#PopularPlay: Kenny Sway
Jun 15, 2020
After witnessing tensions erupt amid the first week of BLM protests, Maryland resident Kenny Sway took to the streets of D.C. to use his voice. His singing voice, to be exact.
Taking place on Northwest 16th Street, just outside the White House, Kenny serenaded protestors with a rendition of Bill Withers “Lean on Me.” The beautiful moment was captured on video and has since made a viral impression on social media. A crowd of peaceful protesters can be seen singing in unison with Kenny while swaying and illuminating the scene with their cellphones.
His powerful, unifying performance moved not only the hearts of those present but also the thousands of people watching online.
Rightfully so, Kenny has received national coverage, appearing in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, and Entertainment Tonight. PopularTV had the privilege of speaking with Kenny about his love for music and the powerful moment of harmony he ignited in the heart of D.C.
1. Let start off by saying how chilling that performance was. Was this something that was planned, or did it happen spur of the moment?
Honestly, no, it wasn’t really planned at all. I was just in the area that day, singing, like I’ve been doing for so long. And somehow during the day, I came across this huge group of protesters… and then, at some point it really felt like all everyone needed in this chaos was some music. And it was unbelievable. I completely enjoyed creating an amazing moment for everyone.
2. This isn’t the first time you’ve used your voice to empower or comfort people. Why is singing your chosen tool?
I often feel like God knew even before I was born that I’m gonna use my gift to bring people together. It’s amazing to know & to have a gift such as singing & performing.
3. Beyond everything that is happening right now, what is at the heart of the city of D.C?
The heart of D.C is not just the capital of the Nation, but is at a place where we should found unity & peace. I feel very energized in this place, that’s why I’ve been singing in the streets of this amazing place for so many years.
4. How did you find your passion for singing?
I found my passion for singing at a very young age. I think I was 5 years old when I figured I could sing. And right away I just knew in my heart that music is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
6. Music is such a vital part of the Black community. What are some of the earliest songs you remember family playing for you?
That’s so true. Music is such an important component in our community. I’m proud to say that so many amazing singers are of African-American heritage. I grew up listening to their music. But some of them had a huge impact on me, like Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, The Great Michael Jackson. I have to admit though Eddie Kendricks is the one who had probably the biggest influence on me, my love for music and my style .
7. What is something you want people to know about you?
I want people to know I’m very passionate about what I bring into my music & I want to connect with everyone as an artist, and as a human being. Especially in moments like this I realize that music can heal the world. And I want everyone to know that.
8. As an artist what is something you want to convey with your music?
I want to convey love, passion, unity and peace. It’s all that matters in the end.
9. Can you tell us any projects you’re working on right now?
I’m working on a song called “Love Each Other”, featuring some amazing local artists from the DMV area. But I don’t wanna give too much away. But what I’m really looking forward is to continue giving love, peace and unity to the world more.