When listening to one of Snoochie Shy’s shows on Radar Radio, one would never actually expect her to be shy. Flamboyant and hilarious, she seems to tick all the boxes of an extrovert. Yet a self-confessed shy person in real life, it is the mic and camera that allows her to release her bubbly personality onto all of her listeners and viewers. A driven individual, her unique blend of elegance and playfulness has enabled her to succeed in both modelling and presenting. Despite numerous setbacks, through persistence, and having the support of her mum through difficult times, Shy has managed to work with a number of brands as a stylist/model, and has also taken large strides in the media world. Having recently secured a spot on ‘BBC 1Xtra’s Residency’, and the rebooted UK version of ‘Yo! MTV Raps’, Snoochie Shy is a name that will soon become very familiar to the wider UK audience over the next twelve months. We had the chance to speak to her on a number of topics including her path to becoming a presenter, her creativity as an interviewer, meeting Trevor Nelson, thoughts on the lack of females in the Wireless line-up, and more. Check out our conversation below now:
Did you want to be a presenter from a young age?
No (laughs), I wanted to be a lawyer… then I wanted to be a singer and then, I realised singing is just not for me so I started modelling and styling. I was doing loads of Adidas campaigns, and styling for RWD magazine, and modelling different campaigns. I then met a group of guys, they asked me if I’d ever done presenting before, and I said “no”… because I’m quite a shy person anyway. Away from cameras and in real life I’m quite a shy person, but I feel like on camera, my personality comes out. So it was quite random when I started presenting and producing my own video content online. I went around interviewing a lot of Grime artists and Rap artists and I did a thing called the ‘Giggs Report’. When Giggs was in prison, I’d try and ‘find him’ and when he came out, he messaged me saying “my mum’s been telling me that, there’s been a crazy girl trying to find me, let’s link up.”
We did a spoof video, and from there I realized this is what I really enjoy doing.
Having watched you on Radar, I didn’t expect that you’re actually shy…
Yeah so when I get asked to host events… or do public speaking, that’s probably the worst thing for me just because I have to talk about my life, and I just see all the eyes… whereas if I had a camera and microphone, I’d be alright. It’s a bit weird, but that’s just me I guess.
What do you think it is about having a mic in front of you that brings your personality out?
I don’t know you know… I think when I first started presenting, I had a mentor called Gavin, who I still have now. And he was always like to me, “just imagine the microphone and camera is your best mate”. And ever since then it’s just stuck with me so I just talk to it like it’s my best mate. So I think it’s like a comfort, and I just feel without them, I might as well be naked really… tits out and that (laughs)
At what point did you think you could really make a career out of presenting?
I think with me, once I have a goal, I just stick with it. So there wasn’t like one moment where I was like “yeah, this is it”, even at this moment in time, I’ve just been working towards things I want to do. I’ve set myself loads of goals, because I just look at it and say I’m going to achieve this, and do that. I’m very much like, “put things into the universe, and it will come true”. Like I said, I just fell into it by accident, but I realized it’s something I really enjoy and I feel like you should do something you enjoy, so that’s why I decided to stick with it.
So after your initial online video content, what was your first presenting role – was it on ‘MTV’s Wrap-Up’?
Oh my god yeah, so I didn’t do that for too many go’s. So that was ‘MTV The Wrap-Up’, and I did a few interviews with them. That was online, and I was so excited, I was like “Oh My God, this is it, this is it!”. From there, I started ‘Vevo’ and I was hosting all of their weekly shows for eight months, but then after that I got let go. And I feel like with different jobs, you need to have really thick skin. Because sometimes, in situations like that I could have given up but I just thought that I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing. And I’m glad I did, because I feel like I’m doing more things now. It was ‘MTV Wrap-Up’, then ‘Vevo’, and then the ‘Breakfast’ show with Radar. And from there, loads of different things as well…
To get what you think is your dream job and then get let go… what makes you keep going towards your goal?
I’ve always had my mum there for advice… in situations like that, even if I was devastated, I’d always talk to my mum. She would be like “you’re talented, you enjoy doing what you’re doing, you got drive, just keep going!” and I feel like my mum has really helped me, and helped with my confidence. She just drives me so much, and I feel like that’s instilled in me, and it makes me think, “that’s it, I’m gonna keep going”… so yeah, my mum is quite a big help. Also I always listen to this one interview that Davina McCall did. She said when she first started presenting, she received thirty-seven letters of rejection. She said that she could have given up but since then all of those thirty-seven companies have employed her for work. So sometimes a no isn’t always a no, sometimes it just means you’re not right for now.
