Watch: My BBC Short Film

Work

In May 2019, Muslims around the world fasted for the holy month of Ramadan. As someone who has experienced mental health issues, it can be a difficult time of year to stay focused and motivated, especially when you have no family around to encourage you, and work long hours.

I spoke to the BBC about addiction in South Asian communities

Work

It don’t really know what to say about this one. I wrote something very personal to me about having an alcoholic parent, and how that hurt me mentally. I was invited to the BBC’s Asian Network to discuss my article with Nihal Arthanayake and speak to listeners going through the same thing.

Live from BBC Asian Network’s Big Debate

Work

I was recently invited to the BBC to take part in The Big Debate on BBC Asian Network and yes, I almost wet myself in a fit of nerves but yes, it was also an experience I thought worth sharing.

Charlie Hebdo: People, Not Politics

Thinkpieces

all is forgiven

As emotions continue to run high following the atrocious attacks in Paris last week the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo went on sale in the UK, with customers queuing overnight to get their hands on the Survivors issue. As I’m sure you’ve all seen the front cover maintained their brazen stance, with a cartoon of their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, who is in tears, holding the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) alongside the headline ‘Tout Est Pardonne’ (‘All Is Forgiven’) – regardless of the diverse reactions, it’s a potent message.

The only thing I could be sure about in this situation was that the death of artists is heartbreaking and rage inducing. I’ve heard people of a similar descent as me comment that ‘they weren’t innocent …’ 

Maz Chats to Charlie Sloth

Interviews, Work

Charlie Sloth is The Man when it comes to UK rap. With his new radio show and his fresh involvement with The Hub Entertainment, I speak to the “sexiest fat guy in the universe” about his plans for the future…

Hey Charlie! What you been up to?

Hey Maz! I’ve just been working hard, doing shows, in the studio, stuff for the BBC…

Let’s talk ‘Fire in the Booth’. Did you think it would ever be this popular?

Um… would it sound like I have a big head if I said I did?! I was very confident that by using the platform I had been given at 1xtra and the presence I already had on YouTube, that I could make a great success of it.

For sure! So that being said, can you tell us about the upcoming ‘Fire in the Booth’ tour?

I’m gonna be doing an 8-leg tour here in the UK. I will be inviting along previous guests who have been to the show. I haven’t actually nailed the name of the tour; obviously it will ‘Fire in the Booth…’ something! There will be artists like K Koke, English Frank, Black the Ripper, Political Peak, Lowkey… all the guys that have been successful on the show. They will get 20 minutes to do their thing, and at the end there will be a cypher with everyone who performed on the night, doing real freestyles.

You are giving underrated artists their chance to shine; but do you think they will ever get the success that they deserve?

I think we’re in that transition period now where it’s a lot more accessible; it’s more in demand than it has ever been. People are really paying attention to what is going on in the rap world over here. Even people in The States… like when Drake came over, he reached out to Sneakbo… People ARE paying attention.

You were independent before you joined The Hub entertainment. How have things changed since?

I’ve always had a team, but I like to do things myself – I’m very hands on. I like to make myself accessible where business is involved. It was a big step, me getting involved with The Hub, but I think it was a great move as they are a very young, fresh company.

They’re very hungry and it represents what I’m about. I feel like I’m in the same position as them; young hungry and with a point to prove. I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s hard to let go of the reins, but I know I’m never gonna get to the point that I wanna get to on my own, I need a team and people I can trust.

Your new rap show debuted this month. Tell us what we can expect from the show.

It is on BBC Radio 1 and will be similar to my show on BBC 1xtra, but I’m just taking it to a bigger audience. We will be travelling to a new city at least once a month and doing the show from there. My plan for the show is to make the scene a UK scene, rather than a London-centric one. I think in the UK we are so behind in terms of development…

10 years ago in the US, if you weren’t from New York, it weren’t happening for you. It is very much the same here, if you aren’t from London, you ain’t getting that airplay. But now in the states, everyone is united and that is how it became a global business – it was a big massive cake that everyone could eat from. I feel that over here we are very close to reaching that stage; I wanna help through that transition period and be the guy that takes it there.

As the music expert, which up and coming artists are you rating this year?

Black the Ripper is one of the most credible MC’s, Political Peak, Youngen, DVS, English Frank, Mic Righteous… I think they are names that will become a lot more popular this year.

Tinie Tempah broke a lot of boundaries. Who do you think will be the next artist to do that?

In my opinion personally it would be K Koke. He has the ability to be appreciated and respected by the American street audience. Tinie Tempah is accepted by the mainstream world and celebrated as an artist. But we are yet to have an artist who has really captivated the streets.

Giggs came very close; he has a lot of heat out there in certain parts of the states. But I think K Koke has that appeal where he can tap into the street market over there. They are calling out for something new and fresh, they’ve heard it all before. He has the depth, substance and edge – for me, that is what is missing right now.

