As a teenager he took lessons in electric guitar. At Wayne State University, Hickey's composition teachers included James Hartway and James Lentini. He has been commissioned by a number of[who?] musicians and organizations. His works include music for piano, orchestra, chorus, church, and chamber configurations. A recording of his chamber and orchestral works for Naxos American Classics, Left at the Fork in the Road, was released in November 2005, and broke the Billboard Top 100 Classical Chart. In 2013, the recording of the composer's clarinet and cello concertos was released on Delos. This was followed by Cursive in 2014, a retrospective of much of the composer's work for piano and chamber music combinations. Hickey is a published poet  and writer of music reviews and travelogues. He is an ASCAP member and is published by Cantabile Press. In addition, he is the Vice-President, Sales and Business Development, for Naxos of America, and speaks regularly throughout the world on new media and musician entrepreneurship.