“I got so much to prove to my enemies, So, I get it by any means”
-Naim Burgess AKA Swanky Hendrix, “Up”
The music is smooth as Naim Burgess stands, opening the video for his song, “Up”. He leans on a gazebo staring at a pond presented before him. His face appearing in the reflection of the water seems serious, focusing on the scene around him. The shot fades into a close-up of himself surrounded by the nature that shares the space with him. The trees sway softly patiently waiting for him to begin his song so they can move to the rhythm of the beat. He stares up into the sky. He’s ready to inspire his listeners with his story.
“You’re going to feel it, the music. I just want people to feel it.”
19-year-old Naim Burgess is a lyricist from Albany, New York where he raps under the name, Swanky Hendrix. He’s taken part in different projects including music videos, interviews, and released his debut album, “Dream” in 2019. Naim’s goal with his music is to inspire people to listen through relatable content in his songs. He uses stories from his life as ways to fuel this content that will motivate people tuning to his music.
Naim’s own background and exposure to music by his family continues to motivate him to create. He started making music with his uncle when he was eight years old and began to experience creating different sounds throughout his childhood. However, he didn’t take music seriously until the passing of his father during his freshman year of high school. He says, “I want to be like him by doing something with my life. I want people to relate to my story and think about their own, or someone else’s.”
Naim also attributes his environment to be a strong factor in why he chose music as an interest and career. He is motivated by the different types of individuals that he sees in his life and how they choose to live their lives.
“You know, walking down the street you’d see people you’d want to be like because they work hard. Or you’d see people you didn’t want to be like because they were not working for what they wanted. Everyone inspires you, just in different ways,” he says.
He also notes that people’s success can be affected by their struggles and hardships. “There are people out here going through something similar or worse than me, and I hope through my music I could be a voice for them.”
Bettering the community around him is important to Naim. As a person of color, he notices his community changing in different ways. Naim says, “I see that sometimes black people try hard to fit in or assimilate with other groups for approval. Honestly, there’s no need for that because we have talents and if united, could do a lot of good things for our community.”
However, Naim also notices people of color doing things like starting businesses, taking positive risks, and believing in themselves. “People are starting to do things that they want and love to do. Collaborating with other people of color and building each other up. Supporting each other. That’s what we need to continue to do.”
While Naim is supporting others, his success in music is a focus for him. Naim knows to be successful in his eyes, he needs to have grown or improved. “If I were doing better than how I was before, whether that be financially, personally, mentally, I’m successful,” he says. Naim hopes to continue with music producing hit songs and more albums. He also hopes to sign onto a label in the future. No matter what, Naim hopes to leave a positive impact on people who listens to his music.
“Not saying I’m going to be the greatest, but I want to be the one who sparks the mind of the greatest.”
For more information about Naim, follow his Instagram: @swankyhendrix