“As conceited as it may seem, I’ve always liked the sound of my own voice,” said Mike Swift who has been spinning records since his early days in junior high school, and now works as an on-air radio personality for New Orleans own 102.9.
Mike Swift, born Michael Anthony Powell on Oct. 22, 1983, in New Orleans, has had a fascination with music from the moment he understood what music was. He said he remembers hearing the voices and beats of Run DMC’s records playing in his home as a child. In fact, he said he thinks that Run DMC’s music was the first music he has ever heard. Eventually, he became a fan of Run DMC and an admirer of Jason ‘Jam Master Jay’ Mizell.
Nicknamed Mike, at the ambitious age of 13, he knew that he wanted to make music a part of his daily routine. Consequently, Mike became the disc jockey for local high school dances and parties, as well as family gatherings. Suddenly, Mike noticed that dejaying was a convenient tactic for making money because he made money while doing what he loved. “Dejaying did beat flipping burgers,” he said.
One day, while a freshman, Mike walked his normal path home from John Curtis High School. He passed his usual landmarks, the homes, trees and cars. However, this particular day, something unusual happened, the word “Swift” popped into his mind. Instantly, he knew that he wanted Mike Swift to be his stage name, but he did not know that the word “Swift” may follow his first name, Mike, for the rest of his life. Though he added Swift to his name that day, he did not use it again until a couple of years later.
Mike landed his first big gig in the fall of his junior year of high school when he dejayed Edna Karr High School’s back to school dance. He was extremely excited about this opportunity, so he made special efforts to do everything right. Fortunately, his carefulness paid off because at the end of the night, students at the dance approached him, acquiring about his name. “Mike Swift,” he immediately replied. It was then when the residents of New Orleans began referring to Mike as Mike Swift.
After high school, Mike Swift began attending Dillard University where he decided to major in mass communication and minor in political science. Though he began college, his passion for music never died. He continued dejaying at parties, clubs and events, some of which, took place at Dillard.
“He is a great radio personality, and when he’s dejaying at school, he plays good music,” said Leahanise Hogan, a sophomore at Dillard.
Although he still enjoyed dejaying there was now something missing in life, Mike Swift had an unfulfilled dream. He wanted to be an idol on the radio or television.
In December of 2005 Mike Swift, a student at University of Houston because of the affects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, called 102.9 seeking an internship. Kelder Summers, an on-air radio personality, who was impressed with Mike Swift’s voice diction, remembered him from a previous occasion. Summers told him that he could have a full-time position at the station if he was willing to come in soon.
Excited, yet shocked, Mike Swift packed his belongings in his dormitory room and returned to New Orleans that day, neglecting to take his final examinations at U of H. Immediately, he was on the air, full-time, at 102.9
Mike Swift, who describes himself as a “hard-working,” “money-hungry,” “intelligent” and “socially-aware” person, has accomplished his goal of being a radio personality, and he has now set greater goals for himself. “I now aspire to be a program director at a radio station in major markets like Los Angeles and New York City,” he said.
Even though he does not try to pattern his style after any radio personality because he is content being himself, Mike Swift said he admires Howard Stern and Tom Joyner. “It would be nice to have my own national syndicated show,” said Mike Swift.
He said that in 10 years, he sees himself married with two children with a voice-over and voice-imaging business and a program director.
Today, Mike Swift, who is on the air six days a week, said he feels as if he is fulfilling a childhood dream. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I don’t believe this is real,” he said.
“The only advice I can give to others is don’t take no for an answer, don’t give up, don’t worry about what others think, and just do you,” said Mike Swift.