In a month it will be time for the annual MOBO AWARDS in association with Lebara Mobile. The biggest urban music event in Europe and unlike the show in past years of old where it may have been overrun and dominated by American stars from the black music world, now it’s a new day! Us Brits are the stars of our own scene and the MOBO AWARDs last year proved that point beautifully!.

Last week it was the MOBO AWARDS  launch party at the plush Mayfair hotel where as you can expect, anyone who is anyone in the industry was in attendance. This year I am part of the MOBO team alongside my old mate founder kanya king and so when they asked me to conduct the press room interviews on behalf of MOBO TV. I only had one stipulation ‘’only if I am the first interview that the talent come to’’ I demanded. Kanya laughed. Yep. Nothing changes. At MTV I always insisted to press teams that we would only cover an event if MTV were the first crew on the red carpet too. It’s business-nothing personal.
So there I was on the night having just run across from my full time day time TV job across town arriving to meet my MOBO TV producer Chris who was awaiting me with sheafs of paper that I was told were the all important MOBO nominations for this year-that no one had seen yet! How exciting!

Mobo Awards founder Kanya King turned up in a blood red dress in a number 15 red double decker route master bus with N Dubz as the paparazzi flashed away to capture the moment. Number 15 obviously reflected that this year marks the 15th year anniversary of the show -what an amazing achievement! Until you’ve been in the industry and attempted to organise events and moments its impossible to imagine the struggle, obstacles and tenacity that’s needed to have longevity in this game.

I dragged my 47 bags up to the MOBO suite to get freshened up and no sooner had I had a quick wash than Chris was on the Dotiwala batphone instructing ‘’we need you down here NOW-Chipmunks just arrived!’’. So with no time to pop on a cute outfit or get made up, I sprinted back into the press room where my crew were ready and the manic marathon run of interviewing this years big nominees began.

First up to get the Dotiwala treatment was best UK HIP HOP/ GRIME nominee Akala who was very happy with his nomination as were the whole of the articulate hip-hop fans he was representing.

Roll deep caused excitement on their entrance as they came full crew 8 people deep and told me they were worried about any of their competition as they were in a league of their own. Sexy ladies former Mis-Teeq member Su Elise and artist Egypt were happy to speak to me together. Su Elise reminisced about her history with the MOBO’s where she and her fellow Mis-Teeq ladies took over the stage and awards at the height of their fame. A girl group that no one knew posed and pouted for a minute but quickly moved on as no one knew who they were. There were whispering that they might be wags or page 3 girls so most of the press were pretty sneery about not wanting to speak with them. It was only later that someone mentioned they were a new girl group. Oops.

Actress and singer Preeya Kalidas arrived with her musical partner in rhyme skepta who is nominated for BEST UK HIP-HOP/GRIME and he also revealed he was one of the MOBO tour headliners.
Aggros Santos looked pleased to be on the red carpet especially after his track has dominated the urban radio airwaves most of this summer.

Magician Damian O Brien impressed me with some devilry trickery slight of the hand magic. I also had a nice chat with relative newcomers to the mainstream Devlin and Fugitive. Jazz musician Yolanda Brown and Guvna B were in high spirits as they celebrated Guvna’s best gospel nomination whilst heartthrob of the grime scene-Scorcher was doing his best to bat the ladies off.

My favourite moment was revealing to Tinie Tempah that he was the lead nominee with 4 nominations for best newcomer, best UK act, best song and best video. He was expectedly shocked and delighted. He genuinely had no idea about his nominations and for the rest of the night was beaming from ear to ear.

Comedian Kojo was mingling with his crew backstage and the sweet mannered DJ Ironik and Kanya King were bantering together about the success of the UK scene this year.

MOBO host 2009 and 2010 Mr Reg Yates was on top form and threatened to present part of this years show in a mankini.
One time MTV character Andre Spence was running around grabbing twitpics on behalf on the MOBO twitter page.
After all the interviews the crew and I ran downstairs to the main public lounge where cocktails were flowing, free

Caribbean food courtesy of Cottons restaurant was being munched, a lot of networking (or was it flirting) was going on and Reggie Yates was the master of ceremonies inviting music stars to unveil various category nominations. Chipmunk was as articulate as ever, as was Akala. It was impressive to see how far our perception of cool has come. Just a few years ago music stars tried tom play down their intelligence under the false assumption that being stupid somehow helped their street cred. Acts like Chippy and Akala have really spun this myth around 180 degrees and I thank them for helping the younger generation see the light.

I did have one gripe whilst the nominee announcements were being made though. Annually the attending guests talk all the way through it not paying attention or hearing what’s being announced! Why? If this were a Brits, MTV, Mercury press announcement you wouldn’t be able to hear a pin drop so serious are the journos and talent about hearing what’s being said. In the MOBO room it was so noisy its pretty pointless having Reg and the rest trying to remain professional onstage whilst all around them are ignorant noisy attitudes.

