Tuesday 25 April saw the launch of phase three of Meet a Mentor, and the first of the four structured evening sessions.by
We were warmly welcomed to Somethin’ Else’s headquarters where the evening was hosted. Somethin’ Else is a content company, which works closely with brands and produces content for a range of platforms including online, television and (more importantly for me) radio content.
While some mentees and mentors were getting acquainted, myself and my mentor Nikita were not meeting for the first time - so it was easy picking up where we previously had left off. This meant that we were able to get a lot of ground covered and get specific with my personal goals.
Nikita Chauhan is radio producer, presenter (on Radar) and a DJ. All three areas of her expertise are directly relevant to me and with a strong grasp on the latter, my reasons for attending Meet a Mentor are to cover more ground in the radio producing arena. Nikita currently makes shows for 1xtra’s DJ Semtex and Asian Network’s Kan D Man & Limelight.
After laying down some key targets, we fed back to the group and then debated for a while about the current wave of the still undefined ‘Afro-bashment/ Afro-swing/ Afro-pop’ genre’. It’s a bit like Marmite and the jury’s still out on what it will be coined as. I love it, Nikita isn’t a fan, so we ended up agreeing to disagree.
Our guest speaker was Senior Publicist Zoe Sands, from Sony Pictures. Upon hearing Zoe speak about her route into her career (which now spans nearly two decades), something that really stuck with me was that she started off not knowing firstly what she wanted to do and also before the job which she now does had actually existed.
While I am committed and determined to learn more about radio content production, it wasn’t until recently that I identified this industry matched my skills and passion. I have been working within the realm of the music industry since I was 15, getting to know the roles of people who pull the strings behind the scenes in an editorial and events capacity but now I am really looking forward to learning some new skills and what really goes into editing, packaging and producing high-quality audio content. I’m confident that I’m in the right place for it, and I’m heading in the right direction with the level of support that I need.
Having worked with A New Direction on their fledgling youth engagement and employment programme Headstart in 2011, back when I was 15 and starting to identify the music and events industry as an industry that I would like to pursue, it is really special to have come back into contact with some old faces and goes to show that I’m probably always going to need a mentor figure, the further up the ladder I climb. Although the direction may be ever-changing and evolving, I think it’s really important to have advice and input from people who are in the position that I’d like to get to. It makes it all the more exciting to hear how they’ve navigated their path, and I’d like to think that we are both exchanging useful things even if in different ways.
Watch this space!
Antonia Odunlani is an aspiring radio producer and is a founding member and music editor at Galdem Magazine (and collective) written by women of colour. She is also one of the current mentees on the Meet a Mentor programme.