Once you stop growing and thinking outside the box your career is over. Unfortunately, I see a lot of this when I watch MANY video interviews with Radio DJs and celebrities from various radio stations. We can get lazy and that’s what makes for a short and a dying career.
The key is to be YOU…and don’t be afraid to show your OWN insecurities or shortcomings as a way to inspire others… the days of trying to be sexy or blasting your headphones so you can hear your own tones for self adulation or trying to be sexy when you look like Samuel Jackson are dead. If you are a woman and you look like Sam Jackson, forget the sexy Radio DJ persona, find another attribute to hone in on PLEASE.
Unfortunately, guys can get away with it and there are some REALLY tragic and unusually ugly dudes on the radio and I know it’s unfair but what can I say. I’m not looking my best right now so I can’t talk but don’t play with listeners especially if you are a social networker (and you better be) because the minute you post your pic they will abuse you in the comments and you KNOW how secretly sensitive Radio DJs are.
The keyword is “compelling.” Are your interviews COMPELLING? On the occasions that I come across industry stars, I have to stop and take note. I keep an eye on what they are doing and look for consistency (another keyword) when I see it, I reach out to them. Devi Dev is truly one of the most innovative interviewers in the industry.
I greatly enjoy her in-depth style and the way she goes above and beyond what I am used to hearing and asking the questions that fans want to know.
She is a rising star who works hard, knows what questions to ask, and makes her interviews worth watching and hearing. So many announcers do the same dead-end dry and boring interviews with the questions that have been asked for decades and it’s beyond obvious they have not listened to the music before they interview the artists(s).
In TODAY’S radio realm you have to step it up and KNOW who you are interviewing and if you don’t know them, please do your research. Here we explore Devi’s top 5 favorite interviews…
Kendrick Lamar 2014
I’ve interviewed Kendrick every year since around ’07-’08 when he was a few mixtapes in. Interviewing him back in November after several tours, 1 classic album, and a few Grammy noms, it was incredible to hear his perspective on himself.
I think Kendrick is one of the most important artists alive and I got chills as we were talking about the depression, self-hate and the growth that he has faced. After I dropped it, I got such an outpouring of love from people wanting to share their testimony about battling depression.
Even Vogue Magazine reached out to use quotes in the piece they were writing.
I really like J Cole. I think he is such a consistent artist who has done things his way and stayed true to his fan base. The interview was on the heels of him dropping the record “Let Nas Down” and even though he had hit a few stations before mine, shockingly no one had asked him what Nas thought about that record.
Of course, I asked and he ended up going into this really fun-as-yet untold story about running into Nas at an airport the morning after he recorded it and letting him hear it as they stood in line waiting to board.
Dr. Dre 2010
So this is actually probably the least compelling interview I have ever done BUT it’s still a classic for me because of its origin. At this time we were all still sure that at some point Detox was going to come out.
And Dre had done pretty much ZERO interviews in years. Well I was working the Red Carpet for the ASCAP awards and his handlers had warned all of us that Dre was not doing any interviews except for I think CNN and they told us not to try him. He comes walking down the carpet and I literally run and bolt in front of him, narrowly escaping his security guard and I smiled and started asking him questions.
To my shock (and horror because I was not prepared for this) he stood and answered all my questions with such a great attitude. I managed to come out with something super regular like “Is Detox coming out?” Not my best journalistic moment no but this interview really gave me the confidence to try and land an interview no matter where I was.
One morning while I was working at KDAY in L.A, Kanye West woke up and felt like doing radio. At this time my station didn’t have a live morning show so I get a call around 6am from my PD and Def Jam saying to get up and rush to the station because Kanye wants to talk. Of course I jump.
I make it in to the station and the label says “20 minutes that’s it!” Well I believe in talking to artists for as long as they want to talk to me so I had no plans of wrapping it up as long as it was going well. Kanye ended up staying in that studio with me for almost 2 hours.
The rep was pissed! But we were having fun and he didn’t want to leave. We were chatting about his love of fashion, blogs and their relevance, I explained web jargon like “GTFOH” to him (which he was shocked to find out what that meant ha!), family and his new girlfriend who he’d been dating for a couple weeks (a then unknown Amber Rose).
He ended up walking to my PD’s office afterward and saying “This is the best interview I’ve ever done!”…which of course is probably not true lol, but at that moment I know he really appreciated being able to be himself.
To this day I have a 2-hour mp3 file that is completely uncut of Kanye and I cracking up and conversing.
Rico Love 2015
This guy is awesome! He’s yet to release his debut album but as of the past years has offered up 3 great singles and over the past decade has written hits for some big artists. I really enjoyed talking with Rico because he offers my listeners some great gems about life. In a sit-down he does what I wish artists would do more often. He shares himself.
Even when asked music questions, he always leads back to something deeper about himself. He also offers great knowledge about the business and professionalism.
We just did a Q&A session that listeners got to win their way into and he answered so many technical questions about how he handles his business and career and he shared many gems with our ladies in particular about how to carry themselves in the world. Just an all-around stand-up person who makes for great radio!