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madeincharlie: NXNE A Conversation With: October Very Own Founder...

By :Anwar Washington 0 comments
madeincharlie: NXNE A Conversation With: October Very Own Founder...


NXNE A Conversation With: October Very Own Founder Oliver El-Khatib 

The October’s Very Own (OVO) founder and Drake co-manager, who has helped turn OVO into a global brand, isn’t aloof or inarticulate — he’s just a busy guy who prefers the spotlight to be on the artist. 

“The craziest thing about the business is just the consistency,” he said at last weekend’s NXNE talk in Toronto. “It blows me away how consistent Drake is at the end of the day with his music. He’s pretty much the reason things are at where they’re at because for an artist you have your whole life to make your first project — in his case, which was ‘So Far Gone’ — but once you’re in demand, being an artist for real starts when you actually have to do it on command. Be artistic. Make songs. Now. It’s not so much like a hobby, ‘Yeah, when I’m ready I’ll get around to it.’ His ability to deliver again and again is what earned us the credibility and the following at the end of the day.”

The story of El-Khatib’s climb is, famous partner or not, as interesting as Drake’s. A high school kid inspired by the world of skateboarding and consumed by music became part of a DJ crew called the Lebanon Dons with eventual OVO co-founder and producer Noah “40” Shebib. At the time, however, El-Khatib was drawn to the fashion industry as a potential career, badgering his way into a volunteer position at downtown clothing store Lounge.

The job became full-time for El-Khatib, who never did graduate. As the store’s manager and buyer, he turned the tiny shop opposite MuchMusic television station into a hub. It was the place to stop by, not just to see check out the new Rocawear or other urban brands on the shelves, but to listen to the music playing and see who was hanging out. Lounge is where El-Khatib met Drake.

El-Khatib as “an enigma to the world of popular culture”: what is it Oliver does? What is he all about? He mentioned that the 27-year-old has developed an ”international cultural powerhouse” “in one of the unlikeliest cities in the entire hemisphere.” Though El-Khatib started just five years ago, he has been “firmly entrenched in Toronto’s urban cultural industries for over a decade. El-Khatib’s business dealings with Drake stem from their tight friendship and trust, which began back at the Lounge. He had Drake’s back. He also had a creative radar — for music, graphic design, art, fashion and lifestyle — that was holistic and, without even knowing it, forged a kind of interconnectedness that would become a brand. He was the designated blogger for OVO and he used it to provide original commentary, like an open diary.


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