What was the transition into the Radar show?
So my mentor Gavin, he was at Reprezent Radio, and then he moved to Radar, and he called me saying, “I’m working at this station, it’s called Radar, do you want to join?” I said, “Yeah, but I really want to do a Breakfast show”. So I started off doing eight till ten, Monday to Friday, and then I was getting in really late because I was DJing, and I was just turning up drunk really. So I moved to ten till twelve, Monday to Thursday… and I always wanted to do a breakfast show because I have way more energy in the morning. But yeah it’s been cool, and I like how the show has been going.
I’ve watched most of your content on YouTube, but today was the first time I listened in… you and your producer Ben have a great chemistry…
Yeah, man like Ben. He’s a cool guy… Ben’s only just joined the show, but it’s been taken to new heights now that we’ve got him on the show. So yeah… (laughs), he’s here next to me by the way, so he can hear me
Ahh ok, shout out Ben (laughs) so going on from that, all of these ideas that you have on the show – the ‘Bleep Test freestyle’, the punch-line game with Krept & Konan, ‘wine tasting’ with Yxng Bane… how do you come up with all these ideas?
The Bleep Test isn’t actually my idea, that’s another person that worked here… but a lot of the ideas, myself and Ben will just sit down and discuss what we can do. I feel like, from my early online content and even on ‘MTV The Wrap-Up’, I’ve always liked to do strange things with people that I interview. I’d always research bare into them or play off their name, or play off their song. So I feel like, having a team around you is good, as it’s not just one brain thinking. I always like to play off things that they’ve said, and make challenges specific to them as well. I feel like the aim of the show, and not just with Radar, but interviewing in general, I always like to see the fun side of people. I feel like it get’s so boring asking the same questions like “what’s the inspiration behind your album?” or “where did your name come from?” all of that, I’d rather know what someone’s favourite cartoon or favourite cereal is, just something random. I feel like with the games I do in interviews, I just want to get their personality out, so people can see what they’re like as a normal person. So that’s the main aim behind those ideas I guess.
Did the show on Radar lead to your residency at 1Xtra?
Ummm no actually so, my mum, she puts on events at Dalston Roof Park, she’s the community organizer, and puts on these community events. She bumped into someone who is part of the production company for 1Xtra, ‘Somethin’ Else’. She said, “you need to check out my daughter, Snoochie Shy!” and they were like, “Oh my God, that’s your daughter?! We were talking about her at BBC!”, or something like that. So I feel like it was my mum who did that but obviously with all the Radar stuff, that would be a part of it, but it was my mum who set up the initial contact at 1Xtra, which is cute.
Your mum is really in your corner, that’s sick… so I heard your show the other day on 1Xtra… most important question… how are the cats doing? How is Shadow Swaggerdon, Cocoa Ms Reprezent, Frankie G?
Oh my God, you know my cats’ names! You know what, I’ve moved out now, so I don’t get to see them all the time, but they are safe and sound with my mum. They’re ragdolls though, so they’re proper serious, buff cats. They’ve got blue eyes, they’re furry, they’re not your average cat… I’ve travelled the world for these cats…
How did you come up with the names?
‘Shadow Swaggerdon’ – I always say swag and Shadow was my first cat, so I was just like “yeah, Shadow Swaggerdon”. ‘Frankie G’… he’s just named after Frank Sinatra really because he has blue eyes. ‘Cocoa Ms Reprezent’ is because I was on Reprezent radio at the time when I got her. If I got her at the time I was on Radar, she would have been called ‘Cocoa Ms Radar’. They have birth certificates as well, so it’s a serious thing…
You also recounted a moment on your show where you met Trevor Nelson… what does it mean to be working so closely to a legend like that?
Ummm, it’s proper sick man. I haven’t even spoken to him properly, he said he was alright to me! I was like “How are you?”, he was like “yeah, yeah, I’m cool, I’m cool.”
I’ve only seen him once, but I feel walking into the BBC building is such a different experience, because you’re walking past all of these people, who have done amazing things for their career as well, they’re really inspiring. Like Trevor Nelson hosted the MOBOs, he’s a legend… he’s just a G, and also Craig David was there the other day and all I heard behind me was “huuuh” (Snoochie attempts to sing), and I was like “Yeah, that’s Craig”. And it was!
(Laughs), I couldn’t believe it he was just walking through BBC, like “huuuuh”, and yeah I used to love Craig David growing up so…
Did you get to chat to him?
