Chris Swan is an empowering retro hip-hop artist from St. Louis MO with a message of recovery and hope. Being an accomplished piano player as well, his style is very musical with influences from jazz, smooth jazz, R&B and soul. Positivity based hip-hop with musicality and piano? Not common in the hip-hop scene these days.
Being forced to take piano lessons at the age of 5, it took a few years for him to know music was going to be a big part of his life.
“When I started figuring out how to play my favorite songs off the radio by ear, I started to like it. Then I began to write my own songs and I was hooked,” says Swan.
There was often a lot of chaos and arguing in his home growing up. Music became an escape from it.
“When things got really bad, I could always go in my room, close my door, and create something that made me feel better. It was a way to get my feelings out and a way to comfort myself. As I grew up, I had a lot of close friends who moved away from me. I felt really lonely and abandoned. Again, I turned to music for comfort. Music was always there for me. I knew it would never leave me. It was for sure my best friend,” he explains.
Being very active in music all through high school led to Swan choosing to go to Greenville College to study music. As soon as he arrived on campus, he got started recording his first album called “Tha L.U.P. and Tha Outsidaz Clan.” This project turned into a band that eventually became known as LP Outsiders.
“We all dropped out of school together and went on the road to pursue our music dreams. We traveled all over the country playing shows and sleeping on floors. We opened for numerous national acts including Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Vitamin C, Boy George and Culture Club, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and we even toured with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for a year. We appeared on the Disney Television show “2 Hour Tour” performing along side 98 Degrees. We landed a song on the Three To Tango Major Motion Picture Soundtrack. We put out 4 albums and also signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific. After 6 years of grinding it out, some of the members of the band wanted to quit to pursue a more ‘normal’ life. The band hung in there without them for a little bit, but was never really the same and we finally disbanded completely in 2006.”
After LP Outsiders called it quits, Swan became very bitter towards the music industry. He gave up on being an artist and went all in with the gigging musician life. Piano bar entertaining brought along a lot of great opportunities including performing at multiple piano bars in the Caribbean islands. Swan spent many months playing in some of the most beautiful places in the world including Aruba, Barbados, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Curacao. It was a great opportunity, but it soon became a very lonely, depressing life.
After years of the gig life, Chris became a serious alcoholic as well as food addict. His weight ballooned to over 500 pounds. It wasn’t until he finally landed in the ER with severe heart palpitations that he was finally scared enough to make a change. He decided then and there to quit drinking and to make some changes in his life. To do something that mattered. That led to launching Soul Motivation Records in June of 2017 along with his first album of new material in 14 years! It was a 6 song EP called “What Is Your Soul Motivation?” and it established Swan’s new mission: to take a message of positivity and possibility to music fans around the world.
Having to cope with life and play in bars every night without alcohol, Swan turned to food instead. He shares,
“I have always had food issues, but when I quit drinking, they went into over drive. I chose ice cream instead of booze, which was the better of the two, I guess, but my health deteriorated quickly. It got to the point where I could barely walk. I was constantly wheezing. I was pre-diabetic. I had really bad knee and foot pain. Heart palpitations and chest pains were common place. I was dying.”
Finally asking for help from family and friends, they helped him find an amazing retreat called COR. This was a 12 step based facility that started to shed light on his problems. Through learning about the 12 steps, Swan finally started to see hope. He started to find all the answers he had been looking for his whole life. He dedicated himself to the process, got a sponsor and started going to meetings. Swan has lost over 70 pounds so far and feels like he’s been given a second chance at life. Even more so, he found a message of recovery that he wanted to share with the world.
“My mission is to use music to help people who are experiencing pain overcome their obstacles and to show them that they are not alone and that they are meant to be healthy and successful! I also want to be a leading voice in the movement for more positivity in hip-hop music and culture.”
Swan is releasing a new single every month and will be releasing his newest album “Welcome To The Fellowship” in the fall of 2018. This album shares Swan’s story of struggle and recovery and he hopes people will find the hope they are looking for in his music!
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