Connect
To Top

Meet Robert Hilo of Hilo Productions in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Hilo.

Robert, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I attended California State University of Long Beach and graduated with degrees in Business and Communication Studies. Immediately, I worked as a Food & Beverage Manager for Wyndham Hotels in Costa Mesa and Phoenix. I stayed for 3 years (1999 to 2002) and finally realized this is not what I want to do. Corporate life was not my suit and I hated the fact I couldn’t be the real “Robert” in front of my peers. Also, I disliked the idea of pouring my hard work and soul into making someone else rich.

I moved to the beautiful islands of Hawaii (2004 to 2006). It was there, I racked up the hours and experience for Djing. On my spare time, I taught English to Japanese tourists and did some club promoting to make ends meet. The pay was minimal but the experience was worth millions. Truth is, I was just excited to hop on the decks and learn.

After Hawaii, I came back to Orange County and rejoined the family business as a manager. My parents owned a Burger King in the heart of Garden Grove. On my time off, I would Dj for the local bars. I joined a Wedding DJ company. It was there that I learned not only how to be a smoothly polished DJ/Emcee, but as an effective salesperson.

In early 2012, my parents retired and finally closed the doors selling their property to Starbucks. My parents were fine. But, what the hell was I supposed to do now? The next year, I was on unemployment trying to figure out my next path. I tried applying for managerial positions for Starbucks and other fast food places. None of them would give me the time of day. I felt like I was back pedaling. One lucky night, I was cooking dinner with a friend. I was down, depressed and lost. Not to mention, close to being broke. She mentioned, “Why don’t you start your own Wedding DJ business? That comes natural to you.” Suddenly, my tilted head slowly rose up. My eyes brightened. You could actually hear the wheels in my head turning. I was talking with excitement. Within weeks, my website was up and the business was legally registered. Come late 2012, Hilo Productions was born. Don’t get me wrong I was scared as hell. I had this fear of failing and was terrified of putting my name out in the world. At the same time, I knew this was my window. There was no Plan b. I was overwhelmed and overworked but I loved every minute of it! I found my passion!

Fast forward to 2018, our business has been increasing every year. We had our share of milestones and dips but my dream is now becoming a reality. I’m doing something I enjoy not to mention you’re getting the “real” Robert. We currently have a growing roster of kick-ass DJs and emcees. Also, I dedicate time to mentoring and cultivating artists that have a passion to learn. I believe in the Millennial generation. There’s a lot of promise to them. So far, we’re on track to doing 80 plus events this year. Oh yeah! Did I mention I’m happy?

Has it been a smooth road?
Has this been a smooth road? Hell to the no! It’s been tough but I LOVE every minute of it because it’s my journey. I’ve had a ton of small victories and “Doh” moments along the way. At the end of the day, I grow and move forward.

One of my struggles was not being the leader my team needed me to be. In the past, I would stress out and then lash out to my team. (No bueno!) My wife was quick to point that out to me. She mentioned, if I keep this up them no one would follow us. Well, I quickly shut that shit down and leveled the fuck up. I learned that ego needs to be taken out of the equation.

I consider my HILO team to be one of my greatest victories. With them, we could tackle on challenging and “out of the box” events. I feel like we can accomplish anything that comes in our way. If I didn’t have them, I’d be operating solo. We support each other to grow and succeed. No divas. No egos. No clock watchers. Just a solid team that wants to make the couple happy. THANK YOU TEAM HILO!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hilo Productions story. Tell us more about the business.
My company is Hilo Productions and I am the owner. We specialize in DJ – Emcee and Lighting Design. We handle the “TRIPLE M’s” of your life. (Most Memorable Moments)

Personality and experience go a long way in this game. I’m sure there’s a ton of DJs out there. Ever since the tech boom, DJs have been popping up left and right.

They have access to all the hits and remixes just like the pros. There’s nothing wrong with that! Only thing is, it’s how you deliver the final product. As for emceeing, it’s not just words behind the mic but how you present it. I specialize in helping DJs and Emcees find their own voice. If you’re interested, contact me at robert@hiloproductions.com

I’m warmly proud of getting to know my couples on a closer level. Just because one formula works for a past friend’s wedding doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. I’m very detailed and I’d like to cover all angles. (All my clients can vouch for that) That’s why my couples trust our company. (Whether it’s me or one of my HILO DJs) It’s more than just Djing. That’s only 15% of the whole night. Let’s not forget about other 85% to make it downright beautiful.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In HILO, We Trust – Busy working couples would rather spend their budget on experts handling the details instead of “DIY” projects. After work, their remaining hours are dedicated to internet research. Couples that are likely to invest into their vendors will free up time and focus on the smaller details. That way, the experts handle the grand scheme.

“Ohhhhhhhh!”- The attention span for the younger crowd is shorter compared to 7-8 years ago. If you play the whole song, they’ll twirl their finger in the air sideways meaning “Shit’s boring! Next song!” (It’s better than the middle finger). Today’s crowd prefers flow, energy and surprise. For example, I’ll play a verse and chorus from Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like” then quickly switch it up to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song. Out of nowhere, hit them with Tom Jones, “It’s Not Unusual” (Everyone loves doing the Carlton) Finally, turning heads with Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE”. I live for those “Oh” moments.

That’s them and this is ME! – “Must Happen” events during a wedding are longer mandatory. I’m talking about Mother – Son, Father – Daughter, cake etc. As I said before, what works for someone else doesn’t mean it’ll work out for you. Just because you have the bouquet toss doesn’t mean we need the garter toss to match. That just means more party time.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Qi Wong Photography
Carissa Woo Photography
Huey Bui Photography
1abpro Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in