Words,” and it still sounds like rap. And then I pull out the sax, and it just makes the vision so much more clear.

If you were to put together a music festival around here, what are your headliners? What’s your roster like?

Oh, that’s really difficult. That’s really difficult. So I would have to say Isaiah obviously would headline, me and Tut are on the bill … I would probably lump the House, give them like a 45-hour-long set so they can alternate, you know. Then I would also throw Tez D. Da Runninman on there — he’s a favorite of mine. Does it have to be hip-hop?

No, anyone.

So Behold the Brave are so fire. I saw them live for the first time at Valley Vibes, and they blew me away. I had never seen a Chattanooga band so clean — they were just clean. Everybody hit together. It was super impressive. So Behold the Brave, BbyMutha, Swerzie, Blu Rollxn, Slatt Zy-

You’ve got quite the Rolodex.

I’m very in tune with what’s going on. I don’t think there’s anything that just gets by me, like, if somebody’s moving and shaking, I know the situation. I know them personally, professionally, ‘cause as soon as I hear about somebody, I go and get them like, “Hey, you’re dope, you’re dope, how can we work?” You know, I’m that guy for sure.

Have you reached out to Behold the Brave yet?

I plan on it. I just don’t know what to do with them yet because our styles are so different. But I definitely have a plan to get in touch with them. I just got to figure out if we’re gonna do a show together or like, a song. I’m not really sure what to do, you know?

As an aside, we can totally feel free to use this newsletter to reach out.


It’s been such a great conversation. I’d love to know where we can catch what’s coming down the pipeline.

I have this song called “Never Lose” that got put in the game [NBA 2K22.] I just think that’s the dopest thing. I have a couple songs dropping in December and a project in January, so I’m just gonna keep it moving.

What platforms are you on?

Every platform. We gotta keep it coming. - NoogaToday


Chattanooga rapper, songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist Swayyvo continues to prove to the one of the most widely-talented and versatile artists in Tennessee and has been consistent with his musical output and the development of his sound for several years now. His skills as a rapper, singer, saxophonist, and producer shine through yet again on his latest project SOUNDS IN MY OWN WORDS which features a variety of fellow Chattanooga-homegrown talent in a city that has been a stronghold in underground music for the better part of the last decade, but even with the other prowess around him, Swayyvo has continually proven to be indispensable for the bevy of sounds he can cultivate. I really enjoyed his instrumental interlude with Toronto producer Junia-T who has many memorable collaborations with Chattanooga artists at this point. Swayyvo brings the project to a close with the melancholic track “BACK TO ME” that shows off his harmonic and velvety saxophone playing that truly reinforces his multi-faceted talents. - Lyrical Lemonade

"Chattanooga musician Swayyvo releases solo album"

Oct. 31—Over the past decade or so, Jerod "Swayyvo" Morton has become a well-known figure in Chattanooga thanks to his distinctive dreadlocks, easy-going nature and smooth sound on the saxophone.

Whether he is performing with members of The Flock, a collective of talented local musicians, or as a solo artist performing in local venues or busking on downtown sidewalks, he tends to make an impression on all who hear and meet him.

Having his music used in an NBA.com video for LeBron James' return to Cleveland in 2018 helped raise his profile, as did being featured in ads on TV for Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union.

Swayyvo has released his first solo instrumental album, "Sounds in My Own Words," and will debut it on Thursday at Wanderlinger Brewing Co. The work is a collection of originals featuring a number of guest artists.

"It's my very first instrumental project," he said. "People have been wondering why I haven't done it before, but I wanted to do it in my own way. I don't want to be compared to anyone else.

"I'm not as technical as some and I use the saxophone as an accent or a rhythm instrument. I don't lead with the saxophone. It's just something I do."

Swayyvo has collaborated with numerous local artists such as Johnny Balik and written and recorded his own original hip-hop songs. His two previous albums, "Riverside Drive" and "Trunk Therapy," represented the diversity of his musical talents and interests. "Sounds in My Own Words" is more focused and personal, he said.

Joining him on the project are people like Ryan Long, Josh McCausland, J White, Brian Clay, Taylor Freeman and Canadian rapper and Jessie Reyez collaborator Junia T.

Swayyvo produced or co-produced about half of the eight tracks.

"It's always a pleasure working with Swayyvo," McCausland said. "He's such a professional in every project he does, plus his passion is pretty much unmatched. He's a real inspiration as an artist to me, and I was honored he wanted me to be a part of the release."

Swayyvo said he was going for a hip-hop sound using trap drums and lots of different solos on piano, guitar and, of course, sax. Some of the songs also include some choruses that Swayyvo said are there so "people can sing along." - Chattanooga Times Free Press

"Making It Big: Swayyvo's Take On How Local Musicians And Businesses Can Collaborate"

For any emerging musical artist finding that big break where they really start to shine is difficult. There’s a lot that can hold people back from reaching even local stardom, regardless of how talented the artist is. With enough dedication and effort though, anyone can make a name for themselves. One local artist who has truly managed to do so is Swayyvo. He started out as just a kid playing saxophone in middle school, but by continuing to practice and hone his skills as a writer, saxophonist, and hip-hop artist, he has become one of the cities biggest rising stars. Now he is practically a household name, doing commercials for local businesses when he isn’t jamming at shows across town.

