Girls Perspective caught up with presenter Remel London and spoke to her about being a presenter, her new show on Sky One, hosting the BK Chat London reunion show, plus more.
How did you get into presenting?
Growing up I always loved performing. I did loads of different activities, dance classes, musical theatre, I was always watching things on TV and wishing I was doing that. My mum was really encouraging and she always said to me if you find something, I’ll take you to it. So as I got older I realised that acting, singing and dancing wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to perform. The more I researched into it I saw that radio was really cool, getting to interview people and all that kind of stuff. I realised that the things that I liked to watch were all talk shows and I liked the idea of that. I considered what they studied and a lot of them did broadcast journalism, so I studied media in College and went on to do broadcast journalism at University. After I put it all into action, got on community radio, did some online filming and eventually got some TV gigs and some radio jobs, I also ended up hosting live events, which helped me to get my brand up.
Did you always know that you wanted to get into music and entertainment?
As I have always liked music as a fan, as well as singing and dancing, I used to go to a lot of live events. I really liked meeting new artists and seeing them performing and the more interested I got into certain types of music, the more I thought to myself why don’t I start interviewing these people. So when they came off stage I would interview them and put them on my SoundCloud and my YouTube, It kind of naturally progressed and then people knew me for being a music reviewer. I used to have a blog and video vlogs before they became a big thing. People just associated me with covering music and it worked because I used to enjoy it, was just a natural fit.
What are some of the misconceptions that people have about presenting?
It’s not as easy as it looks, It does take a lot of energy and as soon as you step on the stage you have to be ready for anything. Learning how to improvise was definitely something I had to learn, if there was time to fill, or if something happened, you always need to have something to say or something to do, extra information ready in store.
You presented your own show the ‘Remel London Show’ for a while what was that like for you and what opportunities did this bring?
That show came about when I was working with Linkup TV and that was one of the first shows that I was the face of at Linkup TV. I’d previously done interviews here and there but the owner of Linkup TV said he’d offer me the chance to have my own show, I could interview whoever I wanted and I would just have to produce the show myself and that was really exciting. We did some random things, I took Wretch 32 to play badminton and I took Krept and Konan Go-Karting and it was just showing that you don’t always have to have a normal sit down interview, you can just have fun and do something different.
What were some of the pros & cons of creating your own show?
I would say some of the good things about having the show was being able to take control and decide what we were going to do. It was great getting to interview and talk to these celebrities that didn’t make it feel like they were celebrities, and that they were just actual people and I think that was also fun for people to watch and see.
In terms of the challenges, as a producer it was always about being able to shoot for free. Not having a budget meant that we couldn’t hire out venues. It was always finding locations and try to get around the politics of media filming permissions etc. However, I always liked those kinds of challenges because it was more enjoyable once you got it done.
What are some key tips to being a good presenter?
One is definitely being able to think on your feet, like I mentioned about improvising. You must be able to get the best information out of somebody, and make them look good. Also having the ability to be personable enough to make the interviewee comfortable, and being able talk to anybody is definitely a key skill. Do your research, it is very important knowing as much as you can about the topic is key. Be confident and have self-belief in yourself, there are hard times but I think being confident will allow people to see that you can do it.
Who have been some of your favourite people you have interviewed and why?
I would say Common the American rapper, he was amazing. Also Trey Songz, he was nice, and Wretch 32 is always lovely and was just nice to talk to. When it came to Tito Jackson my whole family were really impressed after I spoke to him. I don’t get to interview a lot of women, but I would have to say Jessie J, she was really lovely.
As well as being a TV presenter you are also a radio host, were you able to fall into this easily?
Yeah, for me it’s not that different from being on TV, so the transition isn’t’ that difficult, you’re still preparing for your show. You’re still having to know as much as you can about the music and being confident in yourself. I feel like you can actually be yourself more on the radio because it’s just your voice, so can definitely be more chilled about it. You don’t have to worry about what you look like or what your wearing so there is less pressure in that sense.
What are the biggest differences in presenting for TV and for radio?
I would say the only difference is that with radio sometimes it can be too chilled back, your not talking to anybody. It’s just you in the room talking to yourself, you can almost kind of forget that you are talking to people. You have to find a way to make sure that you make it fun and entertaining not just for the people listening but for yourself as well.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about being a presenter?
It’s not as glamorous as it looks. It is not just sitting around meeting celebrities and all that, a lot of the time it is long hours, you might have to do a lot of travelling (and not travelling as in going abroad and going somewhere sunny.) I mean taking the train for a few hours for an interview that might take 10 minutes, so it can be very tiring. There have been times where I’ve been to an event and there is no dressing room, you have to get changed in a toilet those types of things. So it’s definitely not as glamorous as people make it out to be. You’re not always the star, sometimes whoever you are interviewing is more important that you, so you might not have the luxury you expect a presenter to have. However sometimes you do get the perks and you do get your own dressing room and you get treated like a star. I think people don’t realise sometimes that you do actually have to work though, so there is a balance.
