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You’ll probably be familiar with the name and definitely the voice of Julie Adenuga already. It’s been less than a year since the tastemaker flew the flag for the UK, as the London anchor for the musical beast that is Beats 1.
For those that had already tuned into her show for years on Rinse FM first alongside her friend and fellow tastemaker Sian Anderson and then her solo #DriveWithJulie show, it really didn’t seem like a difficult decision to make. She understands and appreciates good music across the board (not just grime as her surname would imply). Yes, she had a passion for the underground but is also a genuinely likeable person and in an industry where people are constantly trying to bolt themselves onto those rising amongst them; Julie has done, well Julie.
Adenuga isn’t exactly an undercover surname. Before we meet, there’s an awkward moment at her family home when the man from British Gas suddenly tries to convince Julie that it’s cool if she goes out and he fits the Smart Meter alone. Then there’s the delivery guy from Asda, so busy on the phone telling his friend where he was that he didn’t clock that Julie was actually listening and obviously not appreciating the unprofessional informant. She only seems slightly weirded out by it, which makes sense because they’re her siblings, not just Skepta and JME. Besides, they might be new to the rest of the world but the UK has been backing the Adenugas for more than a minute now.
We meet up with the super organized one – her super in-depth verging on OCD iCal dates back to 2008 – in Nandos, Shoreditch, at Julie’s request. A spot that wasn’t just about the Peri-Peri, it actually worked as the post radio lunch/office/hangout/meeting space; from around 1PM when Julie and Sian finished their Rinse FM show, until late in the evening. Table 6, the booth next to the window was basically theirs as it had the best vantage point and 1 and 55 have the vital plug sockets — just in case you’re thinking about making this your spot too. It wouldn’t be a bad shout considering they never once asked them to leave.
It was actually here that Julie came across, at the time what she presumed was some sort of catfish. A random email via her website from someone claiming to be from Apple, Beats and iTunes — which was weird and didn’t make sense to her then — but being nice, she just replied. Not thinking too much about it but also overthinking it, following a phone call from LA and even when a representative came over to meet her (at the spot of course), things still didn’t add up.
A plate of wings, a walk around nearby Brick Lane and some sort of musical taste test in Rough Trade didn’t help Julie decipher anything much either — although she did convince the rep to buy Butterz release Scars by Footsie and Swindle’s Long Live The Jazz vinyl. Since we’re by Brick Lane and the old Rinse studios, Julie points out an old competition on a wall where all of the DJs would see who could stick their sticker the highest. Of course, when her time came, she felt the urgent need to climb the rust ridden contraption for maximum effect — before tentatively balancing herself and partially smoothing down the still secure Butterz logo, way above the rest obviously. And then there was rat alley — let’s just say pirate radio is a world away from today’s reality, not that she didn’t love it.
Anyway, the meeting, which took place on the same day as a bus strike according to her iCal, was over three weeks before Julie flew to LA to meet Zane Lowe, who finally dropped the Beats 1 bomb on her. That still didn’t stop uncomfortable random run-ins in LA, namely Little Simz and her manager who Julie bumped into having little to no excuse for her ultra secret trip.
What’s funny is even at this point, she is still expecting someone to pop up and unleash what has been the deepest catfish ever known to man. It’s literally only the first play on her first show (JME Ft. Giggs, Man Don’t Care) that makes it really real.
Outside of the radio role, which is admittedly a pretty hefty title, Julie does her own thing too. So following our brief introduction, you’ll get a better insight into the life of Ms. Adenuga over the next couple of days, both in front and behind the scenes.
Julie Adenuga’s show is live on Beats 1/Apple Music, Monday-Thursday 8pm, check out Julie’s Apple Music Connect page for more exclusive content.