So how did Swayyvo land deals like becoming the face of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) and getting his songs played by the NBA? When we asked Swayyvo about working with local businesses and larger companies he said that a big asset to him was the fact that he is so versatile. If he had come across only as a hip-hop artist he thinks that would have made it more difficult. Being able to show that he had a myriad of skills made him more desirable to businesses. He also told us that he never approached businesses asking for their help. Swayyvo always presented himself instead as a partner and someone who could help their business. Showing confidence and establishing that he and the business partnering would be mutually beneficial helped immensely in getting attention. Swayyvo says that doing stuff like this is by no means difficult and that local musicians can easily find businesses and groups in Chattanooga willing to work with them.

“Just reaching out and coming up with creative ways to partner and help each other goes a long way,” Swayyvo said when we asked him for what tips he would give for emerging artists looking for business partnerships. “Businesses are much more willing than you may think. Doesn’t hurt to try.”

Swayyvo assured us that he has a lot of new content on the way. He has been working with more local businesses and tons of local musical artists. More music will be dropping soon and he has a few special projects on the way that you are not going to want to miss! Make sure to go follow him on Instagram with the handle @swayyvo so you can stay up to date on everything he does! - Scenic Trend

"RED – [Swayyvo]"

Chattanooga, Tennessee artist Swayyvo is back in our pages today with an exciting new single titled “RED” where Swayy trades in his usual nonchalant or emotional flow for a more upbeat and reckless track where the multi-talented instrumentalist skates over a bubbly and sanguine beat that keeps things light from start to finish. Swayyvo’s confidence was off the charts on this newest song and he simultaneously shows off his versatile vocals that turn land perfectly over the instrumental and keep things exciting as well as his calculated braggadociousness that suits him and his impassioned delivery on this song. I can’t wait to hear more from Swayyvo this year and look forward to hearing another project from the Tennessee artist after very much enjoying his last effort Trunk Therapy in 2019. - Lyrical Lemonade


Armed with his trusty saxophone, piano, a pen and pad, Chattanooga, TN-born-and-raised musician/multi-instrumentalist Swayyvo makes his grand entrance for the first time at the DopeHouse.
Inspired by revolutionary artists like Kendrick Lamar, The Roots, Eric B & Rakim, Earth Wind & Fire and John Coltrane, Swayyvo picked up and fell in love with the saxophone while attending Tyner Middle School at the age of 11 before eventually educating himself in the art of production and engineering.
Aside from being recognized as one of the most prominently known sax players at “just about every Baptist church in Chattanooga,” Swayyvo has also had his hands in another well known Chattanooga artist’s project: TUT, providing his trademark saxophone skills on “Living on the Sun” (off TUT’s 2015 Preacher’s Son mixtape).
According to a Noisey profile on TUT, Swayyvo is a fitting component of TUT’s live backing band, The House Band—and at one point, either lived in, or was a part of a rotating group of musicians who would migrate in and out of TUT’s house.
Trailing ahead of his 2016 Cornucopia EP, Swayyvo enlists the assistance of fellow Chattanooga rapper Floami Fly, who adds her entrancing bars, complimenting Swayyvo’s fascinating commentary on millennials’ “crabs-in-a-bucket mentality” on his latest self-produced single “They Don’t Like It.” - 2dopeboyz


Chattanooga represent!
Ever since Isaiah Rashad put the city on the map, acts like YGTUT and Swayyvo have kept the name ringing with various drops throughout the years.
Now, with TUT fresh off the release of his I.O.U. EP and Swayyvo putting in work on his Trunk Therapy EP (out next month), the duo connect for a new song called “Bout Dat,” produced by J White—who also calls Chattanooga home, of course. Check it out below. - 2DopeBoyz

"By Way of Chattanooga, Rising Rapper Swayyvo Releases his New Single, “Change”"

On the surface, Chattanooga might be a town you’ve never heard of, & one that you may not give much creedance to. In reality though, it’s a town you owe many thanks to. Not only is it the birthplace of Usher & Isaiah Rashad, but it also probably most importantly gave us Samuel L. Jackson. Looking to add to the lineage of success, native Swayyvo checks in with the Mag for the first time with his new single, “Change.”
Combining stout lyricism, a knack for catch cadences and an ability to paint a dissectible picture, Swayyvo absolutely slides over the J. White production. While the energy is high, the content is strong enough to keep you interested between hooks. If he can build off of the qualities shown in this track, the ball will be in his court. - Respect Mag