I told Kanya next year to forget the food and drink that makes the guests think they’re here just to party. Open the doors at 7pm. Make the announcements at 7.30pm. Kick everyone out my 8.30pm. Lets see how attentive they are then. Its about manners and respect people. There is plenty of time to socialise afterwards. Can you not give 20 minutes of your attention to the main point of the evening!?. What nonsense!. Ok rant over. Smile. We’ll get there. One day. Yes we can.
Straight afterwards we all piled into the elevator to crash the gifting suite en masse where every artist and celeb in attendance was walking away with free goodies. I spotted the gifters trying to convince vertically challenged KissFM presenter Melvin to try on some stack heels that add inches to your height. Apparently they’re very common in Japan. Not sure if he went for them but he did leave laden down with girly stuff like handbags for the women in his life. Su Elise and Lisa Maffia walked away with GHD tongs and twinkly costume jewellery. Tim Westwood accepted some clothing, N Dubz had enough to need a people carrier to help them home , Donaeo was eyeing up some nice jackets whilst I settled for the coolest looking sneakers by new hot on the block brand cr8tive creation and a pink manicure. This years awards are on October 20th in Liverpool- if the launch party was any indication of how big the awards night will be-I suggest you book tickets, bikes, planes, trains and automobiles now to make it!


I started this week juggling projects for Channel 4, ITV , MOBO and the BBC which even for me is a major feat-im a great multi tasker but even I have limits! I caught up over dinner with lovely BET News anchor woman Sharon Carpenter as well as worked the MOBO LAUNCH press run (more on that next week!)

Late summer always brings about a whirlwind of urban event excitement in the UK. For the past few years urban comedy and young street style comics have really come through and made their presence felt within the inner city youth circuit. One of these that have gone above and beyond just a weekly show, an appearance here and there and a few small venues is Congo’s most famous export- Mr Eddie Kadi!
Last fortnight Eddie actually made history my performing at the 02 Arena. Not one of the small clubs in the 02 Arena, but the main venue where superstar music acts play. The only comic I recall on this level are is Chris Rock. Edie actually had the scene excited months ago when he first announced the gig, then a few days before the show his PR machine went into overdrive as he staged a sit in at the venue and actually slept on site setting off alarm bells and everything when he mistook a door for the toilet!.
Eddie informed me that after he had performed at the Indigo 02 in the past, his team knew they could sell the arena gig. And from the 16,000 capacity Eddie sold 8,000-a great achievement. ITV’s London Tonight picked up on the show as did Channel 5 and thereafter Channel 4 and the Lenny Henry spot.

The week of his show twitter was popping off with celebrities, fans and friends all talking about the show so it was no surprise to then turn up and find a mile radius in all directions around the 02 were gridlocked. I mean really badly. There were cars honking, people excited, girls abandoning cars with heels in their hands running barefoot into the arena, couples arguing in the standstill traffic, billboard lights flashing car parking directions to help people get in, it was like Armageddon!
The neon lights screaming Eddies name were making me panic that I wouldn’t get inside in time and I through all caution to the wind and instructed my mate to pull into the nearest car park. ‘’but that’s £25’’ he glared. ‘’I don’t care-I am not missing eddies start!’’ I spat back. So notes were exchanged with the lip licking parking attendant before we sprinted from the car to the venue. We got to the entrance to find it looking like a scene from carnival with people collecting tickets, mingling and having photos taken in front of the press boards. PR girls were juggling guests and tickets, wannabee celebs were show boating and last minute ticket buying were all blocking up the area. The VIP entrance was full of celeb’s having their pictures taken against the branding board and small TV crews were conducting quick red carpet style interviews.
I picked up my 4 tickets and legged it hell for leather into the venue and DJ Twin B was entertaining the crowd on the decks.
I had great seats a few rows from the front with comedian Kojo and actor/ muscle man Tiny behind me-so the jokes were flying thick and fast between us.
The show began predictable late. We saw a set that resembled Eddies bedroom (bed sheets courtesy of show sponsor Adidas LOL), there was also a living room set up. And when it did start there were audible sound problems and at one stage some visual technical errors too which had me holding my breath in concern for a few minutes but clearly Eddie and his team were back there kicking some serious ass cos once it got going again it was flawless until the end.
Eddie entered the stage in his pyjama’s as if to prepare for his big night changing out of his PJ’s into his slick suit and tie get up.He re emerged in a very well cut, fitted suit and from here on in the show was a blast.

