To the executives who didn’t see my talent, this is what happened

To: The executives who didn't see my talent

From: Alex, "Big Lip" Chisholm (As told to Lauren Brill)

Do you want to become a better writer? Join our free writing workshop


To the executives who didn’t see my talent,

Mama would always say, “You are never  going to go up until you hit rock bottom because when you hit rock bottom there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Well, thanks partly to you, I hit rock bottom. But I didn’t stay there.

My dream to be on the radio started when I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, long before I met any of you.  Like most parents, my mom wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer but I always loved music. I have always been a DJ at heart, so I was determined to make it.

Alex in Philadelphia in 1994.

In fact, I had no plan B because if I did, I wouldn’t have worked as hard, knowing I had another option to fall back on. Instead, I just believed in myself, even though you all did not have any confidence in me.

When I graduated college, I was interning at a local radio station in Philadelphia while djing at clubs. I was making about twelve to fifteen hundred dollars a week. And that was  back in the late 90s. That’s around when I started approaching you all for jobs. You all saw me only as a mixer. When I told you I wanted to be an on-air announcer, you basically laughed in my face. You thought I was a joke. You didn’t see any potential in me at all.

Enter Your Email to Unseal Premium Content

Log in to The Unsealed or enter your email below and subscribe to our free newsletter to read the rest of Alex's letter
Alex says he always believed in himself.

I didn’t let you all stop me. I took a leap of faith, packed up my car and moved to Gainesville, Florida without even knowing where I would stay. The boss at Magic 101.3 was willing to give me a shot, paying me $250 a week. However, it didn’t last. I got fired in three months after regrettably saying something I shouldn’t have on the air.

I was too embarrassed to go back home. Plus, I still believed in myself. I knew I could make it work. A Jacksonville station had an opening, so I went there to interview but I didn’t get the job. I crashed at my cousins for a couple of days before his wife kicked me out. That’s when my rock bottom period began.

Homeless and living out of my car, I got a gym membership just so I had a place to shower.  First, I worked as a telemarketer, which was painful for me. Then, I started pushing around a cart and selling items. It was humiliating but I needed to save up enough money to get an apartment. That job led me to work for a company where I sold products door-to-door.  But after an incident where I got in a fight with a greyhound bus driver, I ended up moving to South Carolina where my uncle lived. He owned a strip club and I started djing there.

At this point I am sitting there thinking, “Why does God hate me? Why is all of this happening?”

At this point I am sitting there thinking, “Why does God hate me? Why is all of this happening?”

I know what you are thinking right now. You are thinking it was happening because you were all right about me. But you weren’t…

A new radio station started in Columbia, South Carolina. I gave them a call and the person who answered was best friends with the guy who gave me my first internship in Philly when I was 17. My old boss gave me a recommendation and I was back on the air. Five months later a station in Greensboro, North Carolina offered me a job.

Alex says if you don’t wake up chasing your dreams every day, you are already dead inside.

In North Carolina, a newspaper reporter asked me about my next goal in radio and I said nights in Miami.  I had no clue how I was going to get to Miami but I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Three weeks later a former co-worker from the Gainesville station, the one where I got fired, hit me up about an opening at 99 Jamz in Miami, so I sent in my tape.  Coincidentally, her boss, the station’s program director, was driving through North Carolina. He heard me on the air and called his boss and said I think we found our guy for our nighttime job. When he got back to Miami on Monday morning, my tape was already on his desk. Three weeks later I was in Miami.

That’s how I made it! You didn’t think it would happen but it did. My struggle was part of my success story. While I had some bumps in the road since landing in Miami, I am still on the air, as I am currently with Hot 105 Afternoon Drive.

My wise mom also told me, “If you believe you receive, if you doubt you will be without.”

In life, if you don’t  believe in yourself. you might as well forget about it.

I definitely didn’t forget about my  dream and I know at least one of you won’t ever forget me either. See, you may have never hired me but you have definitely heard me on the air. I am the guy on the competing station, kicking your ass.

Never bet against me. I never did.

The kid you turned down,

Alex, "Big Lip" Chisholm
Share this letter

Leave a Reply

Tell us your story

Write a letter of your own and respond to letters from the Unsealed community.

Write A Letter Now

Find A Pen Pal

Mange push notifications