Some of you might know me as 'Charlie from Kiss', others as 'Charlie the DJ' - you're going to see a lot more of my blogs on here and before that I wanted to properly introduce myself to you all... So, hello! I'm a 5ft house music-loving DJ and Producer, who's always laughing and loves nothing more than going to a club and throwing down some tunes ;)
Interviews can be stuffy, structured affairs and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know a bit more about the real me, to give you an idea of where I've come from, how I got into the industry I'm in, and hopefully, to inspire you to reach for those dreams (however unrealistic they seem) and make them a reality.
To keep it short and sweet, I've always wanted to work in the music industry and I was determined to make it happen, no matter how long it took me. When I was 13 I applied to be a freelance journalist/assistant for a local magazine called Naked Tongue in Essex, they gave me the job simply for the cheek of asking as it was a magazine aimed at over 25s. In my school lunch breaks I'd then make lists of celebrities I'd like to interview and then I'd track down their PAs. Before I knew it, I was interviewing some great people who were kind enough to give a 13-year-old a chance, my interviews were getting published in the magazine and it's still mad to think that had I not sent that letter and took a huge chance, everything that followed may not have happened.
One of the guest interviews I secured was with a Kiss DJ at the time - this was a huge turning point in my career (even though I didn't know it at the time) and from there I kept in touch with the DJs and did work experience at the station until I had just started Uni. It was in my first week of Uni that I was offered a job as a tea-maker / runner - the timing couldn't have been worse, but I was determined to make the most of this opportunity, no matter how hard it would be!
I was studying for a BA in Journalism and whilst I'd always wanted to be a DJ and get into radio, I understood the importance of having a degree and a 'backup plan'. I remember meeting with my head of year at Uni and telling him I wanted to do both: I had to be at Kiss for 4:30am, work on the breakfast show until 9am, then leave and drive straight to Uni. I'd miss two lessons every morning pretty much, finish Uni about 6:30pm, drive home and do the same again for three whole years. My tutor at the time thought it was a terrible idea and didn't think I could juggle both, he thought I should concentrate on Uni but I knew I could do both, I was determined to. When I passed my first year I remember my tutor coming up to me and basically saying "bloomin' well done, well done for not listening to me!" haha - he was a great tutor though and I learnt so much from him.
After years of being a runner, I had eventually made enough of an impact with the station bosses to be offered my first role as a presenter. I didn't stop working there though, once I'd been working in radio for about a year, I spent another year or so learning to DJ and staying behind in my spare time learning to mix. Eventually, a friend of mine who used to run nights said to me "come on, you have to get out and play your first set" - I was so nervous but it's the best thing I ever did. In some way it's one of the best days of my life as it gave me the encouragement to keep going and believe in myself.
It's been a crazy few years since then really, but this was the start of everything. Just writing it down seems a bit surreal, but that's how it happened. It was never a case of me going to school with the right people, or having parents who could put me in the right position, and I didn't go through the conventional application route - I literally started at the bottom and worked my way up. The world is a tough place, but I genuinely believe if you put the graft in, and show how determined you are, eventually you will succeed.
Hopefully you know the real Charlie a bit better now and I really wanted to make a point by saying that it's all about making your own dreams come true and never giving up. Genuinely, I've always wanted to be doing what I am right now, from a young age. I've always had encouragement from my family and friends, and they've always pushed me to follow my dreams and never take the word 'No' as a negative - it's just another step away further away from something you shouldn't have had, and a step closer to an opportunity just around the corner. Let's catch up soon guys!