Julie Adenuga is about to become one of the most important people in the music business.
Alongside former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, and New York-based radio presenter Ebro Darden, Adenuga will be presenting on Beats 1 once it launches. It’s a massive new radio station being launched by Apple alongside its Apple Music products, broadcasting 24/7 around the globe.
So just who is she?
She hasn’t been around long.
While 41-year-old Lowe has been in the music industry since the nineties, featuring in MTV shows before migrating to the BBC and subsequently Apple, Adenuga’s debut was much more recent.
In 2010, she joined London underground radio station Rinse FM. She didn’t have any prior radio experience, and freely admitted that she and her co-host Sian Anderson “didn’t have a clue what we were doing.” But this didn’t deter the duo: They would “just stop and start tunes. We had no DJ experience, but we just played the music and were talking rubbish. It worked. Luckily.”
After sharing the lunchtime slot with Anderson for about a year, Adenuga took a short break, Fader reports — before returning in 2012 for the 4-7pm drivetime slot.
Here’s a video of Adenuga explaining how she got started:
Adenuga is a powerful surname.
She didn’t come out of nowhere, however. Alongside Julie, there is also Joseph Adenuga and Jamie Adenuga — better known as London grime artists Skepta and JME.
Together, Skepta and JME also formed Boy Better Know, a grime group and record label. Here’s one of their more famous tunes:
She’s pretty great.
Along the way, Adenuga has built a passionate fanbase, and she’s recognised as great at what she does. Music blog Fader says she and Anderson “blazed in with a style that made you feel like you were kicking back with a best mate — the one with the most fun taste in music — while leaping effortlessly from the most ‘pop’ to the most experimental tunes, not only within grime itself but across the spectrum of the charts and underground.”
Meanwhile, Noisey — Vice’s music vertical — is similarly effusive. As writer Joe Zadeh puts it:
[Adenuga is] the current don of underground music broadcasting. When your brothers are JME and Skepta, it could be easy to fall into the shadows a bit like that Olsen what isn’t a twin, but the young London presenter has been spreading her sweet wings all over radio and TV for the last few years, like some sort of grime and rap eagle god person.
Here’s a photo of Adenuga sharing the love for Noisey:
Perhaps the strongest indicator of Adenuga’s success in a short period of time is Beats 1 however — in the space of just five years, she’s risen to the position where she has been chosen for one of the hottest radio slots on the planet.
She’s about to get really big.
Adenuga is one of London’s “most vital tastemakers.” That’s according to Apple, which promises that on Beats 1 she will “bring London’s vibrant music culture to the world” from its launch on June 30.
Right now, sibling Skepta is arguable a much bigger name than Julie, with 539 thousand Twitter followers to her 7 thousand-odd. But if Beats 1, with its vast global audience is a success, that won’t be the case for very much longer.
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