Recently I was invited to be a guest on Dr Phil Hammond’s Show on BBC Radio Bristol and it made me remember my first ever appearance on air 2 years ago. Being the sentimental person I am, I thought it’d be nice to tell you a story about my first ever invite to a radio station. I also shared my experience of working with other stations further down the line and spoke about why I find the radio world to be so fascinating!

Back in 2014 when I had a weekly schedule of open-mics that I regularly attended in hopes to get gigging opportunities, I came to a very empty bar somewhere on top of Gloucester Road. I decided to play anyway and after my set, I got to chat with the host of the night, who was a local musician and an avid charity supporter. During the conversation, he mentioned that he was scheduled to play at a charity show early next week organised by a local radio station called Bradley Stoke Radio (103.4FM), and if I popped in for a few hours, he’d try to introduce me to one of their presenters, who might potentially invite me to one of their shows. Knowing way too well that promises in the music industry don’t necessarily result in actions, I tried not to get my hopes up but decided to attend the event anyway. Luckily, that promise was given in good faith and I indeed got to meet the presenters of Bradley Stoke Radio and even got an invitation to one of the shows a few weeks later.

Photo by Becky Ward

Bradley Stoke Radio, known better as BSR, is a community radio station located just outside Bristol, run solely by volunteers. Apart from providing a voice for residents and acting as a media platform for local community groups, it focuses on discovering new local talents, inviting them for interviews and broadcasting their live performances.

I was a guest on Andy Ward’s music show and on the day, I honestly felt like the happiest girl in the world! I was equally super excited and super nervous, praying that I wouldn’t say something silly on air, which I most likely did anyway. I had a lovely time chatting with Andy about my music and even played a live session in the studio! Relieved that everything went well, I then stuck around and asked a bunch of questions about the radio station and its crew, being absolutely fascinated by the magic of the radio!

Since that day I’ve met the BSR Team quite a few times and they’ve always been incredibly kind and supportive of me and my music! I played at a few events they organised and was invited to come back to the radio station on a few occasions. I even got a chance to be a host of the show once! As an artist, you meet a lot of people on your musical journey but, unfortunately, you don’t usually get the time to form meaningful connections, and so it’s very fortunate that the BSR Team and I have managed to form such a good friendship!

Photo by Becky Ward

Another radio station that’s been welcoming me to its bright red studios for a few years now is BBC Radio Bristol. Ever since Ali Vowels invited me to chat about my performance at Bristol Harbour Festival back in 2015, BBC Radio Bristol has been incredibly supportive of my music career! I’ve been a recurring guest at the show of Dr Phil Hammond, whose ability to manage two careers simultaneously, one in medicine and one in comedy, I highly admire. I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Martin Evans, who’s not just an amazing presenter but also a former professional wrestler!

Every time I release new music, I also submit it to the BBC Introducing platform, which supports aspiring artists like me and features the most promising songs in the area. A few of my singles got played on BBC Introducing in the West and knowing how tough the competition is, I consider it to be a great achievement!

Overall, all stations I’ve ever been invited to have one thing in common: they work tirelessly to support and to represent their communities covering an incredibly large variety of matters! Every time I get invited to a show, I meet other guests who are scientists, community representatives, poets and even antique collectors. Apart from amazing chats and a great amount of exposure, I always leave these shows with a sense that I’ve learned something new, and I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to be in this environment on a daily basis!

Saying that, I can’t help but recognise that as fun as being a presenter must be, it’s also an incredibly tough job that requires a huge amount of effort, professionalism and dedication to the job! Apart from the above radio stations, I also had the pleasure of being a guest on Somer Valley FM with Phil Gibbons, Glastonbury FM with Ian Liversidge, and Worthy FM with Suzi Purdie during my Glastonbury Festival debut. And I swear I’ll never stop being amazed at how all these amazing presenters manage to come up with a sentence of exactly 8 seconds to perfectly fill in the gap before the next pre-scheduled thing kicks in. I guess that’s what you call the magic of radio!