The evening took on the formula of ITV’s ‘’An Audience With’’ by Eddie telling a few personal stories and then picking up on celeb’s in the crowd and focusing his cameras on them to speak with. First up it was lil Tinchy Stryder who had his stunners on all throughout the show-very unnecessary but I understand that artists become very insecure as they get bigger and eye contact with us mere commoners isn’t desired. Tinchy was challenged to speak Ghanaian. Also in the crowd was the ultra articulate Chipmunk who for once sounded shy as Eddie bantered about using ‘’Chip diddy chip’’ as a nursery rhyme. Eddie swore blind to me that none of the acts knew he would be focusing so closely on them!  Kano was teased about his footie career which Eddie stated couldn’t have been very good forcing him into music! And he joked that Kano needed to learn the whole alphabet not just his P’s and Q’s. Mclean meanwhile looked really nervous.
Lethal B laughed hard as Eddie performed his own version of ‘’Pow’’. A running theme through out the show was that Eddie had written most of the artists hit songs and not been repaid for his input.
Next Eddie donned a Dappy-esque hat and N Dubz members Fazer and Tulisa joined him onstage- Dappy was unavailable as he was with family in Greece. Eddie played on the joke that he could be part of the band and take Dappys place with a few well thrown in ‘’Na na nai’s’’. Eddie told me later that they hadn’t rehearsed the set with Fazer and Tulisa which was very good if it was really all free styled.
Eddie also had Nigerian personality ‘’Vocal Slender’’ who appeared on BBC2’s ‘’Welcome to Lagos’, and paid for him to fly him to London…
A lot of celebs had all turned out to support Eddie from Radio 1’s Reg Yates ,Chucky Venice the actor, DJ Abrantee, Su Elise, Billy from Eastenders, footballers, Eastenders actor Rudolf walker and female boxing star Lesley Sackey proving just how liked Eddie is by the scene.
The finale showed 4 times MOBO 2010 nominee Tinnie Tempah who sounded strong and fearless performing his smash hit  ‘’Pass out’’ in his dynamic as ever way.
Eddie revealed post show that his favourite part of the night was performing the medley of comedy songs the most.
Next on this go getters to-do-list he tells me confidently is ‘’Chasing TV, presenting and combining his comedy genius with TV’’. Watch him fly! (but not via AIR KENYA whom he has issues with!-you had to be there LOL!)

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring Scorcher!

August and September are notoriously busy months what with summer parties and events galore. I have been working harder than I ever have in my life this past few months with projects from Channel 4, ITV, MOBO and the BBC so I decided that I deserved at least one night out to let my hair down and shake a leg. This was done at the BBC staff carnival party, which never fails to please. It was a full house by 9pm and people weren’t backward in coming forwards with their soca bottom action and beverages were flowing heavily, luckily not all into my throat. Genesis carnival band ladies were in full costume in the house and entertained us with their pre-carnival jubilation. DJ’s Seanie B and Simply Jus Music sound system had us all two stepping and doing the cameo dance with full screaming and step it up gusto.

The next morning my Godson and his mum popped over early in the morning just in time to polish off all the fresh pancakes I’d just made-much to the held back amused vexation of the boy friend who had assumed he was going to guzzle them all down all by himself. Hilariously the godson returned the following week unannounced after his early morning football game by which point the boy friend was one step ahead of him and had put his batch of pancakes aside in advance!

My girls and I hit the hip-hop karaoke to fuel our never going to be Mariah passions. Even though I’m tone deaf I couldn’t keep off the mic and at one point they all had to sit on me to stop me dominating the set. My bad behaviour didn’t last for long as I had to summon up my best manners for the UK’s number 1 Hip-hop photographer Paul H’s baby son’s christening which was attended by his nearest and dearest which also included the cream of our hip-hop community.
On Saturday night I dragged my West-London-for-life butt down to comedian Eddie Kadi’s one- man show at the 02 Arena and then it was time for the MOBO Nomination Launch Party where anyone who is anyone in the urban music scene was seen. (More on that next week).
Even with all that social butterfly action I still was most excited about Sunday morning when my brand new silver, ‘A Grade washing machine with maximum crease free spins ‘was delivered- a true sign I am getting old.

