Mass Appeal caught up with BMX extraordinaire Nigel Sylvester hours after the Laurelton, Queens native’s exclusive screening of the first episode of Get Sylvester. His video series, documenting his local and worldly travels aired last night on Network A via YouTube. Judging by the response of the teaser clips leading up to the show’s premiere, Nigel’s got a hit on his hands. We spoke to Nigel about his show, plans for the future and his work with Beats By Dre.
Mass Appeal: Congratulations on the launch. The series looks impressive and funny as hell. How long was it in the making?
Nigel Sylvester: We started filming in the beginning of March and so far we have two episodes done.
How long were you in Barcelona?
I was in Barcelona filming for three days, dude! I went out there to film a video for Beats By Dre which comes out, I believe, on Thursday. We also filmed that first episode of Get Sylvester while out there. Barcelona was a real good time, man!
Where else did you travel for the series?
We’re gonna be filming for the rest of the spring and summer, and then going into fall. As stuff pops up, we’re gonna be filming.
What were some of the challenges you faced while filming Get Sylvester?
There weren’t many challenges because the show isn’t really scripted. Nothing is done for the camera, the camera is just documenting what goes on in my everyday life. We don’t have any challenges because we’re not trying to reach a certain goal. Things that happened actually happened. It just me, more or less, bringing people into my world and giving them a perspective that I haven’t given to the world before. It’s me speaking from my heart and letting the world know how I feel. [The series] is more about what’s going on in my present day, everything from riding to my personal life, to my family life, to the challenges I face when I am off my bike. It’s a mixture of all of that.
What was it like leaving the US for the first time as a BMX rider?
That first trip, I went to England. I really couldn’t believe it! It was so surreal, it was mind blowing for me! I didn’t even understand it at the time. I was 18 and I was like, ‘OK cool, I’m about to go ride!’ I didn’t understand the significance of getting on a plane to go ride across the pond. [I could not believe] people actually wanted me to come across the pond to see me ride my bike. That was amazing! I definitely enjoyed the experience. It gave me so much motivation to keep going, to want more, and to strive for more so I can keep getting that feeling. It’s that feeling that I fall in love with, the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of being on my bike in a different country and riding in a new spot. That’s what makes it all worth it.
What was it like being filmed by 13thWitness? Looking at the video its obvious you’re not aware of the camera, you kinda forget it’s there and you’re just being yourself. Was that difficult?
You definitely forget that the camera is there. That’s the best part, forgetting that the camera is there; it captures the real moment. Filming with 13thWitness and filming with Harrison Boyce, it’s a dope opportunity. I respect both of those guys’ creative eye and their film genius. They see certain things. It’s like no one else I’ve ever shot with. And because we’re such good friends, they know my personality and they know the things that I do. So they know how to film in a way that fully explains, and fully captures the moment of what I’m trying to get across. It beyond incredible this experience. We’re gonna continue to keep making good videos and good products that we believe in and I’m hoping that people will see that we’re doing what we love and sharing our story.
Can you talk about the Beats By Dre collabo?
This year, Beats By Dre is getting into action sports more than they have done in previous years. I went to Barcelona and we filmed a video for Beats by Dre and it’s coming out on Thursday. It’s their first video. I’m just so happy that I am the BMX rider waving the flag for Beats By Dre! It’s an incredible opportunity! It’s a great brand and its a brand I believe in. It’s just a good partnership.
A couple months ago Dre said his goal was to be the next Steve Jobs. What are your goals, what are you aiming for?
Wow. My goal right now is to amplify everything that I am doing right now. I feel like I can accomplish so much more.
“I feel I can reach so many people and tell my story and inspire kids to get on a BMX bike. I just want to show the world how awesome BMX is. And in that single breath, better myself and everyone around me.”
What advice do you have for a young person who wants to follow in your footsteps?
I think the best advice is life advice, honestly. Whether you want to be a BMX rider, an astronaut, or an accountant. Whatever the case may be, my advice is: follow your heart and do what you love. I think that’s so important. So many people have things in life that they would love to do but can’t. I’m all about pursuing your dreams and following your heart.