Hip-hop legend and modern-day Pied PiperÂ Russell Simmons escapes NYC for salt waterÂ in the Hamptons. By Nicole Vecchiarelli
As the co-founder of arguably the most influential hip-hop record label in the world, Def Jam Records, entrepreneurÂ Russell Simmons has helped bring hip-hop into just about every corner of business and media today. From televisionÂ to Broadway, jewelry to video games, mobile communications to philanthropy, Simmons continues to wear many hats. And at the age of 52 with an estimated net worth of $340 million, he doesnÂ’t appear to be slowing down. Simmons frequently retreats to his East Hampton, NY estate for work, pleasure, and a daily routine of swimming and yoga. The home also plays host to a summer staple, the Art for Life benefit gala.
What makes your Hamp-tons home special for you? IÂ’ve had it for 10 years and itÂ’s a place that allows me a little bit of freedom from the hustle of the city. Even before I owned this place,Â I spent a lot of summersÂ in the Hamptons, so to finally have somewhere that I could put my own personality into made it that much more of an escape.
How would you describe the house? What personal stamp have you put on it? ItÂ’s definitely a country house, but it has some Asian-themed elements. A lot of art on the walls reminds me of my spiritual self. IÂ’m a Buddhist, and there are lots of statues of the Buddha and images of other spiritual deities. ItÂ’s very comfortable to me. IÂ’m a designer, you know, so it feels Russell.
How often are you there? I spend every Thursday through Sunday there during the summer and not as much time as IÂ’d like during the winter.
WhatÂ’s your favorite room? The bedroom. ItÂ’s got a big TV and is very comfortable.
How much business, if any, do you do at the beach? I do a lot of it, because I get there Thursday nights and I work all day Friday. I never stop working, really. IÂ’ll have meetings during the day on the weekends, and often I have business associates staying at the house.
WhatÂ’s your routine while youÂ’re there? I get up at 6am. I jump in the ocean, and then IÂ’m at 8am yoga. After that, my day is free but that routine is very important to me, and itÂ’s special to that place. To jump in the ocean in the mornings is a great statement. ItÂ’s a relief. Even when itÂ’s raining, IÂ’m there. I like to get all the salt on me; it helps pull the toxins out during yoga.
The Hamptons are a busy place on summer weekends. How do you make sure youÂ’re able to relax? I meditate, so when fast things are moving around me, I can still operate from a slow place. I work hard, even when IÂ’m in relaxation mode. I can sit out by the pool working on my BlackBerry but still feel relief because of the environment around me.
You have your annual Art for Charity event there. How is the place transformed for the big event? ItÂ’s a great party, but by now it runs like clockwork. The people that are hired every year do a good job. YouÂ’ve got to invite the neighborsÂ—make sure they are cool with the noise.
Simmons purchased his 8,000-square-foot East Hampton home in in 1999. The estate has a total of 10 rooms with five full and three half bathrooms as well as a large pond and a spacious yard on the property.