Pressparty interview Capital Xtra's Jade Avia about her career, fitness and the importance of social media
Just before the weekend, Pressparty caught up with Capital Xtra presenter Jade Avia to talk about her impressive career to date, her brand new bag in collaboration with High Spirit, and her top fitness tips.
Speaking about joining Capital Xtra two years ago, Avia explained that it's important that they keep the show fresh in order to stay ahead of other shows where listeners are concerned because at the moment they're ahead of the likes of 1XTRA, Kisstory, and Kiss Fresh in listener figures:
I’ve been at Capital Xtra for two years now. I think the main thing about our show that keeps it fresh is that it’s so authentic - it’s so real, it’s a laugh in the mornings, and it keeps people coming back for more. The main thing in the morning is to feel like you’ve been woken up, which is definitely our aim. The fact that we’re beating other shows in (listeners figures) is amazing.
I had a little bit of a leapfrog moment where I left university and worked in jobs for just under a year then went straight to radio. I studied at Birmingham City University and studied Media and Communications. From there, I moved to London. But while at university, I made sure I was working on radio stations outside of my course – I was very hands on. I got my name out there in terms of being a radio presenter and when I moved to London I was very proactive in getting things online. Kojo (co-presenter) saw me on YouTube, called me up and asked if I was interested in radio so I went down and did a demo.
How important is social media in your career and also in the process of launching your career?
100%. It’s so important for our generation to use that, it’s the way forward. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… it’s all online. It’s creating huge stars around the world – Justin Bieber was discovered from YouTube. Anyone who’s aspiring to be a personality or presenter, you know, it’s important to build up your online fanbase as people go by numbers at the end of the day, and if they’re authentic you can’t really go against that.
What advice do you have for an aspiring radio presenters?
I’d say that positive mental attitude definitely got me a long way in my career. Taking knock backs – where you say, ‘ok, while that was a no I can learn from that’. Learning from every opportunity possible. I decided to put myself through sixth form and university, and came out with a first class degree. I just want to learn and to be good at what I do. That’s something a lot of people forget these days. You have to know your skill – radio’s not just something you go into and talk. Being good in your craft is very important, creating your own audience, and having your own following – being a positive person to be around is always good. And networking, obviously.
Do you think things like social media and reality TV competitions, such as 'The Voice' or 'The X Factor', lure this generation into thinking fame is something that can be achieved instantly? Is there a bad side to that?
Oh my gosh, yes. Our generation wants everything now. The thing that makes our generation so impatient is perception. You can create a fake story around a picture, but I can create a whole Instagram that makes it look like my life is a dream when actually I’m in a really bad place. The realism of life has been tinged by social media. Everyone wants to be famous, but it seems to be that music is coming back around again – real talent – so hopefully with our generation, it’ll make them notice that it takes really hard work and isn’t so instant.
I think that those shows ('The Voice' and 'The X Factor') are great to get you out there. If you’ve got talent it can get you out there, but if you’re relying on just those shows to ‘make you’ then that’s where the danger is. You could potentially fail miserably or have an attitude that people don’t want to be around, so when it’s broadcast on television and people are seeing that, it can be damaging.
Have there been any 'wow' moments when interviewing celebrities for Capital Xtra or any people you've worked with who haven't been what you initially expected?
There was a moment in my interview with Alicia Keys, when I told Kojo he should sing with Alicia Keys and it all became a little overwhelming! I’ve met some amazing people. Hugh Jackman is amazing, we interviewed Nicki Minaj on Monday and that went viral – it’s amazing. The more you interview one person, you start building a relationship with them. People like Jamie Foxx, NeYo, Kevin Hart – you begin to get to know them and realise they’re just normal people and it’s really cool. Alicia Keys and Will Smith are up there with my favourite people I’ve interviewed. Gerard Butler… I mean, Gerard Butler’s just a god, isn’t he? Bradley Cooper… wow. He’s hot as well.
Scarlett Johansson wasn’t what I expected her to be… she just wasn’t… I’m not sure if she was tired or moody, but she wasn’t very pleasant. She didn’t acknowledge me as I walked into the room and was having a conversation with somebody else.
We've noticed that you're very into fitness and healthy eating, do you have any top tips?
My main tip… the one thing if you want to be healthy and lose weight, give up eating bread, man. It isn’t easy because it’s such a quick thing to grab, but there are chemicals in bread that aren’t even food! Oh, and put mint and cucumber in your water – it’s like a little bit of a detox!
I’m in the middle of a six-week clean eating challenge, I’m doing really well and have definitely noticed a big change in my body. I’ve given up alcohol! I’m normally the one getting the party started, but I want to be on the other side of that for a change. I wanted to see what it’s like. I get tired a lot easier though, when I’m out in the club!
Who should we be listening out for in the music world? Are there any up and coming new acts we should be checking out?
I think that Nick Brewer, he’s a rapper, he’s pretty cool and is definitely going to do well. Full Crate as well, they’ve got a song called ‘Man x Woman’, they’re producers from Amsterdam. Sasha Keable… oh my god, her voice is insane. She’s so soulful. She’s amazing and reminds me a little of Jessie Ware as well – definitely one
What else are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got a new bag range coming out (pictured)! It’s in collaboration with a company called High Spirit – there are two I have in my range. One’s black and blue, and is laser-cut leather so it looks like snakeskin, and the other one is shiny leather, which is really girly. They’re both theft-proof. There are no zips on the front – it’s on the back so you can go on the underground or to festivals and it’s safe and you’d feel comfortable. I've also just started a column with Beamly.
You can follow Jade Avia on Twitter at @JadeAvia and tune in to XTRA In The Morning with Kojo and Jade every weekday from 6am, across the UK on DAB digital radio, at capitalxtra.com and on the app.
Watch Jade Avia take part in the Jupiter London Nocturne Barclays Cycle Hire Race below:
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