In my segment Creative Spotlight, I will be showcasing the creative talent dictionary, responsible for your entertainment. I shine the spotlight on the finest work and hear the inspirational stories of those working in the creative industry whether it be, rappers, singers, DJs, You-tubers, Presenters, media outlets, public figures, upcoming or ahead of their game. We get to meet the masterminds behind it all.
This week on Creative Spotlight, we have
DJ and Radio Presenter Dobby
I was really inspired by this Interview. As a bidding radio presenter myself, I always like to hear advice from other radio presenters who perhaps are ahead of the game, as it really motivates me. I’ve said for a long time; Dobby is one to watch out for. I have been championing Dobby for a long time now and I can’t wait till she has her own slot on BBC 1xtra because that is where she is heading. I spoke to Dobby about her journey as a radio presenter and she guides us through how she got to where she is, now.
Hi Dobby so tell us a bit about yourself?
Hiya! Well, I’m Dobby! I’m a 20 year old Radio Broadcaster and DJ, born and bred in East London. I have a weekly specialist radio show, every Tuesday between 7-9PM (GMT) on Reprezent Radio, which focuses on bringing you the best and the latest from the worlds of Future RnB, Alternative Hip-Hop and Electronic music. I also work in Radio Production at BBC Radio 1Xtra as well as being a DJ for Ama Lou (https://soundcloud.com/amaloumusic) and MistaJam’s JamPacked events.
Was presenting the profession that you always wanted to work in? We’re there ever any other careers you dreamt of pursuing?
Growing up, I grew up in quite a musical household as my Dad was a DJ and music producer, so I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a career in music, for me it was just finding the right path for me. I tried everything from playing instruments, to writing songs, to singing but nothing seemed to click until I got work experience when I was 14 at a local music/radio studio and got a real taste for Radio and presenting. I remember coming home after my first day and saying to my mum and dad that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and just kept chasing it from there on out.
Walk us through how you got to where you are now?
Yeah, it started off with my work experience placement when I was 14, the station manager was really impressed with all the work I was doing and said if I kept having good grades, I could join the station with a weekly hour show on a Sunday. I joined the station and stayed there until 2015. Literally those shows were practise hours, sometimes I would naughtily bunk off college to just go to the radio studio and practise links with my cousin, Rebecca Judd. From there that was where WitchezzBrew was born and essentiallly in that time I was really finding out who I was as a broadcaster and what I wanted to bring to the music industry. In 2015, I managed to secure an internship with BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra called Where It Begins for two months and boy, it was the most exciting two months of my life. I enjoyed every second of that internship and learnt so much too. I highly recommend the internship to anyone who is looking for that first step in to the radio industry. I made so many great connections and relationships, including my mentors Jamz Supernova and Mistajam. Shortly after my internship, I joined Reprezent. I started out on Reprezent holding down a weekly day time show before transitioning into my now regular specialist show. All the while I was still taking time out to make sure I was practising DJing and slowly getting more and more DJ gigs.
So we are going to take a trip back in time, Talk to us about your first radio job and how has that defined you, as a radio presenter?
With my first radio job, I think it definitely defined my growth, not only as a radio presenter, but as a young woman. I started that job when I was 14 and moved on when I was 18. I learned so much about myself during those four years and a lot of that knowledge and wisdom still gets applied to this day. I think the most important I learned during my first radio job is embracing my differences and applying them to whatever the job was at hand.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Was there any presenters that you look up too? Or championing right now
I actually draw inspiration mostly from all the women in my life, whether through family or radio, known or unknown. My mum and my grandmothers ways of storytelling, and the way they could make a story sound otherworldly is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. My dad’s passion for music and musical knowledge is another massive inspiration, I hope to one day just be able to hear 10 seconds of a song and know exactly what the song is, what sample is used etc just like him. In terms of radio hero’s; Annie Nightingale, Annie Mac, Mistajam, Zane Lowe and Jamz Supernova. Annie Nightingale was the first ever woman to be a DJ on Radio 1 and she still has a show now on Radio 1 and 1Xtra, that is legendary status and I have the upmost respect for her and her legacy. Annie Mac is again just such a world class DJ that holds my full respect. Mistajam is like a big brother to me, I remember being 14 listening to him as my dad would pick me up after revision sessions at school and now to have him championing me is just insane. He is such a perfect example of how to be in your own lane and still be one of the best. Zane Lowe has always been a massive inspiration to me purely because to me he is the interview master. I used to study and obsess over the interviews Zane Lowe did with Jay Z and Rick Rubin just because the way he makes it feel like just a normal conversation is breathtaking and I really want to conduct my interviews in a similar way. Jamz Supernova is another brilliant, brave broadcaster. Again I remember listening to her show back on Reprezent when I first started out and being so incredibly gassed because there was another radio show playing all the similar future beats stuff that I was playing. Seeing her rise to 1Xtra has me believing that its possible for me too and she is also the ultimate professional. I’m so thankful to have her as a mentor because she has taught me so many things from how to run your own club night, how to handle your business etc. As for championing DJ’s who are on the rise, I definetley have to champion all my sisters at Reprezent. From Sherelle, to Naina, to Lil C, to Jodeci, they are all just killing it and I’m so super proud of them all. I also really enjoy Rebecca Judd’s show on Westside, not only is she family but she genuinely makes me howl with laughter, Sean Gran, Kamillah and Channel Alt on Radar are some of my favourites right now as well!
