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Meet Sterling Hampton of DirectedBySterling in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sterling Hampton.

Sterling, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a director and photographer from Southern California. I’ve toured the world with artists like The Black Eyed Peas, G-Eazy and Witt Lowry. I’ve directed and creative directed music videos for artists like Cal Scruby, Jag, and Dave East. On the photo and social content side, I’ve shot for artists Chris Brown, Post Malone, Mario and more. I started making short films in high school that went on to win awards at various film festivals on the west coast. In college, I began shooting content in the music scene. To make connections, I often would shoot photos and video for up and coming artists social media. Simultaneously, I shot, edited and directed my own music videos for artists who were my friends. Later in college, I interned and began working as a content creator at creative agencies.

As of late, I’ve been directing music videos all around Los Angeles and greater socal area while also shooting creative content for various music clients in and out of the country. I’m in pre-production on a short narrative I’m directing later this year for up coming festivals as well. I wish and work to make a mark in the music video, commercial and film industry. I want to make pieces of art that challenge the way we think about social topics like race, gender, religion, sexuality and sustainability. More than anything I just want people to think for themselves and be their best to others. My effort is to be at a place where I have the critical mass, popularity and resources to carry out that mission to its fullest potential.

I don’t really see where I am now as a dramatic achievement quite yet. There is a lot I want to prove. But I do take pride in being able to enter an industry that I had no direct lines of connections in from the beginning. I found a way to find opportunities and a way in. Really thats just half the battle. I’ve been doing this since I was 11 with these aspirations. I’m 24 now and the real work to get where I want to be has just started in the last year and a half. It’s really just now time to sprint.

Has it been a smooth road?
As the clichés paint it, a lot of people doubt your dreams. People have laughed in my face even after things actually started happening. I attribute that to just how inconceivable these things become when you start doing them (touring the world with A-list artists, directing music videos, choosing where your time goes employment wise). What was painful for me was when people sometimes chose to stifle my progress instead of try to elevate me. It took me some time to really understand that I was actually talented and not inferior. People will try to psychologically fool you into thinking you’re less-than. For a while I let that control my practical creative decision making to the point where I didn’t trust myself.

But once I understood that I had something to say and a vision I could trust, I was free. I feel that I’ve just now become this way and it feels great. In reality, I appreciate the struggle and strife that comes with being a creative and just having a dream in general. It becomes a motivating factor that forces you to become exceptional out of extreme desire not to fail in your efforts to prove others wrong.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with DirectedBySterling – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I’m a director and photographer. I specialize in music video, documentary and narrative style filmmaking. I’m known for having toured with G-Eazy and Anthony Russo. I’m known for now touring and shooting content for The Black Eyed Peas. I’m also known more locally for directing music videos for artists in Southern California. When necessary and from early beginnings, I can direct, shoot and edit entire visual pieces. Thats music video, documentary and social content. I also will do so faster than anyone else I’ve ever met or look up to (digital content-wise). Creatively, I have an eye and taste for the odd and the provocative. I love bending symbols and signs to illustrate a kind of mood and message that requires thought.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I just get the feeling that Los Angeles is the edge of the earth. I admit this is in superficial antiquated culture pertaining to manifest destiny when people moved to western part of the U.S. But I just sort of romanticize the idea that this is where culture lives and dies. We’re at the forefront of how people live. We paint pictures of what’s important in life for better or for worse in the industry.

At the same token, Los Angeles feels (for the same reasons above) as a sort of curated city. Everything is a presentation. The upside to this is simply understanding that Hollywood and the people it attracts are different from those who are from here. The people that are true Los Angeles natives are the most down-to-earth, genuine and thoughtful people. Even myself, not being originally from Los Angeles, can see that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
I’m in 2 of the images (the black and white portrait is me. I’m also the tall African American gentleman wearing the hat and hood in the color photo next to the gentleman holding a camera). Those photos with me in them were photographed by a guy name Jose Negrete.

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