A funny thing happens when passion and purpose are greater than fear and excuses. Passionate people—whether born or built—have a gift for seeing their dreams in the distance and pushing past the barriers.
Anything seems possible. A glass half empty becomes motivation to fill it.
They push past breaking points. Their journey might start with a season of flipping burgers or busing tables, waiting for doors to open, while they do what alumnus William (Zeek) Elliott would describe as their side hustle.
"I prayed for God to open doors and He did in his timing," Zeek said. "It was a long wait, but during that time God was working on me."
For Zeek, the right door—a terrifying door—opened. Reach Records, hip hop artist Lecrae's label in Atlanta, Georgia, was looking for interns. But, what about the timing? William was working full-time for SAGU Public Relations—the internship would be unpaid. He was newly married—three months would mean a long time away from Stormie. He had no place to live in Georgia—perhaps he could live in his car and buy a gym membership so that he could shower.
One thing was certain. This was his shot.
One might describe passionate people as fearless. The truth is, they climb over the fear because they see what is beyond.
For Zeek, that internship is where he met artist Andy Mineo. During his internship, Zeek had the opportunity to spend three days alongside Mineo and other producers and musicians at Parhelion Studios.
“It was the first time I really experienced raw creativity of that scale. Observing that environment was insane. I knew I was on the right track and saw those three days as a massive opportunity to prove my value to an artist I looked up to,” Zeek said.
Toward the end of the sessions, Mineo informally threw the idea of Zeek moving to New York City to work together.
“This doesn’t happen,” Zeek said. “As an intern, a nobody in the industry, to partner with an artist of Andy’s influence is 100 percent a God thing. For Andy to invest in me as a young professional, that is God making moves.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SAGU in May 2016, Zeek and wife Stormie moved to Manhattan. He works as Mineo's co-manager, along with Underoath's Tim McTague. He is also a business partner with Mineo in Miner League, a production company that develops upcoming artists, and is founder-CEO of The Strat Agency.
Zeek is fond of his time at SAGU. Even there, he started as an intern and leveled up to Marketing Coordinator before being promoted to Public Relations Manager.
“Marketing Director Ryan McElhany is a continual professional and spiritual mentor to me,” Zeek said.
He also counts Men's Soccer Coach Clem Oancea as a mentor. “He is another amazing example. I grew so much while playing under him for four years.”
What is next for Zeek?
"Passion and hustle takes you a long way in any industry. I'm keeping my head down, moving forward. There will come a time to look up and enjoy the scenery. For now, it's about pushing forward and achieving goals."
“I was driven to an artist whose focus is to make a difference in people’s lives. His faith is a part of him and the transparency in his music reiterates the impact God has made on his life. He is an example of authentic Christianity.”
In terms of what is next for Mineo, Zeek said, “Andy’s new music is something special.” They join the 2017 Winter Jam Tour this January.
“Once I fully gave my future over to God and asked Him to move my feet in the direction He wants me to go, things started happening,” Zeek says.