Independent music artist finds strength in death

By Jaime Greco |

Kyle Hickey, 20, found inspiration in death.

His whole life, Hickey was interested in the music industry. “Not limited to just the industry though, I love the sound of life in general. To me, it’s an amazing thing how we’re capable of hearing and capturing such beautiful sounds,” he said.

From a small rural town called Elkton, Md., “I used to always wonder what it would be like to actually have people listen to and enjoy what I have to say,” said Hickey.

In sixth grade, Hickey began writing poetry. While balancing school, sports and his writing, his poetry took a back burner until 10th grade when he had more time to structure his own songs and lyrics, choose instruments and develop his own style.

“I’ve learned that what separates a good artist, who gains and keeps fans, from an artist who doesn’t make it, is uniqueness,” said Hickey.

After a year of persistent writing and practicing, Hickey downloaded a free recording software and began capturing his sounds on an inexpensive rock band microphone. “I immediately fell in love with recording. I love everything about it,” said Hickey.

Hickey worked closely with his friends, mostly just practicing and getting used to the software.

“At the time it was nothing serious. We would write some lyrics and make song after song,” said Eric Kluge, 20, a friend of Hickey’s since childhood.

Kluge’s father, John Kluge, was a talented musician and always had music equipment around during Hickey and Eric Kluge’s childhood.

But Hickey’s passion was growing. “Even the troubleshooting never bothered me because I knew I was learning and becoming better at doing it. I spent most nights in high school up late recording new songs,” said Hickey.

Then, on Dec. 14, 2008, John Kluge passed away.

“Eric and I are boys. We’ve been practically family for the past 10 years. The death of his father was a tragedy for both of us. Although it was such a huge pain for us both, we found the good in it,” said Hickey.

John Kluge left all of his music equipment to Eric Kluge. Hickey and Eric Kluge went through the equipment a few weeks after John Kluge passed away. One of their finds was a high end MXL condenser microphone.

“It was the nicest microphone I’d ever come across at that time. We saw it as a huge sign to keep making music,” said Hickey.

“Everything we did was in memory of my dad so it felt right,” said Eric Kluge.

The microphone, however, wasn’t working. Hickey began teaching himself how to troubleshoot and solve technical problems. “I work constantly until I have good sound,” said Hickey.

The first year was a crucial year for him to prove to himself that he had what it takes. He says he always wants more and doesn’t let glitches and troubleshooting stand in his way.

“I always remind myself that it was literally just two years ago when I really started getting into my own productions, and I’m already introducing excellent quality to the industry,” said Hickey.

Through the struggles of losing John Kluge, Hickey and Eric Kluge grew “closer to God and felt confident in doing the things we were passionate about,” said Eric Kluge.

When Hickey and Eric Kluge started college, Eric Kluge became persistent in his passion for lacrosse and Hickey kept up with his music.

In 2010, Hickey took his first audio production class at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md., where he was introduced to a professional studio.

“I bought a top of the line audio digital audio workstation called Pro Tools, and started working again day and night getting more familiar with it,” said Hickey.

Every step he took in improving his music was a huge step, Hickey said.

“His skill and passion dramatically evolved. To look at him now, is motivation considering where we started. The kid has so much passion and drive, it’s ridiculous,” said Eric Kluge.

Hickey continued to make a name for himself, developing his stage name, Hickey Boy, and his production company, Hickey Boy Productions, booking gigs throughout Maryland and Delaware, and selling studio time to other locals who are interested in recording.

In October 2011, Hickey found an opportunity to relocate to Orlando, Fla. for more opportunities to make something of himself.

Timmy Evans, a friend of Hickey’s from high school, invited him to move into an extra room he had in his apartment in Orlando. The move was made just a few weeks later.

“If you want something in life, you have to go get it, not sit around and wait for something to work out. My move to Orlando was huge for me. It’s the next step to my career,” said Hickey.

Hickey had his studio unpacked, and up and running in Orlando in just a few days. He has been working day and night on new songs. “I’m putting together a mix tape right now called ‘Reason for Leaving’ scheduled to drop on New Years Day,” said Hickey.

From an inexpensive microphone, Hickey took inspiration from the death of a friend’s father. “I’ve come a very long way, but it didn’t happen overnight,” he said.

For other independent artists, you have to believe in yourself 100 percent, have faith, and really want it, said Hickey.

“I don’t sit around and wonder ‘what it would be like if….’ I work hard until actually figuring out ‘what it feels like when…’ and that’s what every independent artist needs to do,” said Hickey.

“Anything he puts his mind to is achieved. I am very confident in his work, and know that he will be very successful in whatever he puts his heart and mind to,” said Eric Kluge.

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