Carly Wilford is representing the UK to the fullest, we spoke to her about UK music going global, saving Fabric Nightclub and her habit of spotting future stars.
2017 is quite possibly the greatest moment to be an artist from the UK. With Brits like Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Adele leading the line for the island on a global stage, the emergence of talent from the ground up is quite astonishing.
Carly Wilford – Spinning Dreams
Someone who stays plugged into the greatest talents from across the country as well as showcases her own skills by being a DJ on her own independent radio show ‘SISTER’ is UK presenter/DJ Carly Wilford. Interviewing the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Nas, J Cole are just a few of her accomplishments. She is one of the most exciting rising stars in the game.
A self – confessed workaholic, Carly has been pursuing her dreams of dominating the creative arts since her youth, inspired by the dance classes she took as a young girl, Carly has skyrocketed into a position of being one of the hottest prospects on the UK DJ scene, learning the tricks of the trade all by herself. She is a tireless worker, even when arranging our interview, she twice had to postpone, having lost her voice following an amazing night performing at Boxpark Shoreditch, not to mention presenting at the Brit Awards 2017 the day before – she never stops hustling.
When discussing the need for more female representation in the music industry, Carly was passionate, detailing how proud she was of the new wave of British female DJs and presenters emerging through the ranks such as Maya Jama and Julie Adenuga; someone who she started off with at Underground London radio station Rinse FM: ‘There has never been a more exciting time for girls right now. We need to have the confidence to step forward.’ Stepping forward is certainly something Carly is comfortable doing, having performed in front of huge crowds weekly and hosting her own shows to regularly showcasing her eclectic DJ sets to the world via her SoundCloud:
Carly admits that her favourite thing about being a DJ is the fact that when she’s playing she is ‘surrounded by happy people.’ She told me about a special moment when she played a George Michael song on New Years’ Eve, shortly after his untimely death on Christmas day and a young lady approached her crying, later revealing how much Carly playing the George Michael track meant to her that night because ‘George Michael was one of her best friends.’ She understands the power of that music possesses to connect; how music is a tool which can shape the way people feel, and ultimately transcend people above the realms of their physical realities.
Curating the Culture
Carly is also a curator of British culture, proudly supporting UK artists early on in their careers, especially the ones who she believes possess a certain star quality. One of the artists she’s supported from the beginning is none other than global superstar Ed Sheeran who she still has a ring that his mother made from the times when she would sell jewellery at his gigs to fund his career. The admiration for the Brit who shared a relatable story was crystal clear: ‘He really paints pictures with his words, being independent, he’s been that person who’s kept me going seeing how hard he worked before he was signed.’
She has also helped up and coming Grime artists such as triple threat singer, rapper and producer Jevon who she interviewed in his bedroom in Coventry back in 2013: ‘I look in someone’s eyes and I know they’re going to be a star; I feel it in my heart.’ Other British acts who she has supported from early on and have gone onto major success include the likes of songstress Jorja Smith and spoken word artist Kojey Radical.
Expressing how much she enjoys helping young artists she told me about how she discovered a young female rapper named Keedz via Skepta’s Levi community project and how a few weeks later she arranged for Keedz to get in the studio with Grime legends Jammer and D Double E for an inspiring moment. Our discussions took an interesting turn towards the appropriation of UK rap, having picked up that she retweeted UK rapper Dave’s tweets defending international rappers such as Drake being influenced by UK flows. We debated about Drake’s love for British culture. Carly spoke passionately: ‘Drake isn’t the only one who loves British culture, American people as a whole love British culture. If a global artist is giving us props then surely that’s not a bad thing. He doesn’t need our culture; I think he is just genuinely trying to help.’
Carly lives for UK culture. She was instrumental in saving Fabric Nightclub - a beacon of British culture and a land of opportunity for upcoming DJs like herself and revealed that the most special gig she performed as a DJ was the return gig at Fabric having protested with the Night Time Industries Association against the superclub’s closure which is one of the capital’s biggest landmarks.
A Woman of Many Talents
Despite her passion for being a DJ, Carly is multi-talented and is an accomplished presenter having interviewed some of the music industry’s greatest from US rap legend Nas to British pop singer Sam Smith. Her bubbly personality effervesces through her interviews, keeping things fun and light - hearted and most importantly making sure artists feel comfortable. She has a big presence on social media, often joking around with big name artists such as Post Malone and showcasing her undeniable energy.
On breaking into the music industry, Carly admitted that she was not quite sure how she would do it but after the unfortunate passing of her father when she was just 19 years old, she felt that she wanted to give ‘back the community’ and began to do hospital radio. She is now an industry insider, rising presenter and a DJ who aspires to break into the promising US scene, revealing that she has spent a lot of time in America and that she is ‘looking forward to spending more time there.’ We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Carly Wilford but we have no doubt that it will be bright.
Be sure to connect with her on Twitter @CarlyWilford and tune into her radio show ‘SISTER’