Derek Andrews Safo, known professionally as Sway (Dasafo) is a UK-based Music Artist, Executive Producer and Entrepreneur. Derek was born and raised in North London by Ghanaian parents Beatrice & Alhaji.
Having spent some of his earlier childhood in Ghana and being a slow starter when it came to speaking, Sway returned to England and developed a fascination of the English language. In later years his fascination of literature combined with his love of melody and knack for public speaking inspired the then budding music producer to vocal his own productions until 'a better rapper appeared'. That 'better' rapper was coaxed out of him by the encouragement of piers and crowd reactions at rap battle competitions that he would later enter and often win.
Not wanting to be recognized as a 'the rapper' Sway would cover his face in pictures with a Union Jack bandana, this later became an iconic image in the world of UK urban Music.
It was at this point that Sway decided that he wanted to start his own record label. He wanted a name that sounded like his own (Dasafo) but meant something more over a period of time. Dcypha Productions was born out of this thought.
Despite being known as a UK Hip Hop artist Sway's versatile flow allowed him to be embraced by both the Ghanaian Hip Life scene and the then newly born Grime.
He became the first unsigned rapper to win a MOBO Award prior to the release of an official album. Although he attracted vast major record label interest Sway decided he would prefer to release his first album "This Is My Demo" independently, giving his demo not to the record companies but directly to the people. Tracks such as "Flo Fashion", "Up Your Speed" and the UK top 40 Little Derek became genre-defining moments of this era.
2006 saw the release of Sway's highly anticipated album "This Is My Demo", One of the most critically acclaimed UK Rap albums of all time, Sway went on to be the first UK rapper to win a BET International Hip hop as well as making the Mercury Music Prize Shortlist.
Amongst his supporters where international superstars, Akon, Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams who had all displayed an interest in signing the UK rapper to their own label imprints.
After months of consideration Sway decided that he would take Akon up on his offer and become part of the international Konvict Music family (Lady Gaga, T-Pain). Also embodying the fusion of a West African meets Western approach to music whilst building an empire Akon was a perfect example for Sway to study. Sway was often invited to accompany Akon around the world where he networked and built strong relationships with people such as Dutch super-producer Giorgio Tuinfort (Michael Jackson, David Guetta, Sia) who remains one of Sway's greatest influences and mentors to date.
Sway’s second album The Signature LP was released in 2008 through Dcypha Productions, this album was recognized for tracks such "F UR X" which was a smash UK club record and the international door breaker "Silver & Gold" featuring Akon.
Sway’s vast array of collaborations go from recording and writing with acts such as Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson and Nicky Romero, to award winning verses for Ghanaian super stars Sarkodie & Edem. Dasafo was also the only other rap feature on Lupe Fiasco's US billboard number 1 album "Lasers" released in 2011.
In 2013, Sway decided he wanted to return back to his original plan of building a label and curating new talent. Through his search he came across south London rapper/ singer Tiggs Da Author, who he took under his wing and signed to his revived Dcypha Productions label, He also signed YouTube star KSI.
After spending some time developing both acts and in late 2014 the team oversaw the signing of Tiggs Da Author to Sony RCA and Subsequently in July 2015 Dcypha Productions became an imprint of Island/ Universal and KSI became the first artist to be up-streamed.
Soon after collaborating with Island Records Sway curated a production team known as New Reign. New Reign was a concept Sway had given birth to years prior but only came across the suitable candidates over the years.
New Reign continues to produce for the likes of Sway himself, Fuse ODG, Arjun, KSI, and Lunar C and are also set to release an array of singles in 2019. Whilst overseeing the development of Dcypha, Sway is also set to release a solo album in the near future entitled Next Chapter.
As an writer and producer Sway has amassed close to 1 billion music streams world wide across platforms such as youtube, spotify, apple music and he continues to work with emerging talent as well as accomplished creatives to push musical boundaries forward.
Now armed with an arsenal of new music Sway walks into 2019 with a plethora of collaborations (Brillionaires, 5ive 9ine) and new music projects for us to look forward to.
Sway’s Next Chapter album is said to be accompanied with a book and short film.
2019 will also see the launch of NR World and NR Global an international distribution service and streaming platform that focuses on both the established and undiscovered talent coming out of Africa and more specifically Sway’s beloved homeland of Ghana.
Current position: Music Artist, Executive Producer and Entrepreneur, New Reign