Benjamin Thomas

School: Fox School of Business
Degree: BBA, entrepreneurship and innovation management, 2018
Hometown: New York City, New York

Ever since high school, Benjamin Thomas, FOX ’18, struggled with dueling instincts to pursue a career on Wall Street or in the music business. Temple helped him prepare for either. But it was a mother’s love and fateful phone call that ultimately took him to the top of the charts, mixing music for artists like Lil Uzi Vert and Jazmine Sullivan.

Double treble 

Over his four years at Temple, Thomas followed two career paths. One was traditional: a bevy of internships and activities geared toward the world of business. He’d risen to vice president of the Entrepreneurial Student Association at Temple, become a national Management Leadership for Tomorrow fellow at the behest of Professor Cheryl Doutrich and landed an internship with Deloitte that led to the job offer. 

But then there was music. Since he was a ninth grader at Germantown Friends High School in Philadelphia, Thomas had been recording and mixing music. He’d refined his craft at Temple. Working with local artists and entrepreneurs like Chill Moody and Ant Bell, Thomas epitomized a Philly hustle and Temple Made work ethic: He’d take classes by day, don a suit and tie and ride the subway to business internships, then rush back to work on mixing music late into the night.

Two roads diverged ... 

It was just after Christmas 2018 and Thomas had yet to open his biggest present. For months, a five-figure check from Deloitte, a major professional services organization, had sat on his dresser, uncashed. It was a signing bonus, paired with an offer to start a full-time job in Washington, D.C., that February. It was a career start just about any Fox graduate wouldn’t hesitate to lock in. 

But in early 2019, when Thomas was pressed into making a decision, he chose the path less traveled. 

“I got a big push and blessing from my mother to turn the job down,” Thomas said. “I was like, alright we’re just gonna keep doing music and figuring it out.”

Benjamin Thomas poses for a photo with his mixing equipment.
Benjamin Thomas poses with his Philly sneakers.

“Temple made a lot of sense for me. It was super critical: Not just Temple but staying in Philadelphia allowed me to be mentored by people doing music here, rather than just being lost in the sauce in LA or New York.”

–Benjamin Thomas
Engineer, entrepreneur, producer

Breaking big 

Thomas spent most of 2019 in Los Angeles, chasing music but mostly falling short. By March of 2020, as the pandemic descended, he was back in Philly and thinking about throwing in the towel. 

Then the phone rang.

The person on the other end—top Philadelphia entertainment lawyer and Thomas’s Manager Jason Berger—asked if he could help mix a song for Lil Uzi Vert, a rising rap star from Philly. What started with that one gig turned into three life-changing years, as Thomas worked nearly round-the-clock with the rapper and his team, brushed elbows with other top artists, and started winning awards. 

In 2020, the album Pluto x Baby Pluto he worked on for Lil Uzi Vert and Future went Billboard No. 1. The next year, he received a Grammy nomination for work on Ingrid Andress’ debut album, Lady Like. In 2022, he won two Grammys for his work with R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan, and in 2023, had a six-time platinum song in Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock.” In July of that same year, Thomas was also listed as the No. 1 Hard Rock Producer on the billboard producer charts. 

At the moment, Thomas is refocusing his career on mixing and producing, working on some new music and growing his Philly roots deeper at After5, a Fishtown music studio he opened in 2020. After all, he credits his adopted city for much of his success. 

“Philadelphia allowed me to be mentored by people doing music here, rather than just being lost in the sauce in LA or New York,” Thomas said.