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Julie Adenuga On Britney, Alicia & Fabric

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Photo: Courtesy of Beats1.
Unless you’ve fallen down a hole for the last fortnight, you’ll know Apple Music Festival is tearing up Camden, bringing 10 pretty major acts — Elton John, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys to name a few — to the Roundhouse for another year of intimate, exclusive gigs.

After chatting to Beats1’s Julie Adenuga last year when she first scored the stellar gig, we caught up with her again at the Britney show last night to chat about radio life, downtime, and the London scene…

You’ve been at Beats with Zane and Ebro for over a year now, how’s it all going?

It’s going really well! It didn’t take the team long to bond but I think we’ve continued to get stronger. We got on quite well straight away because of the intensity of it all; everything we were doing was new to everybody. A whole new ethos. A whole new vibe. We bonded quickly on that basis, it was like, ‘guys we’re all in this together, let’s make it work.’ Everybody knows what they need to do to make this machine work. It makes everyone’s job easier when you trust the people you work with, right? We’ve had a couple of ‘work socials’ that I find so awkward. Something is organised and you have to have fun, and you look at each other like how much fun…
Photo: Courtesy of Beats1.
So your show on Beats1 is 8-10pm. How does your day usually pan out?

I wake up in the afternoon, I’m not gonna lie, then I binge watch programmes. I’m all over White Collar and Power at the moment; I watch back-to-back episodes. Then, it depends on what’s going on. I’m on emails all the time, I’m working on some radio bits at the moment with a couple of people I continue to mentor, and then I always seem to be on the phone to customer service… I always have issues. I’ve got a ‘to read’ and ‘to watch' list on my phone that I’m trying to work though too.

Do you ever relax on radio? Honestly, personally, I can’t think of anything more stressful…!

I’m always relaxed on radio. Radio is like my sanctuary. I actually prefer to be doing my show than not doing it. When I’m not I feel like I have to be… a real person. When I’m on air, I get to have a fun conversation with all these imaginary people.

Do you talk to yourself off air too?

Absolutely. Every day. All the time. I put my phone on silent so no one can disturb me and I can just chatter away to myself. I’m quite funny when it’s just me. When I was growing up I was the only sister in the family so I’d spend a lot of time by myself. I had the odd imaginary friend; I’d pretend I was in Eastenders… Oh god I’m such a loner.

Good practice for radio! So you spearhead the London scene for Beats1, what do you make of fabric closing?

I know man, that’s a painful one. I know a few of the guys there and it’s really sad, it’s gone from bad to worse. It’s really difficult to own a place where people want to have fun. At what point do you put rules on people’s fun. I always think of Monica from Friends with Rachel’s party — “You wanna push the caps until you hear them click.” Everyone wants to enjoy themselves in different ways.

It’s good they aren’t throwing their toys out the pram though, that they’re actively looking for a solution to reopen. With people losing their lives, it hopefully makes more people realise that it’s fine to go out and have fun but you need to be responsible for your own actions. You can’t put the responsibility on an organisation.

And how do you think it impacts the scene here?

There are less places now you can go and have a good time because of the venue. In LA and NY there are venues — like SOBs in Manhattan — where people go because the club is good. You don’t care about the line up; you’re going for the club. Here, we’re losing that. fabric was a club you went to because it’s fabric, you knew every room would be a good time.
Where else do you go to listen to music in London?

I like live nights and performances. A lot of UK artists are doing their own headline shows at the moment, which is cool. I saw Connie Constance recently at Trapeze in Old Street. But if I do go to a nightclub, I always end up in Visions. You can twerk and twerk ‘til the sun comes up.

Apple Music Festival has so much hype around it every year, what is it for you that makes it so special?


It’s FREE. Free! One of the biggest companies in the world doing an event that’s free? That’s really fun. I was talking to my friend about Britney and her Vegas show… those tickets must cost serious dollars! Then to be able to see Britney in Camden for free? That’s insane.

Also The Roundhouse isn’t an arena, it’s an intimate space with excited people. People are genuinely excited. Someone had chucked out a sofa outside the Roundhouse and I saw a girl just chilling on it the other morning waiting for Robbie Williams. That’s cool! You don’t see that at the O2…

Who were you most excited to see when you heard the line up?

Difficult… Okay, in my head it was Chance the Rapper, then Alicia Keys got here and I remembered that I love her. I mean, I love her. I interviewed her and I was like, you’re ALICIA KEYS. When I was a kid I used to have a CD player with a sleep timer on it. I used to fall asleep to the Diary of Alicia Keys every night – I had to tell her that she used to sing me to sleep!

But then I spoke to Robbie Williams yesterday!!!! Maaaaan, he’s such a G! I tweeted afterwards saying ‘I met and interviewed Robbie Williams today, what a top guy’ and he found it and tweeted me back saying “You're soooooooo good at your job and a top top person all round.” Changed my life. Scratch Alicia Keys. Robbie Williams is my fave.
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