EXCLUSIVE: Donn Swaby Talks Passions, His Upcoming Book and More!

Donn Swaby talks his acting career, Passions, life as an author, his upcoming book and more. Learn more here--->>


Donn Swaby, a first-generation American, is known as a true Renaissance Man. When you hear everything that he has accomplished and endeavors to accomplish, you will agree that Mr. Swaby has more than lived up to the name; actor, writer, screenwriter, musician, author, theater owner, and producer. Over the course of his artistic career, he has kept his hands hard at work in a little bit of everything.

His artistic inclinations were initially exhibited via writing and the visual arts. Swaby discovered a passion for drawing and painting at five years old. And by seven years old, the young boy was creating his own picture booklets made from construction paper and Swaby’s vivid and active imagination. By junior high school, he was writing short stories, plays, and poetry and winning creative writing contests at school.

“Honestly, I have always been the type of person who liked to do everything. In relation to writing, my writing resume is a bit all over the place. I wrote for the school newspaper where I became chief editor and contributor. I was the founder and Editor-in-Chief of our school’s very first art magazine. Professionally, I have written music reviews, restaurant reviews, feature interviews, my own Arts and Leisure column, and political blogs. I am also a songwriter and novelist and have written a television pilot, short films, feature films and picture books. I consider myself a multi-genre writer.”

Although Swaby’s artistic inclinations began with writing he also discovered a passion for acting and music in high school. He performed in school plays and played guitar in two rock bands. When it was time for college needless to say his gifts and talents were varied, but Swaby realized acting was the thing for him. He studied acting in the Classical Theater Conservatory at Boston University College of Fine Arts. “I landed my first professional acting gig in a local Boston theater production while in college. The role opened the door and I continued to work in theater while in college. After graduation, I went back to New York and landed my first speaking screen role, a small role in the feature film, G.I. Jane starring Demi Moore. I was doing regional theater, commercials, radio, television, and film, and as usual, my hands were in a bit of everything.

One highlight for sure during that time was co-starring in the theater production of Raisin in the Sun with Viola Davis, Kimberly Elise, and the late Gloria Foster. Right after that in 1999, I landed the role of Chad Harris on the soap opera Passions. This role and the move from New York to Los Angeles changed everything for me. I was addicted to soap operas when I was growing up. I used to run home from school to watch Days of Our Lives and Another World. It was a surreal full circle moment to be cast on the show that replaced Another World.”

After his three years with Passions, the Renaissance Man also played in several musical bands and continued to act on stage and screen. Then his acting coach began to encourage Swaby to delve deeper into his creative abilities, showcase more of all his talents, and to further expand his already diverse portfolio. “A shift happened for me. I got more into writing and creating my own stories. I still act but my focus most definitely has been more on writing. I also started producing my own projects, including several short films, and I have done book narration, which allows me to flex those acting muscles too. I published my first book, a rhyming self-published book, You’re Everything, Everywhere, All The Time in 2014. It is inspired by quantum physics, the idea of singularity, that everything is connected. It is about a little boy with a big afro who becomes everything he sees in the world; fire, wind, mountains, smiling faces, and intangible things too. The idea is that even the smallest person is a reflection of the universe and everything we are and see. Everyone and everything are connected.”

It’ll Be Irie: Staying True to Yourself is the title of Swaby’s upcoming book that is set to be released by Cardinal Rule Press in July of 2023. This book is inspired by Swaby’s parents who are Jamaican immigrants. The story centers around a little boy named Raymond whose family is moving from Jamaica to Queens, New York. Raymond is so excited about the move and wants to impress all of the new American people he will meet so he studies everything he can about America and Americans. Unfortunately, when he gets to Queens things don’t start off as well as he hoped. He tries a little too hard to make a good impression and nothing works out. But then Raymond with the help of his dad starts to open up about his life in Jamaica and he shares all of the wonderful things about his Jamaican culture with the kids at school.  As Swaby puts it, “Things turn around when Raymond starts to be himself, which is always the best way to be, you know?”

In addition to his upcoming book, Swaby has several picture book manuscripts and a middle-grade novel in submissions as well as a sci-fi drama television pilot and a feature film he is currently shopping around. You can also see some of his projects on his main YouTube Channel, Donn Swaby, and his channel, The VBB, a webisode series featuring artists and life on the world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk.

We asked Swaby if he wanted to say anything in closing. He spoke about Passions and the soap opera community. “Like I said before being on Passions changed my life. I have formed lasting relationships with the people I worked with. While on the show I directed Lindsay Hartley (ex-Theresa) and Travis Schuldt (ex-Ethan) in a play. And since leaving the show I have had opportunities to work with Jade Harlow (ex-Jessica) and Chrystee Pharris (ex-Simone); co-starring with them or me producing or directing projects they were also involved in. As I get older and reflect more about my life and career, it makes me more grateful for Passions and the soap opera community. Whenever the show has done reunions or had an event that fans put together it is a great time. The love still shown to us all these years later is amazing. A friend of mine Grace Garland (Vera Vanderbilt, All My Children) told me once you are on a show, especially a soap, you are that character for life. It follows you your whole life. She was right. It is a beautiful Blessing and I am forever grateful.”

Facebook @DonnSwaby

Instagram @donn_swaby

(Interview by Kenyan Smith)


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Soap Opera News: EXCLUSIVE: Donn Swaby Talks Passions, His Upcoming Book and More!
EXCLUSIVE: Donn Swaby Talks Passions, His Upcoming Book and More!
Donn Swaby talks his acting career, Passions, life as an author, his upcoming book and more. Learn more here--->>
Soap Opera News
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