A young man that’s had the scene buzzing with his presence is Tayo Jarret AKA young MC Scorcher. I love hearing stories of how artists got their names and Scorchers is a cute one. He revealed that he was sitting in a room in the 1990s, playing a football video game, when he made a goal and the computer flashed up the words ‘’that was a scorcher!’’ and from there on in his crew called him a scorcher!.
24 year old scorcher has the industry excited this quarter by getting signed to major record label Geffen- which is a big deal as his stable mates include snoop, Keisha Cole and Nadine Coyle. (Scorcher was recently snoops only support act at his Shepherds Bush gig)  Scorcher decided to sign with them as ‘’they were up on what was going on…they seemed to understand where I was going, when people want to sign you, you have your fears as an artist, but geffens colin Barlow says he likes ‘’’gangsta’’…I couldn’t believe that a man I hadn’t spoken to much before totally understood what I was trying to be. Geffen can get me from a to b. and with global plans for more than one territory’’.
In a year where P Diddy is acknowledging UK act Skepta and Jay Sean and Estelle are still working in the USA Scorcher understands that the UK sound is slowly but surely going global. ‘’I think the Americans are finally sitting up and listening. They realise there’s money to be made and I hope we can elevate it past the money and focus into music, I hope Jay Sean, Estelle and Tinchy end up being more about the music and their potential as opposed to the amount of cash they can make their American sponsors and I take off my hat to sway for pioneering that stuff.
If I were aligned with any American act I’d love my USA partner in music to be Dr Dre –just look what he did for Eminem, The Game, his many empires. I also respect Akon with his vision for Lady Gaga’’.
Bu don’t get it twisted, scorchers true hero’s are far closer to home with him admitting that his real life hero is his uncle André- cos he was born in St Vincent, was a poor man, came to uk, studied, hustled, became a solicitor, and now owns cars and goods that your average rap star owns and has shown me that hard work pays off. Uncle André would take me on holiday and talk to me, all young kids need adults to talk to them’’.
As a child scorcher reluctantly revealed he wanted to be a fireman and played piano at his grandmas house and even too real piano lessons at grade 5 and 6, but inevitably the bedroom sets, turntables, spitting lyrics, and peer pressure meant that he started taking street music more seriously until he got onto pirate radio. He never entered talent competitions at school as he thought they were sad. Scorcher was more eager to get onto local raves at Eros, Zenon and Castles,
Scorcher adds that he was in a group from his local area (Tottenham) , but the man who  ran the local radio station didn’t like him so he wasn’t offered radio spots until a local gangsta noted his talent and ‘’sorted it out for us’’.
His youthful peers included wretch32 who was in the same boat as scorcher  ‘’we came together, wretch was into writing songs, we took focus from what each other were doing then Logan got the first real grime show on radio, he started playing us then I got to know Ghetts. What I think made us different was we were the first set of people that did rap and grime, rappers respected us, back then rap and grime were separate, one day we would be doing a song with Bashy, then sincere, the lines between both were really blurred and we brought a different element to grime’’.
I had to try and embarrass scorcher by mentioning that he and Skepta were often referred to as the ‘’Heart throbs of the grime scene’’ he laughed and smoothly replied ‘’I’m grateful for the tag, Skepta and I were having a joke saying every time we put out a single we take more female followers back from each other!’’.
Scorchers look is very distinctive with his love of motorbikes and a bunch of tattoos gracing his body. As he shows me them all he reminds me that ‘’the pen is mightier than the sword’’. His tats include musical notes, ‘’scorcher’’ on his right hand  ‘’Skywalker’’ on left on his hand, on one inner arm the script ‘’”I stand alone because I choose not to follow the path but create my own and leave a trail . . . . . . CONCRETE JUNGLE”. A star on one elbow, he’s thinking of getting the sun on his other arm and states that he ‘’needs to earn the tats’’. The 1 tat he wont talk about is his
Very prominent lighting bolt under his eye which he insists has personal meaning.
This act is not to be confused with your average UK urban act done good however as he see’s his extended empire not just as his clothing line Skywalker (which most average acts now have 1 of), but he also runs his own video production house called  ‘’Staple House’’ which came about as
‘’the first video I made I paid the director to do the video, the director asked for my creative input, so I gave it to him, after the video was edited ,I had paid him all the money upfront, he sent back the cut but all the he scenes he used were my ideas, my lighting, my choreography, it made me realise that I had practically directed it all myself. I did some research, saved up some money, my friends have similar interests. one that’s good with cameras, an animator, and the label trusts me totally to do my videos after I directed ‘its my time’. They took a risk and I didn’t let them down so it’s a good place to be in’’.
Scorchers single- its my time-is out this week. its a very empowering, positive, feel good, inspiring track that reminds me of Nas’ ‘’I can’’ song. Scorcher revealed that he wrote it in protest after feeling down as a few broadcasters weren’t play listing him and he had been feeling down but ‘’despite all the badness, I knew I was getting love from the street and net , and it made me feel unstoppable. I wanted to relay that idea and make other people feel positive and empowered too.
Scorcher leaves me with more wisdom as he tells me ‘’ I always say ‘’Be all u can be instead of be all that you can see’’.
Wise words from one so young with a life of obstacles that he’s had to overcome.
To see him in action catch the MOBO TOUR where he says you can expect him to ‘’go crazy and shut it down, I’ve been looking at some of the locations, Glasgow in particular sounds exciting!’’. Good luck with the single Scorcher! Readers-Watch out- I feel there’s a global takeover coming!.

JASMINES JUICE feat Addictive, N*E*R*D, Vanessa Amadi, African Music Awards Launch.

Jasmine & Addictive.

