"I can't wait to say I told you so, I knew all along..."
TJ Hickey is big. Yes, he is verified on social media, and also boasting 600,000+ plays on SoundCloud. But no, I mean the former hockey player is big. And translating that into his music, he has dominated in his lane and built a consistent following. Fresh off tour with Huey Mack, Dylan Reese, and Sammy Adams, he will soon begin the second leg of his fall tour with Futuristic.
UHH: As previously known by your fans, you are an avid sports fan with hockey being your forte. So why is music your chosen path?
TJ: I started making music as a joke in high school and went on to play college hockey at Union College. My first year, just a couple months in, I was cut and I had a lot of spare time on my hands so I started writing songs every day and fell in love with and it just kinda blossomed into this over time.
What are the differences in skill level or mindset between your debut album Happy Hour and your latest album Undeniable?
Damn, I think there's a HUGE difference. Happy Hour was my first real project and I was in college and it was all about partying and chicks, and I was just kinda being a college kid. Undeniable was more of a message that I wanted to share about rising above adversity to be not good, not great, but undeniable in the face of that adversity.
You have some pretty big features on your album, what was the process of working with Futuristic and Devvon Terrell?
So this whole business, just like every business, is really about networking. I met Huey Mack when he came to Boston. We made a record and he was touring with Cam Meekins, who grew up in Boston and then they added Futuristic to the tour. So we got to talking and Futuristic and Devvon are really close, so it was all working those relationships. Both those guys are going wayyyy up and I couldn't be happier for both of them. Both so talented. I'm back on the road with Futuristic in just a couple weeks.
After a stretch of shows with Huey Mack and like you said, the upcoming shows with Futuristic; walk us through what tour life is like for you.
In theory, every day is the same. You wake up in a hotel hungover as shit, you stumble into the bus trying not to pass out on and off on the way to the next venue. Grab food, do soundcheck, find a hotel, and shower then the show.. at the same time every single show is so different. Every night is a brand new experience and honestly, it's a surreal experience.
Working around some of the biggest names in underground/indie hip-hop, has that influenced you to stay independent?
Well, every situation and artist is different so as much as I'd like to stay independent, I'm not completely against sitting down with a label to hear them out. So as great as it is to see these independent guys doing so well, every artist is different.