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Columbia College Chicago
Derrick Martin Hardy
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Derrick Martin Hardy

Derrick Martin Hardy

Derrick Martin Hardy – Music Business - Business & Entrepreneurship Alumnus

Derrick Martin Hardy (a.k.a. "Lottery") is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. He is from the South Side of Chicago and a proud graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Music Business Management.  He currently works at Motown Records & Universal Music Publishing Group/Urban. Derrick is also a Writer/Recording Artist and has been featured in the Chicago Redeye, Hip-Hop Weekly's Unsigned Hype, Jet Magazine and Ebony.

How did your experience in Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship department prepare you for your career?

The department prepared me for the real world.  I had teachers who's classroom settings were similar to the work place.  In fact, I always stood out at  internships/jobs because of the little things I learned from the department.  I knew that the margins on any document would be 1 inch all around, or how to do a quality Powerpoint presentation, or how to standout amongst other candidates for jobs.  I will never forget when I went to Columbia's "Semester in LA" program, our teachers would always say "Wow, Columbia has really trained you all well.  You can tell a Columbia student from the others." I attribute those sentiments to the Arts Entertainment and Media Management Department. In fact the "Semester in LA Program" is the reason I live in LA today.  That experience was very influential on my life.  Received my first song placement from that program. I also appreciate the way instructors prepped me or recommended me for jobs.  Most professors at Colleges don't go that extra mile to help you succeed.  I can say that I had the privilege to be in a department where they set you up for success.


Do you have any advice for current students?

The advice that I would have for students is simple.  STOP MAKING EXCUSES and CHANGE YOUR MINDSET!  Whenever I talk to students nowadays, they always have an excuse for everything.  It needs to come a point where you refuse to be denied.  If you are unhappy with your situation, change it.  I have had multiple doors closed on me, but I refuse to let that stop me from reaching my goal.  Too many people think that it is suppose to be easy.  You tell me the last time you saw an E! True Hollywood Story/Behind the Music episode where there was no struggle involved.  I have drove cross country to move to better situations with no money in my pocket.  I have slept on floors in the South, other peoples couches in South Central Los Angeles or been dead broke in Harlem, just so that I could follow my dreams.  I could have easily came back to a comfortable situation in Chicago, but I just have this "thing" in me that won't let me quit. The only person who stands in your way is YOU!


What are some of Columbia’s strengths?

Columbia has a lot of strengths.  I appreciated the fact that my teachers were actual industry professionals that knew first hand what they were talking about.  For example you could be in a class taught by Marcos Palacios one minute, then the next minute you look in Billboard and see that this guy knows what he is talking about because he has the hit records to back it up.  That's unique to have teachers like that.  The teachers also care.  I had teachers like Mary Filice that told me I wasn't living up to my potential and she pushed me.  I don't know if I graduate without that type of support system.  Mary, as well as other teachers, helped to change my mindset. I am very appreciative to all the instructors/administrators that I had. I also loved how diverse Columbia was.  It opened my eyes because up to that point coming from Inner City Chicago, I had never went to school with people from cultures different from mine.  In fact I remember being uncomfortable at first because it was all new to me.  I will say that the students at Columbia are quality people.  I have never been around so many caring/encouraging fellow students in my life.  I learned a lot from the students as well as from the teachers.  I still keep in touch with a lot of my former classmates to this day.  Another strength is Columbia's location.  Being in Downtown Chicago has it's perks. Beautiful views, the lake is minutes away and there is a great Indie scene happening around the campus.  Those types of qualities separate Columbia from most institutions of higher learning.  Chicago is a great city, where there is a lot to do.  I was never bored during my time at Columbia.