A huge part of living life and being free is finding a career doing something you're absolutely passionate about. That's exactly what BMX maestro Nigel Sylvester has done with his life. He started riding a bicycle as a young kid in Queens, NYC and two decades later, he's one of the most respected and skilled BMX riders on the scene. He's also fully in-tune with everything new and fresh happening in lifestyle, fashion and music. It's no wonder that he is signed to Nike and affiliated or endorsed by major brands like Gatorade, Beats by Dre, G-Shock, Brooklyn Machine Works and Animal Bikes.
We caught up with him recently in Brooklyn - see our Q&A below:
First off, where are you from and when did you first start riding?
I was born and bred in Queens, NY. I started riding bicycles when I was 6-years-old in my grandmother’s driveway.
When did you realize that you could make it more than a hobby and you could ride your BMX bike for a living?
I realized I could make BMX more than a hobby right when I received my first amateur sponsorship at 17-years-old.
In your mind, what’s the relationship between BMX and Hip-Hop/Street culture?
For me BMX and Hip Hop go hand in hand. Hip-Hop has had such a positive influence on my life, I carry those lessons with me wherever I go and apply them daily.
You are currently signed to Nike – what exactly does that entail?
Yes, I’ve been signed with Nike for 8 plus years and it’s been fantastic. Being a Nike athlete has changed my life, it has taught me so much about being a professional and provided me with a one of a kind platform to express myself.
Does your BMX career allow you to travel the world – if so, what are some of the favorite cities you’ve been to?
That’s one of the main benefits of riding BMX professionally it has afforded me to travel the world since I was 18 years old. I’m currently in Tel Aviv, Israel on a trip for G-Shock and it’s an amazing place. As far as favorite city, I would say Paris is one of my favorites in the world. It has a magical energy.
Also tell us about your own brand Pyradice – what are your plans for it?
Pyradice is a lifestyle brand my friends (Cheech & Ralphy Ramos) and I started it in 2013. It’s a platform that unifies our various thoughts/art forms, and it allows us to project them to the world.
At the recent MTV VMA awards you came through with Pharrell on the red carpet on BMX bikes – can you tell us a little bit about your project with him?
Yeah that was an incredible moment, red carpet, 20 BMX bike riders in Brooklyn! I signed with Brooklyn Machine Works last year which is a bike company Pharrell is part owner of. We used that moment to announce the news to the world. We plan on being a true contender in the bicycle industry.
Who are you favorite music artists you listen to for getting hyped?
Music is an everyday thing for me, I couldn't imagine a day without it. Right now I'm listening to Jay-Z, ASAP MOB, Meek Mill and Jhené Aiko just to name a few.
Lastly, for any young people out there trying to turn their passion into a successful career – what would you tell them?
Success doesn't come easy so be true to yourself, work smart, surround yourself with good people and stay dedicated.
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