Now let it be said that I am not a professional journalist. I barely came out of high school with any GCSEs, since I spent most of the time bunking off school with my bum-ass ex boyfriend. I blagged my way into college (okay, I begged) and just about made it out. Jesus, I’m not painting a good picture of myself. Basically, I have never been academic.
I’ve always enjoyed writing and people told me I was quite good at it, so I went with it. At 20, I found a scheme where the government paid a part-time wage for people aged 16-25 to work for a creative start-up. David Cameron’s Conservative era in 2010 saw him quickly cut this scheme, but I got to enjoy it for over a year before that.
I joined a start-up called NXG – a youth project founded by a man called Michael Kosmas. He wanted to launch a magazine, a radio station, and an airline company. I was just happy to be hired. Working on the magazine with my new found friends Emma and James, Emma was the only Journalism graduate. She taught me so much. I wrote about health, fashion, and love. I even got to interview some people.
In the spring of 2011 we somehow snagged some phone time with singer Trey Songz and I was so excited! He was a big deal, and I was going to be interviewing him. I spent ages preparing, and yet my questions were absolute dog shit – but at the time I thought they were a revelation. “How did you get into singing?” “Are you single?” “Have you been to the UK before?” In hindsight, it was destined to be a disaster.
The day finally arrived, and I was waiting for the call from Trey – his PR was going to call me and put me through. I was sweating with nerves, my stomach flipping, my head slightly fuzzy with anticipation. I’m a very anxious, shy person anyway – I’ve only learnt how to just about hide it in my early twenties – I’d had no training on how to interview, and I was such a fan of Trey. I was beyond nervous.
Then the call came through. “Hey, Meeriaaam! Trey’s ready for you” the PR chirped in an LA drawl. I swallowed, took a deep breath, and there he was. “Hello,” he said in a tired but smooth voice.
“Hi, Trey! How are you? Thanks for speaking to me! I just…” then I started coughing, manically. I thought I was going to throw up on the carpet. It was as if pins were being inserted into my temples. I had no idea what to say.
I managed to recover a few awkward moments later. “I just had a few questions, if that’s okay?”
“Yeah sure” he replied, sounding bored to death. I mean of course it was okay for me to ask him questions – IT WAS AN INTERVIEW. I wanted to die. We all wanted to die.
“SO WHEN DID YOU GET IN SINGING? [coughs] INTO SINGING?” I nervously shouted down the phone, my voice cracking. He sighed as he told me the story that I now realise he had told a million times before.
“I see, I see” I said, trying to be receptive but feeling too awkward to know how to reply or how to interact. Anything I knew about being a functional, sociable human had vanished. “Ah, I SEEE” I bleated at him every 4.5 seconds.
“SO YOU ERM WORKED WITH DRAKE DIDN’T YOU, OHMYGOD THAT MUST HAVE BEEN VERY COOL!”
At this stage, I think Trey had enough.
“What? Drake and I have been working together for a long time, it’s nothing new.” He sighed, and I just got worse. At this point, I became incoherent – my voice was shaking too much.
“Excuse me?” he barked in a whiny American accent. I was starting to really fucking hate Trey Songz.
I just could not get my nerves under control, and every time I asked him yet another generic question, he got angrier. I really had thought my questions were awesome prior to being on the phone to him. Now I was cursing myself and my existence.
I asked him another question, I can’t even remember what it was – but it came out like diarrhoea.
“EXCUSE ME?” Trey replied, sounding like he was about to fire his PR after the call was done for even letting me speak to him.
“I… sorry can you hear me? I was ju-u-st as-ki-ing” I spoke in broken words, pretending my signal was going, because at this stage I was ready to fucking die.
“WHAT?” he virtually yelped.
“HI TREY CAN YOU HEAR ME? TREY? I..” and hung up.
I emailed his PR apologizing, saying I had a bad line, and attempted to salvage what I could from the audio transcript – I may not be a verbally capable human but I managed to pull out a semi-decent written piece out of my ass and submitted it to my Editor, head down in shame as I pressed send.
The year later I met Trey for an article I was doing on his new album at the time and it was fine – needless to say, I didn’t tell him we’d spoken before.
I’d like to say I learnt something from this mortifying experience, but my verbal social skills haven’t improved hugely to be honest. Although I did learn that if your research is thorough, your questions are good enough, and your writing is strong enough, you’ll get through it.
Sorry Trey, you deserved better hun.
DISCLAIMER: This occurred nearly 7 years ago – since then I have become an adult and a professional. Please hire me, for I am poor yet brilliant.