Host-to-Host: Pete Dominick interviews Sway Calloway

Did you know that SiriusXM’s very own Sway Calloway and President Barack Obama are pretty close? To shed some light on Calloway’s personal life, Indie host Pete Dominick invited the Sway in the Morning host to his Stand Up! show a few months back.

In addition to an extensive career in entertainment media — Sway is also a correspondent and executive producer at MTV Networks — Calloway has quite a resume when it comes to political coverage. He’s participated in the MTV 20 Million Loud movement, where he encouraged young voters to participate in elections; he has followed Senator McCain, Hilary Clinton, John Edwards and the then-Senator Obama on the trail; and he has interviewed the president multiple times throughout his political career.

So what does Calloway have to say about Obama? He thinks the president is an overall “interesting person.” Calloway called the experience of interviewing the president at the White House as surreal, and added that it was humbling for a guy that grew up in Oakland, Calif.

“I’d like to think that we created a decent rapport with each other,” Calloway said. “Which is why I think he allowed me to come into the White House and do this live interview, 23 minutes, on air, from the blue room, which is probably the most earth-shattering moment I’ve ever experienced as somebody in this business.”

While he built  his career in the hip-hop industry, Calloway said his audience and his show cross genres.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the demographic. It’s definitely a hip-hop constituency on Shade 45 because it’s Eminem’s station, but I think the conversation we have … it keeps the listenership broad, and we’re able to have conversation on any level about any topic,” Calloway said. “This isn’t something I wanted to have, be pigeonholed, as a rap show.” To Calloway, his show can basically be classified under the broad label of “life radio.”

Calloway’s own public persona also differs quite a bit from his real-life personality, a side he has revealed since starting his radio show.

“Who I am behind the scenes … I probably spend more money at strip clubs than you have on clothes, so there’s a whole other side to me that I wanted people to learn, so it could help me be more of myself when I’m in front of the TV or even behind the mic. This show is all of those things,” Calloway said.

Calloway thanked his humble upbringing in the “Murder Dubs,” Oakland, for making him the man he is today. Growing up as the youngest of three to a mother who was the primary caregiver, he learned how to make the most of what he had.

“I thought I lived in paradise, even though we were on welfare,” Calloway said. “Growing up in Oakland equipped me to handle anything that’s taken place.”

After recounting some of his favorite memories from his youth — including how he got arrested a few times for small rebellious acts — Calloway dived into the topic of race in America. He said racism extends beyond race and into other groups in our society, including in education and different “tax brackets.” Because of this, Sway explained, kids now more than ever need guidance and a positive support system in their lives.

“I think it’s important for black kids, especially young black boys, to have some type of … source that’s feeding you positive affirmations, consistently to tell you that you’re gifted, that you’re talented, that you have the ability to become and do things that others might not think,” Calloway said. “My mother did that. She put a lot of pride in us. She made us proud to be black.”

It is because of this that Calloway tries to be the best father figure he can be to his 15-year-old daughter. Not only was having his daughter a “life-altering” experience, Sway explained, she opened his eyes to many things. His daughter — who lives in Los Angeles with her mother — is skilled in many different ventures; an equestrian, a cheerleader, an honor roll student and more, having traveled to Thailand to work in an orphanage and with stray animals.

Calloway said that despite being her father, he tries not to project his ideas or his insecurities onto his daughter; he’s all about the “universal law.”

“What you put in the universe, you shall receive,” Calloway said. “If I put in positive energy into what I do, my everyday functioning life, how I approach decisions, then my guideline is that’s what will come back. That will be the reaction. For every action there’s a reaction.”

This year Indie Radio’s Pete Dominick interviewed various SiriusXM hosts for an exclusive series on Stand Up! With Pete Dominick. To listen in on more host-to-host interviews check out the below playlist. And stay tuned here for even more exclusive host chats.

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