There is no real rebellion on the charts, someone who says “f*ck you and f*ck society” and I think it has got a bit boring because of that. I think people want that though and I think that is what is next, to be honest.

Fingers crossed! But what is next for Charlie Sloth?

I hope to be the guy that was known and is known for taking UK rap over the line. I’ve got a lot of things happening this year that I wish I could talk about, but I can’t yet. A lot of things are happening Stateside; I recently got my US work visa! I got a situation with one of the biggest film companies out there and we’ve been working on a project for the last year. The next few years are definitely going to be very exciting… And there is gonna be a lot more Charlie Sloth in everyone’s faces!

Catch Charlie Sloth on Radio 1 every Tuesday from 2 – 4am.

Don’t forget to follow the man himself on twitter for the latest.

Maz Meets Gemma Cairney

Interviews, Work

 

If you don’t already know about this chick, you must be living under a rock. She is the presenter and official style expert of the channel 4 show Frock Me, radio presenter for BBC 1xtra and stylist to the stars. Yup, you could almost call her superwoman.  I spoke to the gal herself about her latest ventures.

You are a lady of many talents. You have been a TV presenter, stylist and a radio presenter. But what was your main ambition as a youngster?

I went to the BRIT school, as I wanted to be an actor. I did a lot of theatre there which was great fun. But I soon realised that I couldn’t really play any other character but myself! Shortly after my drama experience, I moved to London, where I found myself highly inspired by fashion. It inspired me to get involved. I gained a lot of valuable experiences, meeting loads of wonderful people. But even at that stage I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I thought, ‘how can I combine all my experiences to create my dream career?’ I decided to do a short course in Radio, where I found my niche. After my course I got myself out there on a mission, and radio became my 9 to 5. With radio jobs coming in, the TV followed. That led to my show on channel 4, Frock Me.

What do you prefer, fashion or radio/TV?

I am in love with fashion. It is a great way of expressing yourself; I think it tells a great story. It influences me immensely. But I find that my passion for people over rides that. If you listen to the BBC 1Xtra breakfast show, you will know that I absolutely love to talk! So whilst I adore wearing silly clothes to make a statement, I love interacting with others more, so people win hands down for me. I feel so lucky to be on the radio, doing what I love the most.

How did you get your name out there?

First, I have to say, I feel really lucky for everything I am doing. I honestly never believed I would be in this position. The best advice I have is to always keep an open mind. Do not limit yourself to one genre, one idea, or one goal. There is so much going on in the TV Industry, radio and media in general. There are so many wonderful people involved in all sorts of projects and collectives. So I find if you have an open mind to try new things, it helps you develop your craft and you meet new and fabulous people. The experience also helps you decide where exactly you think your destiny lies. And do not forget about networking! Hand out as many business cards as you can and build up those contacts.

What else have you been up to on the TV front?

I have been everywhere! I have produced some plays; I have set up my own shoots… I remember on one shoot, I had to lug suitcases around Richmond Park, it was crazy! But all those efforts when I had no one else to help me paid off tremendously. I find the way to get into TV is to brave but not pushy. There is a fine line between the two, but you have to get the balance right. Also, you have to have a sense of humour, as life can be ridiculous! Be open minded but never, ever, lose your own values.

So January 2011 is a big look for you, as you are starting your new radio show, leaving Trevor. How does that feel?

It feels majorly exciting! I will have my own slot from 1pm – 4pm every weekday. As I’ve been doing the breakfast show with Trevor, I haven’t had a lie in in years! I have loads and loads of ideas for the show. I’m a random person, so I have loads of random ideas, but we’ll see what ideas will materialise. But I will definitely be changing the afternoon slot up. It will be new, exciting and filled with lots of chatter by me! Not forgetting the amazing music exclusives either, of course…

What is it like working with Trevor Nelson every morning?

He has become a life-long friend to me. He has 15 years in the game, so I learnt from the best, truly. We may bicker in the morning, we may disagree, but ultimately he is like family to me now. I have untold respect for him. It will be very sad not to have him by my side on the radio. He gave me the best introduction to radio that I could have ever hoped for. He is a strict mentor, but a great one. I mean, working at the BBC is rewarding in itself, I have seen so many amazing things. I absolutely love 1xtra, and I do not see myself leaving any time soon.

What is next for you?

I hope to be climbing mountains… I mean that literally! I will be setting up something physically intense next year. I hope to do some presenting at Glastonbury next year. Festivals are a great love of mine. I have been in talks with some TV heads about some shows that I want to do in the near future, I want to do something unique, and not something that has been done and redone, like so many other shows on television. So you’ll have to wait and see…

Check out Gemma’s show on BBC 1xtra from 1pm – 4pm every weekday.

You can read the full Jan/Feb issue of NXG Magazine here.