Sky Gellatly had his dad backstage at the Lupe Fiasco concert, went running in NYC, and did a month’s worth of laundry when STATUS asked what’s been going on with him. For Sky, a concert and clean socks describe a “pretty productive Sunday.” If that’s how you define “productive,” then I dunno how we would ever aptly describe this fired up DJ (who’s now half of Soundclash, a project with Lupe Fiasco), director of strategy for Team Epiphany, manager of DJs and visual artists, former marketing director of sneaker store Flight Club, former editor for Details Magazine and MTV.com.
A google search comes up with this description: You’re the director for strategy for Team Epiphany, (former) director of marketing for sneaker store Flight Club, you manage the careers of DJ Neil Armstrong and photographer 13th witness, and you’ve contributed for several influential magazines. Tell me something I can’t find on google.
My first jobs out of college had nothing to do with marketing, journalism, or anything related to the global creative community. I was actually a college soccer coach for SUNY Institute of Technology in upstate New York and I was a teaching assistant for my Alma Mater’s English Department. During that first fall after graduating college, I was sleeping on a couch in my friend’s dorm room, and was sneaking into my college’s cafeteria to eat for free. My nickname was “The Godfather.” It was simultaneously pathetic and amazing. I am also 1/8th Filipino.
How was it like growing up?
Well, I’m an only child. And I have a weird first name. And then I had braces and went to an all-boys high school. And I grew up in the woods, off of a dirt road, but wanted to be Tony Hawk and Raekwon. I guess I did a lot of searching and discovering; all that I did was predicated on research and curiosity. As a kid, I collected Godzillas and Wolverine comics, read Thrasher, listened to Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy, and played soccer very competitively. My parents introduced me to art and music at a very young age; I was raised, more or less, as a little adult.
When you were starting to climb the ladder, how did you persuade people to listen to your ideas?
The power of persuasion only works after you’ve showed and proved. I got people to listen, I suppose, after I showed them that I knew how to talk and produce; that I was worth listening to.
“Leaders are learners.” What do you like to fill your mind with?
Well, because I lead strategy for a marketing agency, and manage the careers of DJs and visual artists, my mind is filled with photos, songs, and words. I am a ravenous editor of everything. My mind is filled with opinions.
We’ve heard you define “Influencer.” How do you define “cool”?
Knowledge is King.
I’m guessing your grooming the next in line. Tell me qualities that you look for in a young up-and-comer.
You need to be a college graduate. You need to be completely versed in social media. You need to be an athlete. You need to be an entrepreneur. You need to find me. And not just with an email—you need to find me. If you’re where I am, the idea of “right place, right time” can happen. I’m old school. What’s your body language, your posture, your ability to give an elevator speech? Great, you have a Tumblr account with photos from every Conde Nast magazine and 1990s rap albums. Can you hold a conversation?
Competition. Friend or foe? Explain.
You are your own worst enemy.
What did you ever pressure yourself in the past that you realized is not that serious after all?
You really should have asked me some dating questions…
What’s next for Sky? What do you still want to accomplish or learn one day?
I just want to make my parents proud, leave a mark on the creative community, stay happy, travel the globe, and eventually see Stevie Wonder, Dipset, and The Police in concert. Not all at once—I mean, that sounds like a horrible mixtape. Or, well, one of my DJ sets.
But in 2011, Team Epiphany is going to make some huge agency moves. I’m proud of where we are. It took a long time to get the clients that we have. We are a family. On the DJ side of things, I now co-manage DJ Neil Armstrong, DJ Josh Madden, and Young Guru. There’s much more to come from my DJ booking agency. And this year, Lupe Fiasco and I are going to start touring as a DJ duo. We are going to be all the way turned up. And we’re going to be creating some of our own music as well. Be on the lookout.
Apart from your portrait photo, send us photos (of anything—sneakers, blackberry, buildings, etc.) that best describes you.
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS July 2011 issue.