I recently got the chance to do a short interview with a humble guy who is making huge moves in the industry. Hovain Hylton works in managing the careers & dreams of Troy Ave & Ricky Hil along with his business partner & friend Sickamore. In a day and age where most people want the spotlight Hovain shows that there are other sides of the game that can be fullfilling, & just as important as the front man. Here are the inspiring words he had for us.
Kare: Growing up, were you interested in going into artist management?
Hovain: You know what I definitely wasn’t at all, I always knew I wanted to be involved in music in some fashion, whether it was rapping, A&R’ing or something, it had to be music related.
K: What were some of the steps taken to get into your current position?
H: Well it wasn’t as complex as you may think. I started out A&R’ing for @TroyAve and when he had got a situation with Butch Lewis (rip) who had a deal with Def Jam he hired me, because of all the work I did with Troy. He (Butch) was like, “this young guy really knows what he is doing”. After that, I met my business partner/friend @Sickamore and he had a dope company called The Famous Firm & I went on to work with him. A while after we decided to do away with the company in that form (but it still exists) and we were the only ones left, so we moved on to other plans and deals together
K: Who were some of the artists you grew up listening to, and, who do you listen to now?
H: Growing up I listened to Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, Wu-Tang, Bootcamp Clique, NWA, Snoop Dogg, EPMD, the list goes on. I really used to love music and had older sisters and brothers who played all types of music for me. These days I listen to Troy Ave, Rich Hil, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, The Weeknd & Fabolous, there are a few others I like here and there.
K: What makes a great day and what makes a bad day for you?
H: A great day would be progress, my daughter being happy, a deal being made, a cheque or wire deposit. A Bad day would definitely be a waste of time and/or money and repeat mistakes.
K: Has there ever been a point in your life thus far where you created your own music?
H: Yeah I used to rap a little bit lol not a lot of people knew that, my real close friends and family did. I guess every one does now lol I was nice though I swear lol.
K: Lol Might need you to dig up an old song one of these days, What was the rap alias?
H: John Street. Look out.
K: You & Sickamore manage @TroyAve (along with @hofonsmash) and @RickyHil. What was it about these two that made them the right fit?
H: With Troy Ave he’s a hard worker and very bright person overall, I could not talk to him for a few hours or a day and he wont miss a beat. With Ricky Hil (we changed it to Ricky not Rich any more) I love his freedom and how he’s true to his self, he’s also a had worker and he trusts me 100%, we work really well together, we don’t get in each others way.
K: Has growing up in Brooklyn affected the way you view business?
H: Of course it has! Brooklyn in its self is a business class, it teaches you so much, how to deal with different types of people and how to see BS from 10 miles away lol.
K: Which is a true talent these days lol.
K: You are a very professional person and seem to dedicate a lot of time to your work, when do you find time for yourself and what do you do for fun?
H: Luckily for me, some of this is really fun, like when we go to clubs and the partying, going on tour is very very fun. So, I try to enjoy my work. With my free time I hang out with my family, thats fun for me. I have a 2 year old named Brook Lynn (that’s how Brooklyn I am) and I love being with her. I like to do the regular stuff to like a good restaurant, a little shopping, watch some sports, maybe a little 2 day Vacation, things like that.
K: What are some of the things that keep you inspired and motivated?
H: In this Game I’ve had the privilege to meet some very successful people, so seeing what they do 1st hand is amazing. Joie Manda (President of Def Jam) Sickamore (Def Jam A&R) Hip Hop (Founder of hip hop since 1978), it keeps you humble and motivated. Also all the dope things Karen Civil is doing, I couldn’t leave that out. I always want more for my self and my family, I also know I’m one of the best and I’m not going to be happy until every one else realizes that lol.
K: What are 3 things that everyone should know about you?
H: I love my family, I work hard, I believe in God.
K: I recently saw you got your model game started with the Brooklyn Nets lol how do you feel about the new Barclays Centre and how do you feel they will do this year?
H: Yeah I just got off the phone with Ford Modelling Agency they wanna sign me up.
K: Whoa, really?
H: Haha nah! I think its very dope, a great win for Brooklyn and also the Nets. I’m happy that it’s going to put the spotlight on my hometown and also bring jobs and great energy. The Centre is great, the staff is great, Troy Ave and I have our pictures hanging in the Adidas store there which is crazy. The fact that Jay-Z had a hand in bringing it here is icing on the cake. He’s from Brooklyn and he comes from the same upbringing as me, like people forget, HE USED TO HAVE TO SELL CRACK! It’s like he said “the Nets can go 0-82 and I look at you like that s**t’s gravy”.
K: Thanks for talking with me Hovain, last thing, what advice would you like to give others who hope to be in a position like yours someday?
H: Well, it would have to be stay true to yourself, work extremely hard and believe in God.
Follow @Hovain on twitter.