The Ty Bru to Sweeney Ty transformation

quotes writer
7 min readDec 24, 2022

In a nutshell, who is Sweeney Ty?

He is a combination of the fictional character of Sweeney Todd and myself, Ty Bru. And the 6 track concept album is a journey that crosses both realms and sometimes merges them while at other times it separates them. So sometimes when I’m rhyming, I am Sweeney Ty in foggy London town as Ty Bru and others I am Sweeney Todd in the North Carolina independent music and entertainment scene. Then there can be various intertwining of interactions that could yield a wide variety of concoctions.

What attracted you to the story of Sweeney Todd?

At 27 years old, I watched the Tim Burton film in the theaters, it was Christmas of 2007. Up until then I had little to no interest in musicals or plays. I had been to several Broadway plays during my time in NYC but never really found one that SPOKE to me. Within 10 mins of the film adaptation of Sweeney Todd I was in love. It was a type of awakening, like this style of art form and this story have been around for so long and I’m just now digging it, let me dive into it as much as I can.

Along with that, I really resonated with the story and the characters. I remember being particularly fond of the compelling acting from Edward Sanders who played the young Toby and really cheering for him and Todd, which in the finale, was a very conflicting stance.

When did you begin and complete the process of the Sweeney Ty project?

I began immediately after watching the film, so we are talking 15 years ago. I drove home that night in some light snow which I took as a sign and made it to my bachelor’s pad and stayed up all night. During that time period I was really into mushrooms, so I popped some stems and was set. I researched the story, I watched the play and got the soundtrack to both the film and the play, took some voice notes. By the next morning I was chopping samples from the soundtracks and creating the foundation for the transformation I had already started.

This was Christmas time and I was in a very dedicated, determined point in my career with a super clear mindset as well as a very open schedule to do so, and with that combination I was finished with the beats and most of the writing by the new year, about ten days later.

I was trying to align the completion of my work with the run in the cinema, but by the second week in January the Burton film wasn’t in theaters any more, so I felt less urgency for it however I recorded the entire project at Iconoclast Studios the same week as Valentine’s Day, which gave me motivation to put some really nice finishing touches on the project, mainly the biggie sample at the very end, which I believe is a mandatory finish.

Alas, that wasn’t really the completion. My record label, Mightier Than The Sword Records decided to release the 6 track project exclusively on MYSPACE. Remember we are talking 2008 now. The Burton film was set for a DVD release around the same time at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, which was my home away from home for 5 years. We set up a booth there and gave away 1500 physical copies of the album, directed interested parties to Myspace and then that was it. Myspace was dying anyway and the project ended up being a ghost. A urban legend, lol. Before I blinked 5 years went by and I was living in China and even I forgot the project existed in my catalog and really didn’t even act like it was there either. Through artistic death and rebirth, it was an orphaned project of mine, one of many.

Then I blinked again and it was 3 more years, I was living back home in NC and an opportunity arose for me to become a presence in Charlotte again. So I started doing selective shows as a guest M.C. Or with label mate Tenacious in the QCHH circuit in late 2015 and early 2016 and by mid 2016 was ready for my next transcendence as Ty Bru, which among other things reminded me about how precious my Sweeney Ty project was.

A unique opportunity landed on my lap with an area group that was hosting a different kind of hip hop show, more of a Halloween vibe where theatrics were encouraged. So I made the decision that I would put together a very immersive and ambitious performance together for this night and make it a “one night only” Sweeney Ty performance, so in October 2016, along with a handful of performers and entertainers we did the 17 minute project in its entirety twice and it was filmed by professional videographers (Odell Payne & Chandler Solomon). We also used that night as our official release of the SWEENEY TY album/EP and placed it on all current platforms.

Then again….it was an orphaned project. A ghost of the past, but no through any real decision of ours. The night was filled with tremendous unforeseen obstacles and disasters, from last minute venue changes, the stage being half the size of what we were promised from the other venue, dressing rooms in the middle of the venue roped off with makeshift materials, our equipment being moved and unplugged throughout the performances, lights that were non existent during our second performance, more equipment of our tossed around and broken, like memory cards, cameras and laptops shattered and pre show rehearsals in the parking lot…the night was not one that had fond memories. We salvaged what we could and got out of there as fast as we could and tried not to look back. I kept the files until last year where I felt it might be a good time to do a 5 year anniversary of the performance, but stopped because of the feelings it brought me.

However this year I felt like it was the year to make it happen, 15 years later exactly from the inception point of my Sweeney journey. So in this aspect it could be considered a completion, for now at least. It was a tough journey to edit all of those angles and all those feelings rush back that we had that night. Most of the people that were involved in the Sweeney Ty performance are in very different places in their lives, some that were involved in the other acts or behind the scenes have even fallen in such a dark place because of that night and honestly a lot of things completely fell apart for a lot of people, but the whole night was filled with superior performances and we can’t deprive the world of that so as we prepare to show this to the world we don’t really know if this is the completion or if we have one more in us.

It feels like you have a lot of animosity toward what you call the completion. Is there any peace you can find knowing that it’s finished?

Of course, there is tremendous peace in that. Actually earlier this week I was overthinking everything way too much like I have been known to do as of late. I thought this video project would be garbage and maybe unusable. I really had to talk myself into a mindset where I was just as determined as I was when I started making the beats and writing. So there were a ton of internal talks with myself and reflection of who I am now versus who I was in 2007 and even in 2016.

When I started realizing I could use this as a point to better understand myself and improve my mental state along with finishing something that so many people really poured a lot of their souls into for 6–8 weeks I reached the finish line sooner. I really wish I would have filmed my reaction to the final edit after it was rendered and I was watching it for the first time. I should have never had any doubts in my mind. Through all the shit and storm that was going on all around that stage, we were giving the world the most beautiful art and I can honestly say I am proud that we were able to deliver in the face of that and am reminded that exactly what it’s like to be an artist. BUT, I still have a vision for the future of Sweeney Ty that needs to be realized, so like I said, “completion?” who really knows, maybe 2027 we will come up with something else.

Where can they watch or hear the music?

On Christmas Eve 2022 at 5pm, you can watch TY BRU: A NIGHT IN CHARLOTTE WITH SWEENEY TY

TY BRU: A Night In Charlotte With Sweeney Ty (Full Video)

And you can listen or purchase the album here

Sweeney Ty by Ty Bru (

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