- Review: “Machete Kills”
- Concert Review: HAIM
- How to be best-in-state at the fair
- The spirits of Denton
- A living canvas
- UPC music series brings South Carolina singer to UNT
- Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers
- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
- Recap: Getting wet at Canned Festival
- Violist to perform at Voertman Hall recital
Alum starts charity music promotion company
UNT alum Jamal Petillio is a dreamer. He sets a lot of goals for himself – it’s his favorite thing to do right now.
Jokingly, Petillio said that he hopes to “take over the world,” with his two main ventures, Project Next and Oliver Elder. Project Next is a networking and promotion hub for creative people, while Oliver Elder is a men’s lifestyle brand and online magazine.
“A lot of my focus right now is networking and building a solid network of super creatively-inclined people,” Petillio said. “Whether it be musically or artistically, whatever they do, I just want to build a solid network.”
When it really comes down to it, building an empire in the metroplex isn’t his only concern.
“My goal is to stay out of trouble and of course all of the normal stuff like keep money in my pocket and save money,” he said. “Be the best guy I could be.”
Born in NYC, raised in Texas
Petillio was born in New York City and moved to Arlington at the age of nine, and has been based there ever since.
“It’s crazy. It’s New York City,” he said. “Who wants to leave New York City?”
At Martin High School, Petillio was a member of the step team.
“That’s how I decided to express myself creatively,” he said. “I was the step master, so I was in charge of making up steps and putting together formations.”
To pay the bills, Petillio is a Client Benefit Specialist at CVS Caremark in Irving. His job duties require him to set up deductibles and co-payments for people with healthcare plans. Prior to working at CVS, he spent his days at Fidelity Investments.
“I lost my mind. I was there for eight months and went crazy,” he said. “I felt complacent. I felt stuck.”
It was at the job he loathed that he got the idea for Project Next.
Project Next was initially an event which featured R&B and hip-hop musicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The first event, which was at The House of Blues in Dallas during March of last year, had three DJs and a handful of artists.
“It was cool, seeing all the different kinds of people there,“ Petillio said.
The artists that were on the bill included Ben Cina, Charles “The Wordsmith,” Rudy the Maestro and headliner D. Hayes. All of the artists are UNT alum.
“He had a vision of trying to bring the artists in the DFW area together that were doing their thing,“ D. Hayes said. “He wanted to give them a platform to showcase their talents.”
Petillio managed D. Hayes as an artist when they attended UNT together. The first project they released was an EP called “Lost In Translation,” which came out in December 2010. The second was called “No Stage Name,” released in November 2011.
After the successful first event, Petillio was in need of somebody to design the flyer for the next event at the House of Blues in Houston.
A friend recommended Petillio to interdisciplinary art and design studies senior Maricela Diggs.
Petillio said that Project Next is in a transition phase. He sees it as ultimately being a showcase for any type of creative person in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, whether they’re an artist, designer or a musician.
“It started out as a concert and I still work with artists,” Petillio said. “I’m also trying to build up graphic designers, stylists and people who do fashion.”
The Next Steps
The current project Petillio and Diggs are working on is Oliver Elder.
“It’s not necessarily an Issuu,” Diggs said. “It’s a modern day GQ, Men’s Heath and Complex Magazine for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.“
It will be featured online and discuss fashion, health, politics, business and relationship information in an artistic manner, Diggs said.
“It’s all done by regular guys in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Diggs said.