"Off Rip – [Swayyvo] ft. [Project Pat]"

Chattanooga artist Swayyvo is one of the most multi-talented musicians in the Southeast and his skills as a rapper, producer, and saxophonist have earned him impressive accolades, and many regarded his previous album Trunk Therapy as one of the best projects to emerge from Tennessee in 2019. Swayyvo recently earned credits on several Earth Gang records for his saxophone playing, but on his newest track “Off-Rip” he takes a much more menacing turn than he has previously shown. This track features Memphis legend Project Pat and he slides in perfectly alongside Sway and delivers a grimy but lavish verse to complement Swayyvo’s wild delivery. Tiggi supplied this track’s upbeat and addicting percussion and he continues to show that he is simultaneously one of the most skilled and versatile producers out. - Lyrical Lemonade

"Sax In The City"

Local musician mixes saxophone into rap

I first heard Swayyvo at STIR’s Sunday brunch and his skills on the sax elevated my slow-moving mentality more than my biscuits and gravy. As refreshing and intoxicating as my day drink, Swayyvo on the saxophone was an unexpected audible pleasure.

Often when I see solo artists, it is a guitarist with a harmonica or a drummer rocking out by themselves but it is rare, for me anyways, to have the pleasure to hear a talented artist in the spotlight killing it on the saxophone.

“I played saxophone since the eight grade at Tyner Academy,” said Swayyvo Morton who simply goes by Swayyvo, “I have never been classically trained on saxophone and I still can’t read music to this day but I gained improvisational skills from playing at Rock Island Baptist Church every Sunday since I was a teen.”

His goals for the new year include learning to play the bass and collaborating with as many major artists as possible. “I want to throw more shows as well as produce music for more artists and TV shows,” he said, “I just want to double what I did in 2019!”

Having already worked with THE FLOCK, Elijah Dax, Johnny Balik, LRNZ, Phil Mcclain, Johnny Smathers, Maria Jordan, Negtetanana-a, Jared White the producer and Dalton Davis, he is working on some big things right now with YGUT, Michael Da Vinci, Cinematic, Carl Cadwell and Blu Rollin.

Able to play the piano, Swayyvo is a triple threat as he can also produce and rap. His versatility in songs range from head-nodding, concise choppy (in a good way) rap to steady suave sax. “I have always had good mentors like Frank Bumpass and Alfred Barnes,” he said and some of his influences range from John Coltrane and Boney James to Tupac and Kendrick Lamar.

His song “It’s Written” is dedicated to his roommate and friend Taedoe who “was a really genuine person but lived a lifestyle that brought a lot of danger.” Taedoe was shot and killed. Swayyvo explains how the song is about a conversation they had before he moved out. “I still have regrets about my lack of words during that conversation.”

Like many lyricists before him, Swayyvo tried to provide some closure and said everything he didn’t that night in his multifaceted mix.

I was surprised to hear how such a smooth sound like saxophone could be mixed into a fast-paced rap song but Swayyvo does it. He has the talent to exude these different energies to where I never would have thought the guy in the dinosaur Christmas sweater jamming at The Moxy was the same guy in the “Drill” video.

But with Eric Cromertie and Kendra Simons collaborating with him on ideas for branding, there is no telling what Swayyvo will conjure up next.

“Trunk Therapy” is a slower jam with piano and sax and is the lead track of his same named album that came out this past April. Currently with two albums in circulation, Cornucopia and Trunk Therapy, you can find his songs on any streaming platform like Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal. Get the visuals and check out his YouTube channel or on Facebook at “Swayyvo” for videos.

Having residency at STIR Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 1p.m., he’ll also be playing sax at The Moxy twice a month. He has performed at Poetry vs Hip Hop at The Camp House, but no dates have been confirmed for that showcase for 2020.

Open for gigs, producing and collaboration, you can reach him at swayyvo1@gmail.com or, better yet, I would suggest to fill up on some waffle encrusted chicken and his savory songs live every Sunday at STIR.

by Jessie Gantt-Temple
January 2, 2020 - The Pulse


Still working on that hot first release.



Chattanooga, Tennessee has given rise to a host of hip-hop musicians and producers using the blood and sweat born from Southern experience and memory. Tackling the expanding passages of modern rap music with an eye toward its jazz, neo soul and heavy 90s hiphop influences, Swayyvo (born Jerod Morton) has been breaking down the barriers between various genres for years and reinventing his sound and ear consistently. Sought after for both his virtuosic saxophone stylings and his knack forarranging unique and complex beat-driven movements without sacrificing his own individuality, Swayyvo has given Chattanooga's hip-hop scene a sustained direction in which to grow. Swayyvo has been seen collaborating with brands such a NBA, NFL, Nickelodeon, Vayner Media, and dozens of artists such as K Camp, Yung Bleu, YGTUT, Project Pat, Sy Ari Da Kid, and Earth Gang.

Band Members