(Original Photo By: Timothy Chaily)
Have you ever been on an airplane and heard the flight attendant say, “Be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs”? It’s an interesting phrase. You can take it in the literal sense or you can apply it to your daily life as well. So what exactly does this mean? In order to successfully help others, we need to make sure that we help ourselves first. Selfish? Nah. In fact, it’s selfless, as long as you have the right intentions. Think about the impact you can have on your family and friends if you just take some time to focus on yourself first. So many of us forget to do that. For 21-year-old, Kazi Sorrentino, he has realized just how important this is in order to help his family live a better life.
Having financial freedom was always his biggest dream. Growing up, Kazi’s family struggled to make ends meet. This lack of money and access to resources has fueled him to work hard and earn a comfortable living. Not only does he want to create a better life for his family, but for everyone else around him as well. He wants to make a profit by doing what he loves. Sound familiar to a lot of our own stories out there? Yes. Our generation is notorious for going against the status quo. We have more entrepreneurs than the world has ever had before. We want to think for ourselves and not be constricted creatively. If we don’t love something, we won’t do it. Older generations might see this as being entitled, but really we just want to live a life that we love. It’s incredible. This is exactly what Kazi has done with his own life. What Kazi has done in 21 years is nothing short of amazing. When he was 18, he worked at Chase and started his first business. At the end of his first year he exceeded over $100,000 in sales. Right before he turned 21, his company did over a million dollars in sales. He is now the CEO of Omicon Entertainment, a full service entertainment company in New York. Omicon is the source of entertainment brands including “I’m Shmacked” and “Electric Flurry”. Its parent company, Omicon Inc. owns the Majority shareholdings in both Omicon Entertainment and 7 Star Group of New York, Inc.
New York City has over 800,000 college students. 800 THOUSAND. It’s no wonder nightlife thrives in this area. However, Kazi has found it difficult to find venues in The Big Apple for his events. This is because there is still a negative connotation between “EDM” and drug/rave culture in NYC. Additionally, since there is an abundance of event producers and venues in the area, there is a lot of competition to book certain talent. For example, some of the bigger venues such as Pacha or Webster Hall have exclusive access to the big talent. Lastly, when he first began this journey…he lacked capital. He specifically recalls two back-to-back shows in August 2013: Machine Gun Kelly w/ Styles & Complete (an “I’m Shmacked” show) and ASAP Ferg w/ ASAP Rocky. Both shows cost well over $70,000. At the time, Kazi was throwing these shows all on his own. Due to hard work and support from those around him, both shows were a success. However, this is when he realized it was time to establish a team and distribute the workload.
With the help and advice of his mentor and investor, Engr. Mehedi Hasan, Kazi went from having two employees to over 15. He now runs a full-time operation in Wall Street with his COO, Kyle Wolter. He handles a new client almost every day, has over 150 brand ambassadors, and manages artists as well (two of which once included ZAXX and Jai Wolf). Additionally, he is expanding into the technology field by working on a nightlife application set to release late April/early May to shake up the nightlife and dance music industry. With this application, Omicon Ent. has partnered with over 20 nightclubs to give the millennial generation an easy way to locate and purchase tickets to all available events in NYC. Remember, this is all at the young age of 21. Even though he lacked connections and financial resources at first, Kazi is finding a way to make a name for himself in such a saturated market. People travel from all over the East Coast for his events.
His life journey has not always been riding cloud nine, though. Upon graduating from high school, he tore his ACL and MCL and underwent surgery. Just months later he and his girlfriend broke up. He said, “This was a huge low in my life because I was always in good health and had great support from parents and friends. I felt like I hit rock bottom because I was on bed rest for awhile, went to rehab, and had no one to really talk to on a consistent basis.” This was during the time when a lot of his peers were starting college and/or internships and making new friends. He felt helpless. However, he didn’t stay down for too long. He quickly learned that he should enjoy every living moment of life. He has remembered this lesson as his life has become busier. He thinks that too many people take life too seriously, work too hard, and do not “live enough”.
Kazi has realized just how blessed he has been with incredible opportunities. This is mainly because he treats everyone as an equal. He does not ignore messages, never writes anyone off, and has never burned any bridges. He wants to give everyone an equal chance to communicate with him and create opportunities for others to have the same chance as he did. He hopes that his inspiration encourages others to approach him and change their own lives. According to Kazi, his network of friends has been the most important factor in seeing his dreams come to fruition.
In addition to helping his loved ones, he would also like to change the American schooling system since it is so flawed. Some students are paying upwards of $50,000 per year and graduate with a large amount of debt. It takes some students their entire lives to pay off this debt. Therefore, he would like to decrease the cost of higher education. He says, “90% of parents believe that going to school is the only way to find the right career path and make a living.” While this is true in some cases, some of the most successful people in this world do not even have a college degree. He has employees that are in college and tell him that working in his office has helped them learn more than school. He thinks that there should be a way to have all college students learn “on-the-job” and should be put in real life situations.
So, he wants to invest in early stage startups and encourage/help younger kids to pursue their dreams earlier on in life. His plan resembles the Thiel Fellowship, which brings together some of the world’s most creative and motivated young people, and helps them bring their most ambitious projects to life. Thiel Fellows are given a grant of $100,000 to focus on their work, research, and self-education while outside of university. Visionary thinkers, investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs mentor these students and provide guidance and business connections that can’t be replicated in the classroom. Kazi would like to create something similar that gives kids a taste of the real world.
Kazi’s current life is everything he has ever dreamed of because not only does he wake up every morning loving what he does, but he also is financially stable enough to help out many people around him. He is a living testimony that hard work and passion will lead to a richer and more fulfilling life.
Kazi can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @KaziSorrentino
Don’t miss what he is calling his biggest show with I’m Shmacked featuring AraabMuzik on April 18th at Amazura in New York, where he expects to 4,000 attendees. You can buy tickets to the show here: www.imshmackednyc.com