music management

Turning My Greatest Struggle into Success

In the fall of 2012, I became ill very unexpectedly.  Having been a professional athlete for many years, taking care of my health was always very high on my list of priorities.  Sure, I’ve had to nurse myself back from a number of sports-related injuries, but nothing could have prepared me for just how sick I got that September.  

I was on the basketball court when suddenly started to feel an allergy attack coming on.  I also felt a pain unlike anything I experienced in my chest, so I went to the nearest hospital.  I was treated by the emergency staff for an allergy attack and given a steroid for treatment.  In a very unfortunate twist of fate, I wasn’t given the proper dosage of the drug, and this sent my body into complete tailspin.  For the next two to three years (and even still today), I dealt with anxiety and other health issues I couldn’t understand much less even begin to explain.  I could no longer play basketball.  I couldn’t focus on my personal business.  I couldn’t maintain friendships.  I spent every day just trying to get through the day and exist.

I left LA for Denver in early 2013, to get treatment and seek to restore my health at Muscle Pharm, where there was a top-notch doctor (Dr. Kim) who said he would work with me to reclaim my life.  Little did I know this move to Denver would change my world again, but this time, in a good way.  I reconnected with a college friend who was part of a local Denver hip-hop group, Top Flite Empire.  Although the group achieved a great level of success in the local hip-hop scene, they were looking to get their music beyond Colorado.

Music has been my greatest passion since I was young.  In 2006, when I was playing basketball in Australia, I met Simone "Boss Lady" Kapsalides.  At the time Simone was an up and coming journalist, having founded Urban Hitz, Australia and New Zealand’s highest selling on-sale urban music and culture magazine.  I wrote a few pieces for the magazine and Simone and I became great friends.  When she moved to New York to further advance her journalism career, I used to visit her every summer, meeting and mingling with her colleagues in the industry.

When I decided to venture into music management, Simone put me in touch with  some of the very best in music.  I established Fogo Management Group that same year, and since then have signed one more artist, Sabryna, and created an educational music conference, Proximity Music Conference, which is now hosted in partnership with Sony/Blueprint/Maverick.  

If I hadn’t gotten sick, I'm not sure I would have left the basketball court to start a new career in music.  Despite the hardship, music became a silver lining to the most difficult time of my life.

Build Your Network

One of the keys to success in any business is building a network.  I have found, time and time again, that my global network, is one of the most valuable assets of my business.  


But why is it so important?  Industry connections, regardless of what line of business you are in, cannot only help you to establish yourself in an industry, but they serve as a primary means for helping you grow.  There is so much knowledge in the world, and there is almost no unchartered territory when it comes to business these days.  What does this mean?  There are a lot of individuals out there in the world who have already tried and failed, who have amassed a lot of knowledge and who know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  These are the individuals that can help you along as you clear a path for yourself.


The music business is no exception.  Have you ever heard someone sing that was just so talented and amazing you couldn't believe they weren't up on a stage singing to a crowd of thousands?  While there are some stories of random discovery out there, by and large individuals in the music industry build networks and seek talent by leveraging relationships they have with others in the industry.  If you want to make it, whether you aspire to sing or dance or be a personal assistant or stylist, you need to know key people in the industry who can help you make inroads.


The difficulty with networking in music is that many of those industry people are simply not reachable.  Consumers of urban music have almost zero access to the music industry as a whole, and if they do not reside in such music markets as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Atlanta, or Nashville, they have almost no chance of creating a role for themselves within the industry. Without a role, they cannot fully have an opportunity to participate in the systems, which their dollar and their choice help to create. 


Urban individuals only have access to the industry in remote cases when they personally know someone already working in the industry or if they attend a music conference, which can cost upwards of $5,000 for a weekend. A majority of the “urban music” demographic cannot afford to attend the average music conference; however, attendance at an industry conference or seminar is one of the best ways to further a career and/or business. Conferences are designed to help participants amass usable content on a variety of relevant subjects and keep attendees up-to-date with the latest changes occurring within the industry. Furthermore, conferences provide the best opportunity for networking.


To find out what Fogo Management is doing to help make the music industry more accessible to artists and those pursuing careers in the music business, stay tuned for our next blog!