Aisha Stuart and Louise Bagan, are 2 musically talented young ladies that go by the name Addictive.i spotted them at controversial blogger Perez Hilton’s recent party at the 02 and noted that they were the only act to have the paparazzi excited with their Richard shoyemi styled outfits and swag. The girls have already tasted success thanks to a massive club hit, the T2-producedbassline masterpiece ‘Gonna Be Mine’. They’ve also had success on MTV DANCE and MTV BASE as well as in the BBC1 radio dance chart. Not bad going for two girls from East London. They first met as children ten years ago, through Louise’s cousin, but it wasn’t until one fateful Christmas in 2005 at an open mic night that the girl’s realised their shared ambitions. “I went up to the mic and started singing Silent Night, the Mariah Carey version,” laughs Louise. “Aisha was there, and ‘cos we knew each other I invited her up onstage to join me. We just started vibing off each other. Everyone assumed we were a group already – so we decided to give it a go.”
Both girls had years of singing behind them, honing their musical talents in gospel choirs and talent shows which included Louise beating Leona Lewis to 1st prize in an East London singing competition but it was only when they formed Addictive that everything seemed to click. “We could write music individually, but we worked better as a duo,” explains Aisha. “It fell into place. We had the same goals, had had similar experiences and we were both really serious.”
The ladies recently invited me down to the release party for their Mix CD ‘They Wonna Wife Me’ – a welcome breakthrough after their years of hard work. “We killed ourselves trying to get things done,” laughs Louise, “but it’s all been worth it. We’re so proud of the work we are doing worked hence the amount of effort we put in. World domination is next – we want an Addictive perfume and clothes range!” You heard it here first – It’s all go in the Addictive world -get ready to be addicted to Addictive.

Whitney’s right hand in Europe and my friend, PR maven Vanessa Amadi threw her birthday drinks at Soho Hotel . The hotel even gave her their private bar room at no cost cos they know they should keep this powerful media honey on their good side. On entry the barman was pouring rose Armand De Brignac champagne for us all,which I’m told is currently the worlds number 1 brand. Other industry players like newspaper editor and one time VOICE ex staffer Eva Simpson passed through, as well as Radio One DJ Reg Yates, MOBO founder Kanya King, KISS100FM DJ Manny Norte, Ex Sugababe Keisha Buchanan, and artist Chocolate Doll AKA Nay Nay. There were 2 huge cakes. I tried to feed one that looked like it may contain walnuts to a man with a peanut allergy to ‘’see if it really works’’ but was held back. Instead I wrote a message to the sophisticated Vanessa on her huge white canvas board and stuck a Polaroid of us next to it. Good times!

Its very exciting that finally African music seems to be about to have its big about to blow moment. International acts have been collaborating with African artists for years and many European countries like France have huge African music festivals like Africa Express so it’s a little strange that the UK has for once been the last to catch on instead of at its usual forefront status of trend setter. The 3rd annual African Music Awards takes place at Wembley Arena this October 15th and the launch party was held at Covent Gardens Africa Centre where champagne, wine, nibbles and t shirts were handed out to a sparse crowd that were a little weary of the late start but their passion and belief in the focus of the event kept guests like entrepreneur Alexander Amosu, ChoiceFM DJ Abrantee, old Big Brother contestant Aisleene, founder of Colour Blind Cards Jessica Huie, and many more in the venue to watch Chocolate Doll and MC Sway do their thing onstage as founders of the AMA’s Eric and Nick told the attendees a little about it. I alas had to run about 10 minutes after it began as I had a date with Pharrell Williams.

Well I say a date. What I meant was I had been invited to an exclusive listening party in a store in Shoreditch to hear NERDs new album ‘’Nothing’’. When I jumped out of the black cab with my MTV and Channel 4 buddies we were a little intimidated by the hardcore looking guest list bulldog on the door but luckily our faces seemed to be our tickets in, so we were ushered in with her muttering to the security ‘’ok these are the last 6 allowed in-we are at capacity!’’.
Inside the brightly lit, sparse clothes store was filled with uber trendy fashion heads wearing mis matched, bright, ill-fitting garms in the way that only north London trendys can do. I bantered with RWD magazine top lady Hattie Collins and her crew who impressed me by being out the night after their own massive RWD bash after which they hadn’t slept all night.
NERD man Shae was walking and working the crowd speaking to all and sundry in that relaxed, non-diva manner that he has. We reminisced about old days when we were all running around New York and Cape Town and recalling unprintable stories. Pharrell of course was working his profile like only Skateboard P could rocking Billionaire Boys Club camouflage clothing and stunner shades. The crowd was ultra cool and not one person asked him for a photo or screamed at him groupie style. A really nice vibe. The last time I was in his vicinity it was like the Beatles and Justin Timberlake had just walked out together!. Pharrell talked us through each track on the new album and played at least 50% of most of them. I really liked ‘’Perfect Defect’’ and ‘’Victory’’ whilst ‘’Help me’’ was a very slow down tempo song that I felt could only work if you were very high and chilled. But in all honesty it was so busy in the room and so many people talking you couldn’t really appreciate the sound except to note that the new material sounded very similar to the NERD we know and love and no doubt there will be thousands of skateboard types putting yet more cash into the NERD trios pockets once NOTHING is released. It was way too hot and sweaty for us in the room though and the strange outfits surrounding me were starting to break me out into an imagined rash so we stepped out and went for a late night curry instead.
Enjoy your bank holiday weekends and make the most of your free time! (in my spare moments I like to add to my CV and think about what else I can add to it-life’s too short to spend 3 whole days at carnival worrying about where to go to the toilet!).


