Matt Watson

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I originally started as an artist back in college recording mixtapes with Eddie Cypher, a producer from Chicago. I always knew I wanted to be on the business side, however, so I stepped away from recording. In late 2018 I met Hickman L.A. at a new job I had started. We joke all the time that I only worked there to meet him because I quit four months after I started. Me and Hickman L.A. began discussing his goals as well as how he wanted to attack them. As we were signing him up for A3C, which he performed in 2019, he asked me to be his manager and the rest is history. Along the way, my brother, Floe was attempting to accomplish the same goals as Hickman L.A. so I just implemented myself as his manager to which he accepted. Both of them have been a blessing to have as your first two clients because they know where they want to go and how they want to get there. Plus I get to work with my brothers every day.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

Definitely not. There have been major setbacks. Just this year after being booked to perform at SXSW it was canceled along with shows in California and Atlanta we had booked. We also are independent so there's no major resource for us to tap into hence we have to find our own resources and connections. We have entered a contest that I feel we have won hands down and been passed over due to several reasons. However, we keep our head down and stick to the script sort of speak. We understand that the late great Nipsey Hussle taught us that it's not a sprint to the finish line this is a life long marathon so we just keep running.

What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?

What I'm most proud of are the sacrifices that I've seen myself and our team make to get where we are. In 2018 when we started there was no merchandise website, we didn't have a connection with Headkrack from DishNation, nor did we book two major festivals in A3C and SXSW. It was just us a dream and a road map on how to achieve them. I don't allow us to deviate from that and that's what sets me apart. These aren't just artists to me they are really my family. Even if we weren't about to achieve these goals or walk this road we are on, I would still sacrifice for Hickman L.A. and Floe because they are my brothers before anything else. We have built a real family that can endure the highs and lows of this industry together.

How do you, personally, define success? What are your criteria, the points of interest you’re looking out for, etc?

To me success is simple. It is defined in your personal growth. If I was the same person I am now five years ago then, what did I achieve? And that's how I approach being a manager. I take the growth of artists personally and make sure that I'm growing with them. From making sure that each project has better production, better mixing and mastering, to making sure they are taking care of themselves spiritually, emotionally, physically. I've been blessed to know when they write something it is going to be on point so it is really about everything else that makes them go from being just lyricist to an all-around artist and both Floe as well as Hickman L.A. have far exceeded my expectations.

How do you, personally, define happiness, in general, for yourself, and others?

Being able to look yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and one of the most important things we were taught was to live with a clear conscience. That is how I approach happiness if my conscience is clear then everything else will line up.

As a manager, how do you handle your job and responsibilities for your client?

I handle Floe and Hickman L.A. each according to their own personality along with our individual relationships. I have known Floe since I was in high school so we have a relationship that has been built over a decade-plus allowing me to generally know what he is interested in and what he will pass on. With Hickman L.A. it's different because he already had this whole road map before me so I simply follow what he has put in place. Both of them allow me the freedom to speak for them in most cases and I always make sure that I convey precisely what they are trying to achieve.

What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?

I have no degree or background in music other than I love it. I honestly learn most things as I go but, there are plenty of training tools there. Steve Lobel has We Working University that has great interviews for you to reference plus I watch a lot of legends speak about success. The internet is a book of knowledge if you look for the right things.

Who were your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?

I'm a New York kid so you could probably guess my biggest influences starting with the Notorious one, Biggie, of course, Jay-Z but, my GOAT is Eminem. His music hit me differently coming up because I never knew how to vent my frustrations and I always wanted to be able to just say how I feel like he did with his music. Right now I listen to mostly indie artists. Hickman L.A. and Floe but, also Megan Jade, Nini Nicole, Eli, Nikki Pope out of London, Serious Godson, Zyaire Rosier, Cza Kalu, and Ghost from Houston, TX just to name a few. I like a few major artists but, I really prefer underground artists who push the envelope.

What are some of your goals this year?

We make slogans every year. 2020, was simple it was '"Twenty Money". That wasn't just about making money it was about using our money to make the right moves. 2021, will be " '21 Not Done" because we have so much left to grind for and achieve.

Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?

On the artist side J.Cole, Eminem, and Wiz or a few of the artists I mentioned on my Playlist. Producers Streetrunner who we have met but, haven't got to work with. Timbo and Swizz Beatz. I would also like to work with Tyler Perry studios to do the Hickman L.A. and Floe stories. Those are going to be dope movies one day!

What’s your favorite go-to order? (food-wise)

This is kind of cliche but, Pizza is my go-to when I order out.