Former MTV reality star Shwayze plays Mystic Theatre in Petaluma
It’s been a decade since the reality television show “Buzzin’ ” made its debut on MTV. The series followed the career of the Malibu rap and hip-hop duo Shwayze, as Aaron Smith and Cisco Adler made a splash on the music scene with the show’s title track and other hits, like “Corona and Lime.”
Originally, the name Shwayze was loosely applied to both members of that duo, but since 2011, it has come to serve as Smith’s professional name as a solo artist.
Accompanied by an onstage DJ, Smith will perform Friday night, Jan. 11, as Shwayze at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma. Fans can hope to hear cuts from the self-titled Shwayze debut album, honoring the 10th anniversary of its release, but there will be some surprises, too.
At this point in Smith’s life, the music has taken precedence over indulgent reality TV.
“You can get into a groove, get used to something and stick to it, but evolution is natural, because I love what I do, and if you do anything enough, it evolves,” said Smith, 33, by phone from New York, where he now lives and works.
Yet, there is still room for some of that adventurous spirit viewers enjoyed watching on MTV, now seen during his live shows with spontaneous song choices.
“I do have a set list, but then I start looking at the crowd to see how the show is going,” he explained. “I like to play around.”
Shwayze followed his debut album in 2008 with a half-dozen others, from “Let It Beat” in 2009 to last year’s “Back to the Beginning,”
As a writer, Shwayze says he likes to avoid “preachy messages” but it’s ultimately up to his audience to find meaning in the words. “Sometimes people will twist a line into a metaphor,” he said.
But as playful as his beat-driven music can be, there’s diversity on each album.
“Love Is Overrated” from the 2013 album “Shwayze Summer” includes some of the explicit word language many associate with early rap lyrics: “I just wanna f--- tonight.”
Recent songs show growth through more thoughtful lyrics, such as this line from the title track from “Back to the Beginning.”: “Sometimes people act see-through, sometimes they’re opaque.”
“Over the years, I’ve been trying to change my technique,” Shwayze said. “Now it’s a little milder. When I was younger, it was all very personal, and that can put you in a box.”
Shwayze attributes some of his ongoing growth as an artist to his performances before live audiences. “I’m always excited to see a good turnout and how the crowd reacts,” he said.
He expects to continue touring through April, before taking time to rest, think, write and ultimately record.
“I think 2019 is gonna be a great year,” he predicted.
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @danarts. Estefany Gonzalez, The Press Democrat’s Nightbeats music columnist, contributed to this story.