In this new age of music making, we now have the ability to produce, create and record virtually anywhere. We live in a time where a beat, the melody, and the vocals no longer need to be laid down in a recording studio in order to have the same professional sound and effect. Now, more than ever, it is easier for anyone to have access to the industry. However, this is also what makes it harder for people to make it big, especially when you’re a junior computer science major studying at UNH. But Swedish-American and Merrimack native, Karl Hamnqvist, also known by his stage name as ‘K Swisha’, has beaten those odds. Not only in the academic setting of UNH, but in the rap game/trap music industry.
Hamnqvist is responsible for the widely popular viral track “Uber Everywhere” by Madeintoyko, which has gained attention of some major rap/hip-hop stars across the nation. Artists such as Tory Lanez, Soulja Boy and Travis Scott all want a piece of the pie, indicated by the fact that they have all individually released remixes to Hamnqvist’s vibrant youthful tracks. Ty Dolla $ign has remixed, but not released a different track of his.
“Uber Everywhere” has not only caught the eye of industry professionals and graced the blogs of major rap critics, but has recently made its way into the number two spot of Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artist’s list and continues to be on the rise on Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube.
Since its summer 2015 SoundCloud release, “Uber Everywhere” has raked in over 12 million plays, hitting 1 million plus just in the past two days, and just this past week, it appeared in the 99th spot on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Hamnqvist made the ‘new-wave’ beat of the hit song while living in the Mini Dorms spring semester of his sophomore year, and released the song on YouTube in hopes to showcase his talent. While Hamnqvist was taking classes at Stanford University this past summer, artist Madeintokyo approached him via email with the record idea and an interest of working together.
“It was magic, Toyko did his magic and everything started happening real quick. I have the nasty beats and Tokyo has the sauce, he promoted it like an artist should,” Hamnqvist said.
The 21-year-old started making beats in 2012 when he was trying to establish himself as a rapper, and knew if he wanted to get the attention of industry professionals, he needed to differentiate and better himself by having a unique sound and solid beats.
“I started making beats in the summer of 2012 because I needed my own beats to rap on, and have been making beats everyday since. I knew the work ethic [that was] needed, cause I saw all these other producers that I looked up to and they make like 20 beats a day, all day everyday, and I knew I needed to do the same thing.”
When asked about how majoring in computer science may have helped pave the way to his success in the music industry, he noted that it was just something that came easily to him.
“It’s more just problem solving skills so making melodies and stuff is really easy. I don’t need a piano but just click that stuff in and it’s like, easy.”
While Hamnqvist credits his new career success to artist Madeintokyo, he individually sought after his career solely through intensive study of the music industry and through study of his idols.
Being influenced by his favorite rappers and producers such as Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Southside, Metro Boomin, Hamnqvist hopes to one day work with Kanye West. He is inspired to succeed because of the rewarding lifestyle and monetary success the industry gives in return of hard work.
“I just had a dream, a vision of wanting to be like the people I looked up to. I just like the rap lifestyle and had this vision, it was long term. When I’m making beats, I can already see the music video in my head.”
Since meeting up with Madeintokyo and Private Club Record’s posse over spring break, touring from Cali to Texas, eventually ending up at SXSW (a music and film festival), performing in front of a packed crowd, the realization of the booming success of Uber Everywhere has hit Hamnqvist.
“After getting back from spring break, I don’t wanna be here anymore because I know I can do this full-time. I still only have a year left and can finish up, but I like don’t want to,” Hamnqvist said.
Hamnqvist is not only making a name for himself through popular artists because of his beats, but he’s also a full time business owner and has his own website (kswisha.com). There he has been getting customers daily, especially because of his rise on SoundCloud, in regards to the release of “Uber Everywhere.”
“I don’t do anything now to promote myself, I stopped uploading the YouTube beats, now it’s just emails everyday. I stopped responding to beat inquiries to be honest and am just like ‘just go to my website.’ Now I literally just upload and it does [its own] work.”
Since the success of his record, he’s accumulated over 3,000 Twitter followers and 8,000 Soundcloud followers, has hit millions of plays on other tracks feat Madeintokyo as well as other artists, and has been getting more business than he seemingly can handle.
Hamnqvist will be living in L.A. this summer to work on Madeintokyo’s new album.
Hamnqvist’s stage name comes from inspiration through Texas record label Swisha House, and from smoking his favorite cigarillos, Swisher Sweets. With those aspects in mind as well as incorporating part of his real name, he came up with K Swisha.