Jasmine with Perez Hilton

My boss threw his annual summer party at his country retreat 2 hours outside of the capital. We arrived to find a few outdoor marquees with chandeliers housing silver service dinner placings, an outdoor dj set up with Saturday night fever style dance floor, an open bar that never emptied, a croquet playing area, a huge maze which led in the centre to a strawberry and chocolate fountain, a huge home that was open to wonder around, a living room with a piano and opera singer in full performance mode, a hot air balloon that guests were taking turns to go view the countryside from and….wait for it…..a full fair ground. Oh how the other half live! I must work harder to make this my reality too!

The launch party for the AFRICAN MUSIC AWARDS was aptly held at Covent Gardens Africa Centre. If you have your finger on the music pulse you will already be aware that very soon African music is about to blow up in the mainstream. For years now British and other international acts have been slowly collaborating with their African peers and performing at international music festivals alongside each other. This year the AFRICAN MUSIC AWARDS take place at Wembley arena on October 15th- a mere 5 days before the MOBO AWARDS in Liverpool on the 20th. So much opportunity for young talent to get a platform to shine! As if that wasn’t enough, the multi award nominated Broadway musical based on musician Fela Kuti’s life ‘’FELA’’ comes to London in November at the National Theatre. This show has been financed by none other than Will Smith and Jay Z, proving that this genre is ripe for picking!.

Then it was time for a chat with a kindred spirit- a man that loves to chat and gossip and have fun doing it making loads of power moves and money! Mr Perez Hilton!. Showing how technology waits for no-one, perez had me conduct the interview via skype whilst we were both snuggled up on our respective sofas. I could work like this all day!

Love him or hate him you cant ignore this incomparable showbiz gossip blogger and taste maker and believe me, ive loved and hated him!. We’d last worked together on the 2008 MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS in Liverpool where we had a lot of fun. Perez recalled the most amazing moment when we were both backstage and Sir Paul McCartney wandered over to Perez unsolicited and said ‘’I hope you’re staying out of trouble!’’. Perez recalled being shocked thinking ‘’I didn’t think he’d be that plugged into the blogging world to even acknowledge my existence!’’. I am so ingrained in the showbiz world that I didn’t think it was possible for anyone not to know who Perez Hilton was so was particularly shocked when my mate had to be told recently so for those of you who aren’t aware a young man who grew up called Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. called himself ‘’Perez Hilton’’ after a trip to Miami where club bar staff kept cajoling him to stay and buy drinks on the premise that ‘’Paris Hilton will be here tonight’’ and Mario snorted ‘’I don’t think so-more like Perez Hilton!’’ and an icon was born! Back then Perez used to blog about celebrities as ‘’just something fun I used to like doing when all other bloggers were blogging about their daily boring lives’’. Nowadays, 7 years down the line Perez life couldn’t be any different from his past where he had a job working as a janitor at a department store where ’’my title was store clerk- I had 2 responsibilities; separating hangers’’(Perez proceeded to tell me about 20 different types of hangers) and ‘’cleaning the bathrooms where the women’s toilets were WAY filthier than the mens!’’.

Like a kid in a candy store that cant believe how their luck has changed Perez admits that his proudest achievement was 3 years ago when he was able to move his mum and sister from Miami to la to work with him. With readers now getting their daily gossip fix online rather than via a newspaper we discussed whether print press and gossip mags can still exist in this day and age. Perez thinks they will explaining ‘’they will exist-people will always be travelling and want a mag, although now that aeroplanes are getting wireless internet as well as trains , well who knows!’’. I know from my wild days of gossiping on CHOICEFM that once you begin to befriend celebs you end up having to tone down the bitchy stuff but Perez insists he doesn’t ‘’I Never tone my material down, I have grown and evolved, it would be silly of me to stay the same, I’ve changed in that I don’t post extremely naughty things anymore, no more nip slips…I have a new website for naughty stuff called –‘’unratedperez.com’’. he then goes on to explain that people like looking at ‘’celebrities vagayjays’’ and it generates a lot of traffic but his advertisers don’t like it. Hilarious!

Also from my wild days I know the threat of law suits are funny. In fact they’re extremely scary but once again perez laughs and says ‘’I am never scared of lawsuits, they are scary if you worry about money and I never had money back then so I didn’t care-I had nothing for anyone to take,i didn’t start my blog for money, it was just for fun, I knew I couldn’t go to jail, I was just expressing myself’’. Perez like many has become a victim of his own success in many ways but lets not get it twisted, he has made millions and is a celebrity himself now. So I wonder how he feels when people bad mouth him, and they do. He admits that he is ‘’constantly googling myself-I’m not even exaggerating, sometimes a few times an hour, I’ve read a lot of bad things,but I remind myself that its worse not reading anything about myself…I wouldn’t say it bothers me, but its not always easy’’. Ah ha! So he does feel emotions and breath like the rest of us! He recalls the best thing that’s ever happened to him is a ‘’video that Madonna made for me, she acknowledged my existence!’’.

