Brooklyn Boys Do It Better: Into the Mind of Cisco Swank
Interview and Photography by Joana Meurkens
We all know that overwhelming feeling when we are in the presence of greatness, when we know when the artist sitting in front of us has the potential to make a remarkable impact, and when their work transcends and pushes the status quo. That is how I feel whenever I speak to Francisco. Francisco Haye, with the artist name of Cisco Swank, is just a boy from Brooklyn, born and raised in Flatbush to be exact, and he is the perfect example of how being humble goes a long way.
I met Francisco in passing during high school, but soon watched him grow into a sensitive and silly artist, and an even more incredible young man. His talent is undeniable. Growing up with both parents as musicians, his mother singing and his father producing, as well as playing in the church at a very young age, music became all-encompassing in his life.
“I started playing piano drums when I was about four years old. And it’s because both of my parents are musicians. There were musical instruments everywhere, with my mom singing all the time and my dad producing. I was homeschooled until the 5th grade and during that time there was just mad music everywhere. We were always doing super creative stuff. Every day we would go to the park, library, or museum,” Cisco said.
Clearly it paid off since in 2018,Francisco became a winner of the prestigious YoungArts award, a national competition led by the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. He also earned a full ride to the prestigious Berklee School of Music.
Throughout his high school years, Cisco formed lifelong friendships that would turn into staple creative partnerships. Cisco and his friends turned music colleagues created endless songs and videos, all while finding their creative voices. Through experimenting with new sounds with his values of faith, family, and friends driving him, Cisco Swank was born.
“Cisco Swank is the unleashed version of Francisco. It’s just everything I want to be, will be, and am.”
Cisco’s charming and light personality only makes his music shine more, as his undeniable skills drive his projects; his sensitivity and willingness to listen drive people to him. Collaboration comes natural to him, and it is clear through every project he creates. In 2020, Swank released Pursuit Of, an EP in collaboration with the producer Tobias Kelly. The project was an instant hit, garnering a stronger fan base for the Brooklyn bred musician.
Now, a solid two years later, a new and exciting project is on the horizon. Earlier this month Cisco released “Could It Be You”, the first single off the collaborative album Some Things Take Time with Luke Titus. Unlike most of Francisco’s collaborations, the two barely knew each other before diving headfirst into this project. The album actually, like most modern love stories, started with a DM. Francisco recalls getting a message from Luke on Instagram almost two years ago asking if he could send him some drum loops. Francisco, humbled and honored that the Chicago native was interested in working with him, proceeded to receive around seventy drum loops from him.
“I remember listening to track 73 and a lightbulb went off in my head. I went to the keys and made a beat over it in 10 minutes and sent it back to him. I just knew it was going to be crazy from then on.”
The highly anticipated album is set to release in April 2022 with top notch features such as Saba and Braxton Cook among many others. Not only is it a powerhouse collaboration between Luke and Francisco, but it features the work of many of his closest friends (mixed by Elijah Judah, cover art by his sister Kaylah Haye, and music videos directed and filmed by Jackson Siporin and Patrick Linehan). “Could It Be You” has already reached notable playlists, and there is no doubt that this album will launch Francisco onto new heights. And just like most humble and kind boys from Brooklyn, he really deserves it.
Preorder “Some Things Take Time”