I paid my NYU tuition with a music business I started in high school


  • Sam Guyton paid his school fees with money from a music business he started in high school.
  • Today, he is the 23-year-old owner of Vali Entertainment, a corporate entertainment company.
  • He explained how he started a thriving high school and new business during the pandemic.

Sam guyton has music and entrepreneurship in their blood. It was only a matter of time before Guyton, the child of a musician father and real estate agent mother, stood out.

In high school, Guyton and a few friends started a band called Generation Z. The band performed at events around Guyton’s hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and provided sound and lighting equipment at the venues. to earn extra money at each event.

Guyton, now 23, graduated from New York University’s Music Business Program in May 2021. He used the savings from his performances and equipment work to pay for his music costs. tuition, which stood at $ 53,310 in 2019, according to NYU.

Guyton has since bought Vali Entertainment, a New York City corporate entertainment company that supplies orchestras, bands and DJs to weddings, festivals and private parties around the world. He said he couldn’t share details of the deal since the company is still in the process of transitioning to his name.

It also renovates and rents collective housing and forms an eponymous brand, Guyton Entertainment.

Guyton spoke to Insider about his experience as a young entrepreneur and how he had found success in the fierce music industry. The interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Guyton started a music business when he was in high school.

Guyton started a music business when he was in high school.

Sam guyton


Use one business to fuel the next

I grew up in a musical household. My father is a full time artist. I attended shows five nights a week, just hanging out backstage. For much of my childhood, I thought, “I can’t do music. That’s what my dad does.”

In high school, I danced, sang and taught myself to play the guitar. I started a band called Generation Z, and we first performed at school gatherings, but soon moved to local venues around Milwaukee. Back in my senior year, we were starting a business out of this group we started in high school – every kid’s dream.

For about two years, I saved all my income and eventually bought my own sound system, which is the sound equipment and the light show. With this investment, I was not only paid to be a singer, but also to produce. I focused on making the most of every opportunity at hand.

Guyton playing with his father.

Guyton playing with his father.

Sam guyton


Working hard leads to new opportunities

I moved to New York blindly – had never seen the city before moving into my dorm. I quickly realized that my education was not really suited to musical creation but to the business behind it.

While studying business, I always wanted to perform. I became a bar mitzvah dancer, attended jam sessions on MacDougal Street, and eventually auditioned and landed a full-time role with Vali Entertainment.

As COVID-19 has put ongoing stressors on the business, I could tell it could be a time of transition for the business. So I made it clear to the previous owner that I would be ready to take up the torch one day. After weeks of back and forth negotiations, I bought the company. I will officially take over in early 2022.

Guyton (center) with members of the group.

Guyton (center) with members of the group.

Sam guyton


Merge worlds to create something new

In the midst of COVID-19, I moved to Milwaukee and started reading books about money and investing, which led me to invest in real estate. I own and rent a seven-family house near Milwaukee and am currently renovating a second. The money I earn as an owner keeps me working on music.

While in Milwaukee, I started a second group with friends back home. The new group After Dark and Generation Z are now operating under my new company, Guyton Entertainment, which I modeled after Vali. Now that I run both Guyton and Vali, it’s my mission to merge the two.

Generation Z performance.

Generation Z performance.

Sam guyton


It’s really exciting to start something new and use all of my acquired experiences and skills to facilitate growth. I have learned in recent years that in order to fulfill my passions, I have to work for myself, I have to create for myself. But it’s funny – as an entrepreneur I have so many ideas that I sometimes have to hold back.

My biggest tip for anyone looking to start something new is to go into anything that is neutral. We must let others speak. You have to listen. We have to collaborate. It all comes down to steps, and each step you take in the process will bring you closer to doing what you love.


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