I follow Perez on twitter so I know his moods know no bounds and he can switch on a m***** f****** in hours so I asked him what the defining factors are in whether he likes or hates a celeb? He revealed ‘’There are factors, its a gut thing, my gut is usually right, I like people who are talented, that’s why I love musicians especially those that have a sense of humour…and those that work hard’’. Now hearing Perez quote that made me sit back in awe as he is always cussing my girl Mariah and she is a talented hard worker with the funniest sense of humour most people have come across so I of course challenged him on it. Perez broke it down like this ‘’I love Mariah, she is funny, but I expect more from her. Art is all subjective, I feel possessive about her and her music, and I have said this publicly, I think I have a good ear, I would love to give my ear to her and give her feedback….the last couple of albums haven’t been the best,,…I talk to Nick Cannon daily, I do a live feature to Nicks morning breakfast radio show, I know lots of hot producers for Mariah and would love to suggest people .i think she lost her sense of self, and wanted to rebel against her previous image too much, to me she’s a pop act but along the way she tried to reinvent herself as an urban artist, in the 90s she made Honey! I want Fantasy , Honey , Dreamlover….L.A Reid played me her album early once….’’ ‘’ In fact I’ve championed her when I had secret meetings with Simon Cowell and Simon asked me who should be an X Factor judge, I said ‘’not Cheryl cole, I said MC, ,then I think a rumour was started by Sinitta telling people it would be mc!’’.Perez and I then had around 10 minutes of me breaking it down for him that MC has to like all of us grow and change with the times and informed him that she had been doing urban versions of her tracks since the beginning and surely at this stage she should be allowed to make good music that she wants to make as opposed to trying to please everyone all of the time. We debated, we laughed. We raised our voices. We agreed to hang out in L.A the next time we were all there. My theory with Perez feelings towards MC is that he’s frustrated that she doesn’t acknowledge him the way the madonnas and the kylies of the world do. Truly a diva in a league of her own not bowing to media manipulation.

Perez agreed that when celebs don’t react to him he does get frustrated and the one hes been dying to get a rise out of for years is Oprah….’’i love her even though I make fun of her…I make fun of her and say she’s a lesbian, in fact Oprah, Madonna and Angelina Jolie are the 3 that inspire me most. Angelina is someone who isn’t perfect. She is flawed but an amazing brilliant actress, mother and humanitarian’’. Like most of us media hacks, Perez loves twitter as it cuts out the old fashioned middle man of the publicist. Now he can get the words straight from the horses blackberry and respond immediately-albeit in full view of the watching, titillated globe of gossip hungry followers. Perez admits he loves following Dita Von Teese on twitter as her life is fascinating, we aren’t familiar with the life of a show girl so it enthrals me!’’

I’m convinced Perez wicked tongue comes from the fact that his parents are Cuban. Any island in those waters will give you fiery, feisty blood! Trying to milk all his projects whilst he can Perez revealed to me that he’s setting up a music production and management company and is currently looking for a boy band . he gushed ‘’The time is right for a boy band for a global impact, JLS are great in the UK but they haven’t broken worldwide- I really like them though, they’re hot’’. Perez admits that he doesn’t do ‘’payola’’ (talk about bands in exchange for money), but that he chooses the music acts that he promotes online in his ‘’listen to this ‘’ category as his ‘’readers send him links and he listens to everything including singers in different languages!’’. Nearly everyone alive these days has their own blog, so its interesting that Perez stands out first and foremost in our world. He explains it thus ‘’in this day of illegal downloading and MTV not being as relevant as they used to be and artists need every but of help they can get, anything helps. I first started writing about Lady Gaga years ago and championed her and now look how far she’s come’’.

I challenged Perez on the fact that even though he appeared on MTV’s Celebrity Rap Superstar show he didn’t seem to focus on hip hop stars very often and joked with him that it could be as he was worried they would get all will I am on him. He laughed ‘’ I talk about Lil Wayne and T.I! ,I am a hip-hop fan if its good- Kanye is a genius, he transcends the genre, he’s not a rapper he’s a musician; I think B.O.B is amazing, I love his variety. He’s not rapping about violence or materialism he’s talking about dreams , I love Nicki Minaj’’ (Perez then recites a whole 3 Nicki verses much to my amusement and if im honest-I was impressed at his flow!) . Getting serious about the hip hop world for a minute though Perez said ‘’I wish that they were slightly more accepting of gay men, if you’re bisexual that’s cool but gay men and lesbians aren’t accepted and welcome in the hip-hop and mainstream music world and that saddens me’’. I wondered if Perez had made up with will I am and the Black Eyed Peas after THAT incident? He answered ‘’we haven’t made up and i’ve not run into him, but I have congratulated the band online’’. Perez confessed that there was once that he regretted writing something online ‘’my biggest regret was when I said that fidel castro was dead . we were really sure it was true as our source was very reliable-oops’’. Perez revealed his top celeb mates are now ‘’Lady gaga, she and I talk several times a day and see each other regularly-we talk about art, I feel like part of her team, she likes to pick my brain, Katy Perry- ive known her for over 3 years, we too see each other regularly’’ I recently saw Perez at his ‘’One night in Perez’’ music show at Londons 02 and noted that he’d slimmed down and had a demure dark brown hairstyle. A conscious effort to get healthy? He nodded ‘’ yes its a lot of hard work, all my successes in life are from hard work, from my blog to my physical transformation, I’ve lost 61 pounds. my lack of sex inspired it and now I’m getting laid a lot, I’m dating around and right now that part of Perez is looking fine honey!’’.And with that I laughed, suggested we better stop before we got carried away. After all, 2 media hacks , both with fingers in print press, radio press , tv and multi platform media frolicking together can only be an explosive, dangerous hot mess waiting to happen!.

