In Talks With Tiffany Calver: Hosting The AIM Awards, Career Experiences In Music & More!

Casey Dorney

By Casey Dorney

Casey Dorney

26 Aug 2021

Constantly reaching new milestones and setting influential examples for women in the industry, current BBC Radio DJ and Presenter Tiffany Calver continues to thrive in her career. One of the biggest names right now on air, Tiffany has made her mark in the scene, using her resources to push and support the growth of UK music. With huge achievements such as starting her own show, touring with Hip-Hop star Drake and co-hosting the 2021 AIM Awards – me and Amanda sit down with Tiffany Calver on behalf of Mixtape Madness to discuss her career so far and more!

A : We’re at the AIM awards! How are you feeling today?

I’m good! I’m really happy to be back here, this is my second year co-hosting the AIM awards and it’s just so much fun. I never get to be on the camera, I’m always on the microphone, on radio or I’m doing other bits so it’s good to get that practice in, show my face a bit and learn how to use auto-cue. It’s really fun but I’ve learnt this year I’m blind. I need glasses! *laughs*

C: Apart from the AIM Awards, is this your first ever presentation of award shows?

I’ve had my experience in a bunch, whether it’s the rated awards, going to the BRITS or things like that but what I love about AIM and why I think I’m always keen to being involved is because it really celebrates independent music. Especially in our scene with rappers and the rise of the UK rap industry, you see more successful stories of independent artists like AJ Tracey or Dave – All of these artists that fly that flag and show you that it can be done. I’m here for it all.

A: Would you say you’re more for pushing the homegrown, independent side of music rather than mainstream or do you like doing a bit of both?

I’m just here to support options really, I think whatever works for an artist, works for an artist. You can be a star with either a label or on your own – it just completely depends on what works for you. Do you have the team in place? Being independent takes a lot of work, which is why it is something to celebrate because they’re pretty much on their own, with their team doing everything, strategizing everything, they’re the ones looking at marketing, they’re also investing all the money. Its way more of a risk being independent and it’s also probably a lot harder and a bit slower, so I think it’s nice to have a home and celebrate the artists that take that risk all the time to boost their careers, but I like options. I still believe in labels. I have a label! I do both at my label – I can either work with someone and distribute or I can put them through the Universal system, it just depends on them and what works best.

C: Retracing back to idea of being visual, did you always want to get in to being visual? – as a radio host I know a lot of it is off the camera.

I just like music and I think I’ve fallen into everything that I have from loving music. I’m quite a shy person – my producers could talk about this for hours *laughs*. When we have to film something, I get really in myself. We just did an interview with Skepta! Fortunately for me, we have a relationship built up over the years, which helps in them scenarios so it’s nice to be able to be on camera and show him in a different light as well where he’s just talking to me like a person. I’d like to do more of it but I’m shy! *laughs*

C: I’ve noticed that a lot of radio stations and podcasts have gone visual nowadays as it used to be all behind the camera but now everyone’s filming them! 

100%! I can appreciate radio obviously – I love radio and I can appreciate listening to a podcast but there is just something now with having the visibility of who’s speaking. Especially the younger generation, they prefer looking at things – I was going to say, I only recently got on TikTok, yeah, I waste hours on there *laughs*. 

A: With the experience you’ve picked up in radio – what chapter did you find the most valuable in that journey, before you ended up where you are right now?

I think my favourite chapter to have learnt from is always the beginning because the courage and bravery I think it took me to stop being a perfectionist, because I didn’t know how to DJ when I did my first ever radio show – I was learning.! So, they made me download Serato and they were just like “Fly” *laughs*. It was live and, on the internet, forever and that’s just not who I am – a Virgo *laughs*, I just prefer to be perfect! But I learnt such a valuable lesson that I think I’ve applied throughout my career now which is what has opened so many doors for me, which is just to do it – just to jump when you get the opportunity and to trial and to learn. I failed a lot but I’ve learnt so much on the way that has taken me to better places. I’d love to tell you the nerves and shyness goes away but it definitely doesn’t! *laughs* but you learn to look at it differently, you learn to appreciate that side of you because if you’re content in something you’ll never excel better, you won’t progress so you always have to appreciate what’s going on! Enjoy the journey because you will actually look back on it one day and kind of miss it – even in the most stressful moments. So take what you’ve done there and then push yourself further. I think all creatives have that – where you’re very hard on yourself and don’t think anything’s good – but it just pushes you to be better so try and enjoy it but keep the determination. 

C: What do you feel like is the next steps for you in the music industry, is there anything that you’d like to do?

Yeah! There are loads of stuff I’d love to do. I think when I got my show and did the Drake tour, there was a part of that year for me that was like – what do I do now? I feel like I’ve done it. I’ve always dreamed of having a show and then I got it. I’ve always dreamed of doing an arena tour and I did that – and it was with the biggest artist in my genre, in the world. It was like right, so what do I do now? I’ve kind of hit that ceiling. I took some time, I went to Nigeria for a bit because of Skepta’s management, they took a bunch of us over there. I just got to think and I was like, if anything this just teaches me not to have this ceiling. There’s loads – I want to make documentaries REALLY REALLY badly, starting to put my name on records rather than just making them. For visibility, especially as a woman, showing that we can do it, which is why I really appreciated Drake and Headie wanting me to be a part of the ‘Only You Freestyle’ video even just for 10 seconds, to show my involvement. I think visibility is so important. I’m also working on a mixtape right now – don’t worry I’m not rapping *laughs*. I’m pulling together all my favourite artists and making music and doing something fun with that. I’d love to curate the music for a TV show – that’s a dream of mine. So, Top Boy if you read this – give me a call, I would happily do that! *laughs*.

Keep updated with Tiffany Calver via her Instagram – here!