In January 2020, Gary Swindell Jr. held a live recording at Victory North (pictured) for a forthcoming live album release, “Live from Whitaker St.” His father, Gary Swindell Sr., musician and legendary leader of the performing arts community in the southeast was there to witness his son’s performance.
“I’ve lived in Savannah my whole life and I was born as a singer, actor, and songwriter from my parents. Both of my parents were actors. My father and my mother, they both came up doing plays in this area,” said Swindell Jr.
The recording, “Live from Whitaker St.” is a touching and powerful look into the ministry and growing artistry of Swindell Jr. who captivated a packed audience at Victory North with the soul and lyrics in his music.
Swindell Jr. and his sister grew up in music ministry. Their father was the minister of music at their church Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center for over 35 years. This church was actually located in the same building Victory North is now currently in and Swindell Jr. said performing there was like being at home.
“The good thing about my parents were though we were an old school church family, they made sure that me and my sister were introduced to other forms of art, to stage shows and to other types of music,” said he said.
This environment helped develop his artistry and performance style transform him into the well-rounded performer he has become.
Tragically in December 2021, his father passed away from complications of COVID-19 and while the community and his family were distraught at the loss of a local icon, his son’s musical journey helped many push through the pain with the release of his first single “Strong Enough” in April 2021.
“These words have been an anchoring affirmation to encourage and uplift all but especially for African American men who have not been able to express their emotions,” said Gary Swindell Jr. describing the lyrics ‘I will not be overtaken, I will not be overwhelmed’ from the song “Strong Enough”.
The song is a spirit lifting anthem that can lift a person in times of sorrow. Swindell Jr. says this song has been a continual reminder of victory and rejoicing for himself and his followers. The song surpassed 35,000 streams in the first three months of its release.
“I’m an independent artist, that means a lot of these streams are by word of mouth. I feel great because the song is actually touching people’s hearts. Of course, there’s a business side to it but at the end of the day, you want to be an artist, that people actually feel your art,” he said.
In spite of the rising streaming numbers, Swindell Jr. said that the road to this single’s release wasn’t an easy one due to his independent status and the effects of the covid virus.
“I don’t have a backing of a major label. I don’t have thousands of dollars. I have a core team of great people and we all work together to move everything forward,” said Swindell Jr.
He considers himself a student of the music business and works to evolve as an artist and a businessman. Influenced by artists like Fred Hammond, Prince, Baby Face, Beyonce, and others who have been accomplished on the music and business side of the industry.
Now his latest single “Manifestation Chant” is available on all digital and social media platforms, including live performances. In addition to creating uplifting music, he also has a book out The Language of Praise: 21 Day Devotional.
“It’s for everyone, even if you don’t go to church. It’s a 21-day encouragement blog outlined with certain words and things to say when you’re in a low place. You can say these things when you’re in a rough place, and it becomes like a prayer to the Lord,” he said.
Swindell Jr. will be releasing more music in 2022 including a song with a national gospel recording artist. He would like to travel and tour the music as well if covid permits and he is looking forward to writing more for other artists.
To find his music including “Manifestation” and “Strong Enough” follow him on Instagram @gary_swindell and Facebook @GarySwidell