Greeson: Tyner grad Swayyvo making moves with LeBron

Greeson: Tyner grad Swayyvo making moves with LeBron

December 3rd, 2018 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns

Jerod "Swayyvo" Morton is photographed in 2016.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

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Tyner Academy graduate Swayyvo Morton's song "Zone" was used in an NBA.com video for LeBron James' return to Cleveland last month. That song and more of Morton's work is available on all social media platforms and can be downloaded and purchased from there.

Maybe you have not heard of Swayyvo Morton. Yet.

But for the millions of NBA fans and the millions of visitors to NBA.com, here's betting they have heard Swayyvo Morton recently.

"Zone," which Swayyvo wrote, sang and produced, served as the inspiring background music to a highlight video previewing LeBron James' return to Cleveland last month.

Images of James dunking and draining 3s are compiled around Swayyvo's music. But the two masters in the video worked independently.

"No, sadly, I did not get to meet LeBron," Swayyvo told me. "That would have been cool."

A James meeting or not, the exposure is something Swayyvo knows is not only cool, but hugely beneficial for a young musician trying to take that massive next step.

At Tyner Academy, he was Jerod Morton and graduated in 2011. He has been playing or dabbling with almost any instrument or sound equipment he could get his hands on since he was 15 years old.

Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

He says he was self-taught and "let my ear be my teacher" rather than look to post-high school training.

The sax and the piano are his two main interests now, as well as a love for all of the behind-the-scenes parts of the music industry. And the exposure from the NBA.com video with the nation's most recognizable athlete has Swayyvo salivating for what's next.

"For sure, it's a big step for me," said the 26-year-old Morton, who is living in East Ridge. "Hopefully, it will be just the first step, though. I'm starting to hear from people, and I get some emails every day about it. I've been contacted by BET Jams, and we're trying to figure out what is next."

Swayyvo quit his job at a local hospital last summer. He knew music was his future and, more importantly, his passion.

Since, he has found various music gigs, be them playing backup or producing or doing rap shows.

Paying bills and paying your dues can often be the same thing.

While what's next could be anyone's guess, it's impossible for anyone to hear Swayyvo's name and his music and not eventually wonder: How'd you decide on the name Swayyvo?

And he's glad to give up the details.

"I knew I needed to be different, and I wanted my name to be more than a word," he said before laughing off a Prince-style symbol or any other nonsense.

"No, I wanted my name to be about my sound rather than the word, so that's how I fixed up my name," he said.

"(The LeBron James video) made me realize how much is out there, and how far I have to go, really," Swayyvo said. "It's like when you take up a step up, but then you see the rest of the staircase and realize how much farther you have to go.

"There's more to come. A lot more."

Now that sounds like a style and a plan.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343.

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