Skip to main content

Zaytoven Reveals He Continued Barbershop Work After First Six-Figure Payday Because of Fear of Failure

“I ain’t even seen that much money at one time before, but I’m still at the barbershop.”
Zaytoven, 2018

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead before quitting your day job to pursue your passion, but in the case of the venerable producer Zaytoven, he took the idea to the extreme. 

In a new interview on the Producergrind Podcast, Zay revealed that despite having the No. 1 R&B/Hip-Hop song in the country (and a top-40 hit overall) with Usher’s 2010 hit “Papers,” and despite enjoying a $100k-plus payday, he continued to work a regular day job at a barbershop.

“My check from Usher [for "Papers"] was like $101,000,” he said. “My parents ain’t even seen that much money together. You know, I ain’t even seen that much money at one time before, but I’m still at the barbershop. I’m still at the barbershop because I still feel like ‘Man, that’s a blessing, that’s crazy I got that, but I know it’s over after this. I know I’mma fall off after this.’ That was my mindset. My mindset was like, I’m still gon’ keep cutting hair ‘cause, what if this don’t work out? I can’t really base my life on this right here.”

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Header--15-

“Let It All Out”: An Interview With PGF Nuk

PGF Nuk is the newest prodigy of Chicago drill. He breaks down his career journey for Audiomack World.

am-world-top10-july-16x9@2x--1-

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Get familiar with ASM Bopster, Kill Jasper, Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Dr. Grim, Ice Spice and more — all available for stream on Audiomack.

BOTW-16x9--6-

5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Drake, Asake, Kay Flock, Ckay, and FKA twigs delivered the best new songs of the week on Audiomack.

Practical perhaps to a fault, Zaytoven finally walked away from his work at the barbershop in 2013, when Migos released their hit single “Versace,” but only because of the scores of fans coming to the shop to snap a photo with the producer.

Zay cites his parents’ work ethic as his primary reason for keeping music as a “side hustle” despite the massive checks he had coming in. While his story may be a bit extreme, it does illustrate the importance of achieving a level of stability before diving head-first into your passions.

Or, as producer Supah Mario told us at the top of 2018, “You gotta know that you’re the shit before you even hit the fan.” Before Mario made his leap from janitor to full-time producer, he was also waiting on a proof of concept, some type of insurance that he wasn’t simply throwing his life away.

Creativity rewards patience, for sure, but it’s also important to know when to pull the trigger. 

Related

Will Smith Tells the Story About the First $1,000 He Made From Rapping

Every Rapper Needs to Hear Will Smith Tell the Career-Altering Story About the First $1K He Made From Rapping

"It was crazy. And I knew that I was never ever going to do anything that would stop somebody from handing me 10 $100 bills..."

DJBooth_logo2x

Zaytoven: "I Don’t Think We’re Trying to Create Timeless Songs"

The superstar producer argues that it's difficult to create "timeless" records when fans just want more, more, more.

DJBooth_logo2x

Poor DJ Khaled, He's Been Trying to Work with Eminem for Six Years

Khaled's collab portfolio is prolific, but there's one name that's been eluding him for years.