If you’re looking for an inspirational read, this week’s Q&A with the fabulous Tina Edwards should do the trick. Tina, from South London hosts Jazz Standard on Hoxton Radio. Here’s she tells Oh So London about life as a broadcaster and music journalist, where to find the best jazz venues in London and the time she ate grasshoppers…. Over to you Tina!
Hello Tina! Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a twenty-something broadcaster and music journalist. My schedule varies hugely – one day I can be hosting/producing Balcony TV London, another I could be writing a live review, and the next, I could be on the radio. You could say I get bored easily! I’ve lived in SW18 for two years, nesting in a gorgeous village-like town called Southfields. If you’re after a goofy fact, take this; growing up, I had hiccups for ten years. It coincided with my time living on the Isle Of Wight – suspicious?
How did you get into hosting a jazz radio programme?
I wanted to find an outlet for my jazz nerdiness, so when I heard that Hoxton Radio were recruiting new presenters, I recorded a demo and sent it to the Station Director. Low and behold, a month later I was on air hosting my own show, Jazz Standard, which airs live every Monday morning (10am-midday). This April, Jazz Standard celebrated a year on the airwaves. I was over the moon to have members from two of my favourite acts in the studio; Drummer Seb Rochford of Mercury nominated Polar Bear, as well as Clef, Smoov and Rocco of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who were in town from Chicago on their World Tour.
How do you get young people into jazz?
Don’t call it ‘jazz’ – but that gets tricky after a while! I talk about it like I do any other genre. If a song has an awesome rhythm, I won’t always be using music terminology to describe it – I might just say that it has a ‘sick beat’. Make jazz accessible, conversational. I love talking about music academically – but I think it’s also important to make sure the person you’re discussing it with is a willing participant in that conversation – don’t make them feel like they can’t be ‘part of the club’ by throwing complicated words around all the time!
What are your favourite jazz venues to go to in London?
I’ve had some incredible experiences in Ronnie Scott’s – it really is a wonderful venue for live music with a nostalgic atmosphere. Although it looks like a formal place, I’ve seen nights where the place has gone nuts – One night, I was dancing so erratically to Jon Batiste’s performance, Jon himself decided to pull me onto the stage to play percussion with his band. Needless to say I kept my day job – although I am a frustrated Grade 2 drummer.
What’s your favourite career moment?
Interviewing Stephen Fry for You Me Bum Bum Train (of which he is a patron) has got to be up there.
What’s been your most bizarre career moment?
In December I was in Amsterdam to host a health ingredients expo. Moments before going live at a stall called Bug’s Deli (you see where this is going…) the producer asked me if I would be happy to try some of the insects. My stomach said no, but on went the lights seconds later, and the adrenaline hits you. And so, that became the day that I tried grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms, the latter of which taste like really dry pretzels!
Now you’re living in London (and hiccup free) what do you love about your city?
Other than the incredible live music scene, it has to be the inhabitants. London is pretty small, but overflowing with creative, interesting people. It’s one of the reasons I love hosting Balcony TV shoots. I could meet up to 20 new people in one afternoon – you never know who you’re about to click with!
Where are your favourite places to eat in London?
Cafe Eterno on Neal Street make amazing good value salads. It’s such a friendly place – strangers would ask me regularly how my day was whilst having my lunch. It took me a few months to realise it was run by London City Mission (a Christian charity)! Oh, and a 4am breakfast at Balans is always a winner after a cheeky night out in Soho.
Can you recommend some cool places in Hoxton?
- Long White Cloud on Hackney Road is a cool cafe where I meet my Shoreditch Sisters for our WI meetings. There’s kooky regular jazz nights held there too by promoters Lume.
- The Russet, in Hackney Downs Studio, do a cracking latte. In the summer, you can sit outside on their full body loungers and soak in the creative energy – that may be the most hipster thing I’ve ever recommended, but it’s a great vibe!
- The Vortex in Gillette Square is a great venue. It’s a not-for-profit company run by people who just love live music. You’ll see some incredible names in this intimate space.
What would be your three pieces of advice for anyone looking to go into presenting?
- Talk to the camera like it’s your best friend. It runs through my mind before every ‘Action!’.
- Be patient. It took two years before I got my first TV gig. Saying that however, digital broadcast is becoming the end goal for a lot of exciting new talent these days. YouTubers are turning down TV offers left, right and centre.
- Find a niche. If you’re nerdy about something, embrace it, and share your passion for it. Your audience will see right through you if you’re faking enthusiasm for something, no matter how much you smile through it.
How would you describe London in three words?
Heartwarming. Striking. Exhilarating.
Huge thank you to Tina for doing a fantastic interview with us. You can keep up to date with Tina by visiting her website PresentingTinaEdwards.com, visit her Facebook page or follow her on twitter @Pickupmyhiccup. Do you have an interesting career or interest in London and would you like to feature on Oh So London? If so, drop us an email: OhSoLondon@gmail.com.
Until next time x