Tinea Taylor - DJ and radio presenter interview and playlist
Meet Tinea Taylor
MTV presenter and Kiss FM DJ tells us how she got into the music business and more #OHGinsight
Please tell us a little about your back ground, where you grew up, what your family life was like and where you have lived
My parents are from Dominica and Barbados, I was born in Hackney but moved to Essex when I was 2. I remember growing up and asking my parents why we moved and they said they wanted better schooling for us, quieter environment. I come from a big family, there’s 9 of us. 5 boys and 4 girls lol! When I tell people this they’re always shocked. Looking back, I grew up in a bit of a mad house but it was always fun and very loud! When I think of my childhood home I think of incense always burning, stew chicken being cooked and Beres Hammond or Sizzla being played on full blast. There was always a celebration because that’s what happens when you have 9 children. There were lots of birthdays, christenings, BBQ’s never a dull moment. Growing up in Essex was nice because you could be in a busy town then drive 15 minutes down the road and be amongst country lanes. So many people I meet ask me how I kept my culture and ‘blackness’ being from Essex but honestly I went to a school which was so diverse predominately asian and my parents are Rastafarian so there was no chance of losing my culture at all. My dad especially was all about learning your roots lol!
Tell us a bit more about your career so far, have you always wanted to be a presenter and DJ? What was the dream?
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be an entertainer of some sort. I use to dance when I was younger and would always force my siblings to watch my dance shows and my Christmas performance was always the highlight for me haha. Then in my early teens I started to take an interest in journalism and one of my teachers actually said I’d be great in front of the camera. It wasn’t until I got to uni that I took it seriously. I studied Media Film and Television at university and would rent out the camera equipment to film vox pops in the town centre. Basically just bothering people in the street to talk to me whilst my friend filmed it. Presenting was just something I found that came naturally to me and the more I did it the more I knew it was the career path for me. DJn came later on in my career when I joined KissFMUK. I kept getting asked to do bookings so I took my love for music and learnt to mix and the rest is history as they say…
What does a typical day look like for you?
What I love about my job is that no day is ever the same. I could be in a voiceover session in the morning, then radio in the afternoon and sometimes an event in the evening. Other days I might just have one job filming a tv show so it changes all the time but that’s what I love the most.
How did you get into the business, who or what supported you and what would you say was your ”big break”?
After I graduated from Uni I started working for an online magazine called Dropoutuk. I was their main presenter and I treated it as the best work experience I could ever get. I wasn’t paid for my work and I didn’t get any money for travel expenses but I interviewed the likes of JLS, The Saturdays, Example, Trey Songz and that was the start of me really honing my skills and getting great experience on the job. I then went on to have my own radio show on RinseFM, which then led to joining the Drivetime show on Kiss. Having my own voice over show on Nickelodeon and joining the MTV family on MTV News. It may seem like I’ve done a lot but I honestly don’t think I’ve had my ‘big break’ yet. I haven’t done half the things I’ve wanted to do and I’m still not a ‘household’ name yet. So yeah I’ve still got a way to go yet.
What have been your greatest achievements so far?
I’m so grateful that I have experienced so many blessings but summer 2018 has been a great one. I went to work on Isle of MTV festival for the second year but this time I opened the main stage with a dj set in front of 20,000 people. Was I shitting myself? of course but it’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of and it’s a memory I will hold forever. This year I also joined the X Factor family as a new host of the digital show Xtra Bites. It’s a show I’ve grown up watching for years so to be a part of it this year is a dream come true.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years, what goals have you set yourself?
in 3 years’ time I want be a permanent fixture on a TV channel like ITV. I want to be the go to name they call upon when they have a new show format etc. I basically want to be a household name. I think that’s every presenter’s dream. To take it as far as you possibly can. Of course having my own talk show would be an absolute dream too, picking my own guests and artists to perform.
Where did your love for music spark from and who are your favourite artists at the moment?
My mum and Dad were both backing singers for local reggae bands and my sister is a singer songwriter, my uncle plays the bongo’s for the House Gospel Choir (He’s sick btw haha) so music has always been in my blood. It was a huge part of growing up so naturally I think that’s where my love for music came from. In terms of favourite artists it all depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m chilling I’ll be listening to Masego, Anderson Paak. I’ve also started listening to Summer Walker I love her vibe. I’m Caribbean but I love afrobeats, Wizkid, Davido, Mr Eazi, Maleek Berry and Mut4y are just some of the artists I listen to.