What’s something you know now, that you didn’t know before when you first started out. Is there anything you would of done differently?
“Don’t compare your chapter 1 with someone else’s chapter 22” – I used to get so caught up on comparison when I first started out that it would frustrate me because I knew my potential but I definitely needed to work on my patience as I for sure wasn’t ready at that time of starting out to be doing a lot of things that I’m doing now. You can’t be caught up on why he or she got this or that because it takes the focus away from you and what you’re doing and everyone’s journey is different, you don’t know how long that person has been working for that opportunity.
What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
I’d say my greatest failure is all the times that I doubt myself and lose confidence in what I’m doing. Imposter syndrome in this industry is very real and it has caused me to feel absolutely awful about myself. I learn and still am learning to feel like yes, I do belong here and deserve to be where I am now because I’ve worked hard at it and will continue to keep working hard it. You have to really push that little doubting voice in your head out and keep on believing in yourself.
Piece of advice that you would give the old you?
I would say to young 14/15 year old Dobby to just be patient and to really enjoy the time getting to know who she is as a broadcaster and honing her craft instead of just wanting to go, go, go. The extra years of practise really do make perfect and pay off in major ways.
You worked as an intern at the BBC Radio 1xtra how did that opportunity come about?
Yep! Ever since working in radio, I knew that for me I had to work for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. It’s like the holy grail for Radio, so I used to research all the different jobs and opportunities that they had available. The internship is 18+ but being the little rebel I am at heart, I used to send in an application anyways when I was 16/17 which obviously got rejected but when I was 18, I got through to the interview stages and I must of impressed during the interview stages and got in the internship!
What opportunities has come from working at the BBC And what have you learnt?
Oh my gosh, a lot! In terms of opportunities, you are literally surrounded by the best that the UK music and radio industry have to offer. There’s a wealth of knowledge that you are surrounded by and it’s incredible to be able to ask your colleagues for advice. In terms of learning, I think that the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that being prepared for any and everything is vital. Of course, in radio, some things naturally don’t go to plan but if you’re not prepared for it, thats where you can land in to danger. It’s not good enough to think fast on your feet, you have to think 10 seconds ahead.
What are some tips on how to make your application stand out?
If you’re applying for the Where It Begin’s scheme, I’d say one of the major things to make your application stand out is your ideas. As a young creative, your ideas are your currency. If you believe it will make great content for your intended audience and you have a direct connection to your audience then 9/10 it will make great content. Forget about the what if’s and the oh they might not understand, just go for it and make your ideas as creative as possible. Also another tip is to know the networks. What are their messages? What are their ethos? What does the schedules of the station roughly look like? What are the main features of the shows? What’s their target audience? Knowing what the networks are seems so basic, but it can be easily forgotten so make sure you know what they are about before applying!
How do you motivate yourself and keep yourself driven and positive?
I say I keep myself motivated, driven and positive by knowing and trusting when it’s time to rest and take care of myself. By taking care of myself, my mind and my body I can then deliver to the best of my abilities and do what it takes to do an excellent job. I think it’s important, because if you’re feeling tired or drained, you’re not gonna be able to keep yourself going. There’s no point in trying to burn yourself out, take on what you feel like you can take on.
What’s the next step? What do you have planned for the year?
I’ve got lots of exciting stuff I’m working on in the year. I’m gonna be DJing for Ama Lou for the rest of the year, as well as holding down my Jam Packed residency. I’ve also formed a collective with my two sisters from Rep, Sherelle and Lil C. It’s called ICONIK and we’ve done a few takeover shows with Reprezent now and we’re hoping to start our own club night and charity, so there’s so much exciting stuff going on with that so make sure you keep en eye out for the ICONIK name. In terms of radio, Reprezent is broadcasting from Lovebox this year which is gonna be so, so legendary, I cannot wait for that and plus I have many more DJ dates coming up which I’m so super excited for!
What are the socials?
@WitchezzBrew on everything!