Swaleh Abdulrehman, who is popularly known by his stage name, Swanky~OTr, is a Malindi-based artiste who has managed to take his music career to greater heights over the past two years.
Swanky describes his style as that which shines and is attractive. Due to his ability to dress stylishly, take cool photos, and sing well altogether, Swanky found his name to best suit what he does.
His interest in music dates back to when he was in high school where he started by writing poems, and gradually developed an interest in writing songs too. It is through this that his songwriting skills were sharpened and he has never looked back since then.
Aside from music, Swanky also indulges in photography, an interest that was partly developed by his uncle who is a tour driver. He would take Swanky for tours whenever a chance presented itself and it is then that Swanky began taking photos of almost everything that he came across. He decided to be serious with his photography in 2016 and started watching YouTube tutorials on how to handle and operate cameras.
Like many starters, Swanky didn’t initially own a camera. However, this did not discourage him from pursuing photography in a professional way. He used to borrow cameras for a period of one year while saving for his own at the same time.
It is through God’s grace, he says, that he has finally managed to buy his own camera.
Swanky values both his music and photography, saying one can hardly exist without the other. He terms photography as ‘a business which has many opportunities if well exploited’, and it is what funded his music career before he got signed in by a management company.
Like many other artists, Swanky faces a number of challenges too. Despite having a huge fan base in his home ground, media personalities are not doing enough to support and promote young talents like his.
His music does not get enough airplay to adequately represent his work. Each artiste’s dream is to see their music grow, and Swanky is more than ready to do what it takes to make his music thrive beyond Malindi.
It is not all rosy for photography too. Swanky faces some challenges such as loss of files after shoots, requests from friends who want free photo shoots or shoots done at insanely cheaper prices.
He believes a combination of hard work, determination, and patience is what will get him to the place he wants to be. He is now signed under management known as PillarWorks, something that he didn’t initially have, and he is hopeful that things will continue getting better.
Above all, Swanky strongly believes in putting God first in everything he does. His fans have always shown up in large numbers to support him. All this, he says, is through God’s doing.