One of Milford's hometown boys, David Lovett, graduated from Cairn University last weekend. But unlike his fellow elementary education classmates, Lovett will soon be living a fast-paced New York City lifestyle as an artist manager with a large Manhattan-based representation firm. Here, he discusses his Milford roots, staying true to his faith and his advice for others dreaming of a similar life.
Former Milford High School student David Lovett has a lot to celebrate this holiday season. First, he hit a major milestone last weekend when he graduated from Cairn University with a degree in both elementary education and biblical studies. Then, after a brief Christmas vacation back home in Milford, Lovett will embark on a new adventure as an artist manager with Manhattan-based Working Group Management, a company that represents groups like All American Rejects and The Ready Set.
The new job is a big deal, putting Lovett in back rooms with established names and up-and-comers in the music world. Billboard Magazine even recognized the significance of Lovett's accomplishments by mentioning his new position in its Oct. 13 print edition.
This week, despite having a schedule that gets busier by the minute, Lovett took some time to talk about his roots in Milford, the importance of his education and what he hopes to do next.
Q So, when you left Delaware and went off to school in Philadelphia, you were studying elementary education. Your new job seems light years away from that. How did all this come about?
A Yeah but the music part is my foundation. I started working with music when my family moved to Delaware when I was 15 years old. I started a small company back then called Rocker Booking and I was booking national touring artists at some of the smallest places in town. I wasn't doing anything crazy but I started hosting shows with acts from Maryland and all these people came. Even when I went to Del Tech to start my degree in elementary education, I was still extremely passionate with what I was doing with music. Then, about three years ago when I was in the middle of my college career, I started another small company with a friend to start booking nationally touring groups. And, that was my source of income during college. It was kind of my balance in college. I would go to class and in between I would be pulling out my laptop and checking my phone and working on this stuff all the time. So, when other students were going to basketball games, I was driving to New York to go to recording sessions. The music stuff was always there.
Q Was it a hard transition or was there an advantage to growing up in central Delaware?
A Well, in some sense being in a location like that was a huge advantage. There was almost no competition and the things I was doing were successful because of that. Things didn't pop up everywhere. Unlike in Philadelphia, where I can go to a show or plan a show but there might also be 50 other shows that same night all over the city. So, growing up down there, I was able to try things out and see the success of it and get an understanding for how all this works and how it can grow and be successful.
Q But, your background also includes a strong sense of faith, too. So, much so that you had a dual focus in biblical studies in college. I would imagine that the values of that world don't always match up to the world of artist management. How do you reconcile the two?
A It's been very, very interesting. The music industry, from my experience, is not a very friendly, easy-going industry. It's competitive and self-seeking. I honestly believe, though, because of what I believe and my faith, that it doesn't have to be like that and I don't have to be like that. I've always tried to make my work less about me and more about the people I'm working with and for. I've been told that I'm unlike anyone else in the industry because I'm kind, honest and trustworthy. So, my bosses told me that they never see that and it's a big part of the reason that they liked me and hired me. So, I think my faith and my philosophy has actually help me. It's allowed me to build trust with a lot of people when trust is often hard to come by in this industry.
Q So, as you move forward in the industry, what else do you want to do?
A I want to continue to develop into the publishing world. Mostly because, this summer I had a great experience with one of my artists. We did a joint venture with ABC, ESPN and the Disney Music Group and spent the summer at Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series. We were actually the artist that wrote the theme song for it and we were the band that everyone was watching play on the field. So, we got to do a ton of advertisements through ABC & ESPN. Then, we got to work with Disney Music Group and they put the single out on iTunes. And, I really want to take the network that I have through Working Group and develop into the publishing world. A lot of new people don't really understand publishing and how cool it can be to utilize it. I've also never travelled internationally so I hope to get to do that. And, I'd like to work with a diverse set of artists. A lot of who I work with comes from the pop world but I also have an interest in R&B.
Q The further you go, though, it seems like you might lose yourself or your roots. How will you stay grounded?
A First, let me say that even though it doesn't seem like it, I'm really not much of a city person. But, since my job requires me to drive into Manhattan often and will likely take me to places just as busy or busier, I keep my roots in the most basic and simple ways. I drive back to Milford a lot and see and spend time with my family. When we break for vacations, people always go off somewhere exotic. I'm always like, 'I'm going home. I just want to drive to Milford and see my family." Milford is a welcome escape for me.
Q Lastly, what advice do you have for Milford kids who dream of a life like yours?
A I feel like I've been climbing a ladder my whole life almost. This all started in Milford with the work I was doing and the interests I had there. Then, I relocated to Philadelphia and sort-of started all over. Then, it literally just transitioned right up to New York. It was a progression. But, I've always had this philosophy that it's not where you start out, it's where you end up. You might be somewhere that's not a nationally recognized city for what you're trying to do but you can progress up to a city like New York and be in the same office with someone like my boss, who's been doing this for longer than I've been born. So, it's all just about figuring out where you want to be moving towards that.