As your job requires being in front of the camera a lot, do you ever feel pressured to look and dress a particular way?
Unfortunately, appearance is really important. So when I first started I never used to really wear makeup or really care about how I looked, I thought it was all about talent. But I realised that your appearance is important, not so heavily that you have to change your whole world, but you are presenting something, so you have to look your best. You have to look the part as well as do your best. It is disheartening when people tell you that you have to wear makeup or change the way you dress, but at the same time there might be a reason for it, because on the camera you might not look as fresh faced. I personally might not have a glam squad that travels around with me, but I can make myself look good. I think that is one of the hardest parts that I realised, you have to invest in yourself and what you look like. It’s not just to avoid ridicule, but it’s also to look the part and look professional.
What do you think makes you stand out from other presenters?
I think the main thing for me is being versatile. There aren’t actually that many people that can do TV, radio, live events, especially as a female. There are a lot of males that do that, but for females there aren’t actually that many I know, so I think being versatile is a big thing at the moment. I’m able to not only do fun and entertainment news,but also serious news if you wanted me to. I can host a beauty pageant and I’ve done sports presenting in the past. I’m just able to do a lot in terms of versatility and where most people specialise in one, I think the fact I am able to do different types of things makes me stand out.
You recently hosted the backchat LDN reunion, how was that experience?
I knew hosting BkChat LDN would be a challenge and of course it was, as the cast is full of very big personalities, but I accepted the challenge and loved every minute of it. I love live entertainment and have aspirations to host live TV shows on ITV and the BBC, following the footsteps of Davina McCall, Reggie Yates, Emma Willis and Dermot O’Leary. So this was a great experience of what my future in the live entertainment world might be like… full of drama and I love it!
You have a brand new show on Sky 1 What’s Up. What can you tell us about the show and what can we expect from it?
What’s Up TV is a great example of what TV in 2017 should look like and represent! It’s fun, is showcasing new talent and also helping bring back Saturday morning TV. It is filled with fun activities, we interview a range of different people, as well, we do different sorts of activities and just bring a fun vibe to the show.
Have you ever had a disastrous interview and how did you handle it?
I remember meeting Bobby Valentino a few years back when he was making a comeback and he was only interested in promoting his CD. It was like an advert, he held up his CD to the camera and plugged away and refused to talk about his career so far or anything else really. It was very awkward!
What has been one piece of advice you have been given that has stuck with you since starting out?
A Friend of mine Sian Anderson said to me ‘You are unapologetically you’ and I really liked that, because you can’t not be yourself in this industry. If you fake it too much and try and be somebody else people will see right through. So when I heard that, it made me feel more confident in what I am doing, because people can see that I am just being myself. So when it comes to me, I go to work, I do my thing, I come home and chill, nothing is forced. So I think being ‘unapologetically me’, is one of the best things I’ve been told and I’ve always kept that going and make sure I stay me!
How have you built your brand? Do you have a team you work with?
I do a lot of it myself. Although I work and collaborate with people, I always have my stamp on it. I’ve done things that helped people and I also showcase talent, but it’s always an extra notch of what I am about. I love people, I love helping people, supporting people, sharing what I’ve learned about people and I think along the way people have seen the things I’ve done and I think that helps in terms of the support I get. I started off as a blogger reviewing gigs, but it all still fits, it all connects. I’ve kind of built up the music talent personality that has travelled with me and each time I keep on adding more to it,that has strengthened it. I think being able to make and produce my own content has definitely helped, it has helped me get jobs and meet different people.
Does social media play a major part in terms of you as a brand and getting work?
I would say that it does, my most used platforms at the minute are Twitter and Instagram. I use my Instagram to keep people informed so that they see what I am up to and I believe that has also helped my brand, as they are able to see the different things I am working on. For Twitter, I think it’s great platform for meeting people, so I tend to be very active on Twitter and again it’s also just letting people know what I’m working on and I think it gives me more personality. When people are able to see my personality more as a brand, it then makes people feel like that can approach me. I think social media is very important in terms of letting people know what you are doing and if you use it in the right way, it can really help your brand.
What can we expect next from you?
I am working on my Sky1 Show What’s Up TV which is currently on Saturday Mornings which is running for six weeks. Also, I’ve got a lot of things going on with various events that I’m hosting etc so I’m just keeping busy and keeping it all going.