Troy Carter, The Gentleman Behind The Magic Of John Legend, Miguel And Lady Gaga Shares His Inspiring Story

| December 28, 2015 | 0 Comments


The more I read about Troy Carter the more intrigued I get. He has a remarkable rags to riches success story that is essentially the authentic “American Dream”. His story has been re-written many times by Hollywood screen writers:“Under incredible odds inner city kid with big dreams and little resources becomes ultra-successful”.

With each story however, if you look close enough, you can identify the one characteristic that makes the individual successful. In Carter’s case the one defining characteristic that can be identified as his strength is oddly his ability to be unbothered by failure.

At the age of two, Carter’s parents divorced. At the age of seven, his father, who had remarried, shot and killed his new wife’s brother after an argument, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Despite this, his father and step-mother stayed together, and after prison his father rebuilt his life, with Carter calling him “one of my real heroes.”

In 1990, at the age of 17, Carter dropped out of West Philadelphia High School in pursuit of a career in the music industry with his high school rap group 2 Too Many.

This is where things get interesting. Because according to statistics: urban black men who don’t graduate high school have a whopping 60% chance of going to prison.

And unlike the already told before stories of rap stars making it big with one hit record. His high school rap group “2 Too Many” didn’t catch their big break, despite eventually being signed by Will Smith and James Lassiter label WilJam Records.

However Carter’s dedication earned him a job as a personal assistant which schooled him on the tricks and trades of music management.

His company Atom Factory is credited for developing acts such as Eve, John Legend, Miguel and superstar Lady Gaga, who he helped launch through the internet with her very own social media site.

With such success Carter has quickly earned respect with his uncanny ability to spot and develop talent. In addition to artist management Carter’s an investor in more than 50 startups, from Uber to Dropbox, and has elevated himself to a fixture in the tech scene.

But from the naked eye it’s hard to identify this business and music industry mogul. Make no mistake however, beyond the thick dark rim glasses and the scrawny middle school looking grown boy appearance is a venture capitalist who credits himself as being a wolf in sheep clothing when it comes to his business acumen, that is as laser sharp as a shark’s teeth. In fact he was recently invited to swim with the sharks as a guest on the tv show the Shark Tank.

But, if we had to only identify just one trait from this successful urban gentleman who has an estimated net worth of $30 million it would be his mastery of fears. Although he posses several characteristics for success: confidence, determination, hard-working, being positive, ada ada… By taking a deep look at his journey we can easily identify his single most important strength:


As he has failed at every point in his career. But despite his failures, in each level he grows more tenacious and strong.

His ability to stay present, to make rational decisions just as things are going off the rails. To handle failure moments like a champion is his single most valuable skill.

That’s a skill he learned early. He watched his father pick up the pieces of his own life after getting out of prison for murdering his brother-in-law after a fight. And Carter’s seen other lows himself: When he was in his early thirties, his first big client—the rapper Eve, whom he had spent eight years building—walked into his office one day and cut him loose. He had nothing to fall back on. The loss put him close to bankruptcy. His house was foreclosed upon, cars were repossessed, and he barely had enough cash to fill his one remaining ride with gas.

Now, a few years after losing the global phenomenon that is Lady Gaga, Carter rises again, fearless. Even though when Gaga dumped him, he had 31 employees depending on him to sign their checks, including his wife, his brother, and his sister-in-law, all working for him, (plus his wife gave birth to a new baby girl—his fifth kid). Even when facing extreme adversity the come-back kid is not looking back and still totally UN-afraid of failure.


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Category: culture & society

About the Author ()

Darnell Moore has extensively studied music and urban culture both academically and professionally for over 20 years. His writings and posts have appeared in many major urban publications. Moore is the founder and creator of Memoirs of an Urban Gentleman. Contact him , or

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