In the space of a few short years, Gemma Cairney has gone from fashion graduate to styling Florence and the Machine before a complete volt face into radio and TV presenting.
On the eve of her first breakfast show for Radio 1, Twin caught up with the rising star and asked for her top eight tunes…
You were a fashion stylist for a number of years and styled a number of musicians – was music always an inspiration to you?
Subconsciously, definitely. I’ve always shied away from considering myself a “muso” of any sort, but I’ve always adored it. Especially dancing to it.
When I was styling I knew some musicians and we all wanted to work together so we orchestrated some fun photo-shoots, that’s how it started really.
What have the past three years been like for you, the career change, finding yourself in front of the camera and on the radio?
Bonkers. I like trying things that make me excited and my stomach churn. When you try new things, I’ve found you continue to meet new inspirational people along the way. I was 22 when I decided I wanted to do more than just fashion and that I should try radio presenting. I loved it. The past three years has just been a continual stomach churn.
What’s your everyday mantra?
It’ll be alright.
What does being on Radio 1 mean to you?
A mind boggle of joy.
What else are you excited about for the future?
I have two documentaries coming out later this year that are quite serious, it will be good to share what I’ve been sinking my teeth into for quite a while now. Obviously, getting settled into my new Radio 1 role and lastly (the most boring) is putting up some cork tiles in my house! So that I have fixed notice board & can get more organised.
Gemma’s top eight tracks…
1/ Erykah Badu ft. Common – Love of My Life (Ode to Hip Hop)
I’ve been in such sparkling awe of Erykah Badu from around aged seventeen onwards. I just thought she was amazing, all of her songs hold such special nolstalgia for me. I remember finding out that she’d once been out with Common and I could hardly cope I found it so cool.
2/ Dub Phizix – Marka
This is new(ish) record that we played on 1xtra and I was gripped by the genre journey I was taken on. That sounds stupid, but if ya haven’t heard it listen and you’ll see what I mean.
3/ So Solid – 21 Seconds
The sheer frothing peak of garage raving. This tune is massive.
4/ Spice Girls – Spice Up Your life
Just beacuse I so did, most probably a generational thang.
5/ Mikey J and The Female Allstars
Rock the mic – female musical power in its current form.
6/ Barry White – Can’t Get Enough of Your Love
I used to swoon around the lounge to my mum’s Barry White section of her cd collection on repeat.
7/ Lauryn Hill ft. D’Angelo – Nothing Even Matters
Such a beautiful song. You JUST get it. Not to mention how stand out brilliant the album it’s from is.
8/ TLC – Creep
It was hard to choose between TLC and Destiny’s Child – who I’m obsessed with – but I had the Crazy Sexy Cool album on cassette before Destiny’s Childs’ Writing’s On The Wall, so they win.
Listen to Gemma’s playlist here
From 7 April 2012, listen to Gemma Cairney at the weekend, 7am-10am, on BBC Radio 1.