Radio’s DJ’ing takes a lot of energy, how do you keep fresh, energised and inspired?
Sleep when you can!! It’s no joke, honestly on my days off I do nothing but lay on the sofa, catch up on my fave TV shows and snack all day. And no I won’t even shower haha. I think it’s important when you’re a busy DJ and Presenter to take time out and rest when you can. That’s how I get my energy back up. I also use days off to listen to the new music I’ve been sent because I get a lot daily. I also like to find out who the new artists are that people are feeling.
In what ways is it harder being a female DJ? And what can be done to support women in the industry?
It’s so much harder because first off we get no respect. I remember going to DJ once in a club and the security guard wouldn’t let me in the DJ booth because he thought I was a ‘groupie’ and I was trying to explain to him that I’m playing next. He weren’t having none of it so I had to walk around the other side of the booth and tell the resident to let me in. The security guard had the shock of his life when he realised the sick set he was dancing to was being played by a woman. He then apologised afterwards and said ‘you don’t look like a DJ’. What does a DJ even look like?! This is the type of stuff other female DJs have been through in the past. We are always second guessed because it’s seen as a mans sport. I love it though when I’m the only girl on a DJ line up. If the other guys don’t know me or haven’t seen me play before they often gather round the booth during my set, always makes me laugh how they assume I’m gonna be wack or not mixing live. I think more support will come when people stop being so ignorant to the fact that women can DJ. Don’t get me wrong I have people all the time say they loved my set and more male DJs are being encouraging but I still think we have a way to go yet.
What advise would you give to women looking to become a radio DJ and what does your career mean to you?
The advice I’d give would be to persevere. I say this all the time but I’ve had so many knock backs and no’s from brands, people I’ve admired but the success comes when you keep on going. The things I prayed for are finally happening but that’s because I also refused to give up. Also I would say to have a thick skin and don’t read YouTube comments lol! We live in such a digital world now and people can be so mean sometimes online so it’s important to not take notice of the things they say. My career means everything because it’s what I believe I was meant to do. It’s my passion the only thing that drives me, so I want to do well and hold on to it for as long as possible.
Who/What inspires you to achieve and why?
Firstly, my family have always been such a driving force for what I do. They supported me right from the start and never told me my dream was too big or unachievable. Endless talks of encouragement and posting my work everywhere telling family and friends how proud they are that makes me want to keep going. Also I have such amazing women in my life doing great things. I’m so happy when I see my fellow peers smashing it on the timeline, whether that be getting a record deal, working with a massive brand, hosting a sick event, that’s what inspires me to want to do more. I’m such a big fan of women helping and encouraging each other I think when we finally start to do that more we can achieve such great things.
What would your closest friends say your best and worst habits are?
oh gosh haha. Best I think they would say how organised I am, I like everything to be in order and I like to just get shit done, I’m quite anal about things. They definitely benefit from that. Worst I know for a fact they would say how much of a diva I am hahah. I sometimes might not be in the best mood if I don’t get my way lol or if it’s my birthday and you think you can turn up in a similar outfit to me!! That is my pet hate and they know it and think I’m absolutely ridiculous for it and I am but I don’t care! lol
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
I always say success shouldn’t be measured against other people’s achievements but your own. We often look at others and compare ourselves and think we aren’t as successful because we’re not doing the things they are but that’s wrong. Success could be the fact that you’ve completed a task that you’ve been putting off for a while or it could mean that you’ve got a great new job. I tend to make lists of things I want to achieve and once I’ve reached a goal no matter how big or small I’ll celebrate it.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance? What do you do to relax?
I try to catch up with friends and family as much as I can, sometimes I work 2 weeks straight no day offs so the minute I get time I know I need to tend to my personal life and see the people I love. I went through a stage once where I worked constantly because I felt that’s all that mattered but it’s not healthy at all, taking downtime is really important.
What do you love about ohheygirl?
When I first came across OhHeyGirl on Instagram I loved the designs because I love a structured piece and there were so many to choose from. Prints and colours are also played with as well which is always fun when you’re putting an outfit together. What the brand stands for as a whole inspiring individuality and diversity I’m always here for that. This year especially I’ve seen more fashion brands make room for change and it’s always needed. I like to think of myself as a female boss lol I’m talented, independent and strong and OhHeyGirl supports that 100%. Any brand that gets behind women I will stand with, always.