I’ve always been really envious of people who recollect their youth being immersed in the rich soul music their parents listened to religiously. So many people I know grew up with Marvin, Stevie and Gladys as firm staples of their parents’ vinyl collections while my earliest memory of music are the two cassette tapes my mother would play in the car – Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Back to Front’ and Chris de Burgh’s ‘Spark to a Flame’ (let’s just say I knew the lyrics to ‘Lady in Red’ fairly well). My mum would always claim to harbour an unwavering affection for music… she just didn’t actually listen to any.
I’d say that my musical education really started at college but became a genuine fascination at university, and then a subsequent obsession shortly after that. Nineties R&B led to 90’s hip-hop, then came the fascination with the jazz and soul records they were birthed from and crossover/hybrid projects from artists like Soulive then brought me over to jazz.
I have such a strong affection for that 90’s period of my musical fandom. There was something so special about being surrounded by close friends all discovering things at the same time and getting excited about the same names and releases. Unfortunately, my aforementioned obsession really kicked in when theirs started to wean off – by now I’m trawling through production credits on my inlay cards, eagerly identifying names like pianist/producer James Poyser, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, studio wizard Bob Power… I’m buying albums from artists I don’t know just because artists I do know are included on the project and I’m getting attached to record labels and exploring their catalogues too.
I honestly couldn’t say at what point the idea of radio entered the picture. With no experience, no DJ equipment, no knowledge of the industry, I tried to reason with myself that this was something that couldn’t amount to anything but the allure of playing jazz on a late night radio show in a smoke-filled studio was too much to deny myself.
So I start at an internet radio station in Hackney, east London, and I’m subsequently living the dream. It’s Friday night, 1-3am, no one is listening, mice are scurrying around me as I’m presenting, I’m having intense anxiety before every show but I am absolutely living the dream. It really took me a long time before I was comfortable on air – that balance between knowing how I wanted to present myself versus how I was actually doing it leaves this middle ground for the “voice” that best represents you. And of course, the music you play is as much a part of that voice. My continual efforts to play things people hadn’t heard before, this constant search for undiscovered music ultimately always led to me being labelled “the alternative one” at whichever radio station I played at, which in honesty can be both good and bad. Either way, I love the discovery of something I’ve never heard before and I love sharing that feeling with like-minded people who will hopefully embrace the music in the same way.
But after a lengthy run on UK stations including Starpoint and Stomp, my quest finds itself with the inception of Blue-in-Green:RADIO [http://www.blueingreenradio.com] in January 2017…
I’ve said previously that while I struggled to fit in and have a voice in other places, on Blue-in-Green:RADIO, I’m home. And my desire is to make it a home to others as well. Amongst the incredible range of presenters and DJs we’re so fortunate to be able to host shows from, UK Vibe’s very own Steve Williams is one of them and, as if that distinction isn’t enough, I also have the privilege of serving as a contributor to the legacy of this incredible web site.