No, I think he was getting interviewed by DJ Target, so I didn’t want to jump on and be like “Oh My God!”, because I didn’t want him to think “who’s this weirdo”.
Yourself and Poet will now be hosting ‘Yo! MTV Raps’, congratulations on that…
So for people who don’t really know about the show, can you tell us a bit about it?
Yeah so ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ is a quite an iconic show back in the day in America. It was all about bringing Rap and Hip-hop music to the forefront, and they would shine a light on underground talent, and just get loads of crazy guests in and sit in the studio or do live performances, and interview people, and do video shoots. The UK wanted to do one, so series one is happening and should be launching soon.
It’s just all about focusing on UK music. I feel like the show will be really good, because UK music is in such a good place right now. You can be independent and be in the charts, and all of the views these guys are getting on their videos, and streaming on their tunes is just amazing, so I feel like now is the right time for a show like this as well. It definitely is my dream job… and Poet is like my big brother, he calls me his little sister… he’s the first person that’s I knew in the industry, so to be able to work alongside him is amazing!
Yeah, I really enjoy Poet’s ‘Halfcast Podcast’ with Chuckie… looking forward to it (Yo! MTV Raps) coming out… so imagine you’re handed the aux cord in the whip… what tunes are you playing?
At the moment, I’m loving off Suspect – ‘Say It With Your Chest’. I think Suspect is sick. I love Casisdead… I love a lot of UK Rap music… definitely Headie One. Drill-wise, I think he’s definitely the one to blow this year. But I used to be an Emo back in the day, so I listened to a lot of Indie music as well. I listened to a bit of Paramore, Incubus… I listen to so much different stuff. I feel like if anyone came on a car journey with me they’d probably be confused (laughs).
(Laughs)… yeah Headie One’s tape is sick…
Yeah Headie One’s mixtape, ‘The One’ is sick, but my favourite tune off there is also ‘The One’. I listen to that all the time! I just love it!
Being a DJ yourself, there are a lot of sick female DJs at the moment… there’s Tiffany Calver, Sarah Harrison, Hannah Faith… what do you think is behind the rise of the female DJ in the UK?
I just feel like that at the moment… girls is it. Sometimes I hate it when girls get labeled ‘female DJ’, because you never call a guy, a male DJ, so I feel like things like that still need to be worked on. I feel like people are realizing that just because we’ve got a vagina, it doesn’t mean we can’t play tunes (laughs). We’re actually DJs, so it’s about time that more people are talking about it, but I’m just waiting for the day we just get labelled DJs really, not female DJs.
There’s been a lot of uproar, about the Wireless line-up, and people thought there should have been more female acts… what are your thoughts on it?
There have been so many female acts that have been killing it… I would have loved to see IAMDDB on there, Stefflon Don, Ray BLK. But, I know it has been said that more acts will be announced. I don’t know if more females are going to be announced, I think there’s only something like three? It’s a bit confusing to me, because I feel like girls have had a really sick year in 2017, so I hope there will be more, because I’d definitely want to go and see girls.
Yeah they need SZA in there…
Yeah man, I’m surprised at that! I’m definitely surprised SZA isn’t in there, because her whole album was amazing.
For a budding radio presenter who wants to break through into the tiers of a Radar or a (BBC) 1Xtra, what would your advice be to them?
My advice is always to just keep doing you, and also not compare yourself to other people. I feel like as women, you can get caught up in comparing ourselves to other people’s highlight reels on social media, when we don’t realize that we have twenty four hours in a day and you only put your best bits on Instagram. I mean even if you get ‘no’s’ and stuff, just keep doing it and stay driven. I feel like also to make show-reels out of yourself, so film your radio bits, and build a little show-reel. Start sending it out to different companies, different agents… and also doing radio demos as well is good. I think radio demos, and cutting up best bits of your radio show and sending them out to different radio stations is good to get your foot into different doors.
What are the next steps and goals for you?
Next steps and goals… I definitely want to do more TV. I think ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ will be my first proper TV thing and I’ve never done television so I’d definitely want to do more. I’d like to do more red carpet events, as I really enjoyed doing the MOBOS. Hosting festivals would be cool, I’m hosting ‘Fresh Island’ festival in Croatia, so that should be fun. Yeah, I just want to continue taking everything to the next level. I feel like I’ve made a bit of a brand for myself now, and so it’s just about taking it to the next level.
Well Shy, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to chat to you today.
You can listen to Snoochie Shy’s 1Xtra Residency show here and catch her on Radar Radio, Monday to Thursday from 10AM – 12PM here
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Photography credit: images courtesy of Snoochie Shy and Premier Artists