JASMINES JUICE featuring Dynamo, Aml Ameen & Zoo Nation.

Streetdance has come a long way since I was a break dancing kid on my mates lino in Covent garden back in the day. Back then hip-hop wasn’t even taken seriously let alone the dance form that accompanied it in the 4 cornerstones of the culture that also included graffiti and turntablism. So now that djs are superstars and graffiti is being displayed at art galleries its only natural that the dance form explodes too. Over the years UK ambassadors like Jonzi D have kept the art form in the theatrical world. More recently filmmakers have made a small fortune from dance films both American and English leading to dance troupes Diversity and Flawless achieving mass fame last year. Another group that’s been sweating away selling out theatres and wowing audiences from around the world are choreographer Kate Princes group called Zoo Nation who have been performing a spectacular show titled ‘’ into the hoodz’’ . the show had a sell out run in theatre land last year and last week brought back another run at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. The press night was attended by a lot of talent from the music world and celebrity but it was the reaction that Diversity got that was mind blowing. The audience were seated and the show was ready to begin when diversity came in quickly, quietly and without fanfare to take their seats and before you knew it a few kids spotted them, shrieked with delight and chased them for autographs and photos. Well within minutes 40% of the audience that were seated were trying to grab, scream and get a piece of the group. The show start had to be delayed until everyone could be calmed down.
Once the show began it was as amazing as I recall it the first time around. The story is a very witty amalgamation of fairy tales with characters including Lil Red, Spinderella and Rap-un-zel but all based in the Ruff Ends Estate. The story sees 2 young kids run away from home, one of whom is played by reality dance show star –Akai, who the crowd roared for throughout the show – his female counterpart was ultra impressive with her dance skills too. The kids befriend a dodgy character who persuades them to ‘acquire’ 4 items – a red hoodie, an ipod, a weave and a gold sneakers. the music is an amazing mix of urban genres and the dancing is literally out of this world!. The choreography is very witty and perfectly narrates the story enchanting young and older audiences simultaneously. A thoroughly well thought out show with brilliant graphics, sets and atmosphere that leads to spontaneous audience participation and excitement. Later the same week ZOO NATION performed at the queens park festival for the west London community and had local youngsters enchanted with their 15 minute set.

I was invited to join actor Aml Ameen at his 25th birthday party that was doubling up as his and his girl friends leaving the UK party. Aml had people from all walks of live glued to THE BILL years ago as the young black policeman, and also in Noel Clarkes movie Adulthood as well as appearing onstage in theatre roles. Both actors are moving to L.A as Aml has been offered a big part in an American drama. Fittingly Aml’s party was held at the Hollywood Arms in Hollywood Road in Chelsea. Could it have been in a more apt location? On arrival I was pleasantly surprised to note that it was a very small gathering of his closest family and friends which included actor / playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah and good friend and actor Adam Deacon, both of whom gave heartfelt fitting speeches in honour of Aml on the night. As well as Amls lovely daddy singing bob Marley songs and both Aml and his lady speaking of their love for each other and the support of their loved ones ,a cake was cut, a lot of catching up was done and you could feel the love and unity in the air.  Also it must be recognised that a young aml must have had to battle all types of stereotypes, issues and hurdles to reach the top of his profession throughout the years. Its easy to get pulled the wrong way for young people in the current society climate but Aml has been a strong, positive soldier in TEAMUK , helped make my job empowering young people and giving them a platform to show their talent to the world and I cant wait for his American takeover.

Finally I caught up with a young man that has had me intrigued for a good couple of years now. I first spotted magician Dynamo on the music scene pulling magic for stars that I was working alongside and always wondered what his story was. We always have fun together at parties but I don’t really know his story so  I met up with him in a pizzeria opposite the roundhouse in Camden where we spent the afternoon chewing the fat.
Dynamo grew up in Bradford which he admitted ‘’doesn’t have much goin on. It’s not a wealthy city. It’s famous for riots. For me being a kid I got picked on cos I’m small and an easy target’’ but he admits that ‘’If it hadn’t have been for the negative things I went through, they wouldn’t have shaped me’’.

Dynamo revealed it was because he got bullied as a kid that his granddad stepped in with an occasional trick to cheer him up and the young dynamo calls him his ‘’magical grandpa.-My role model’’. ‘’I had 2 guys who used to pick on me called  “Sonny and Dean”. They put me in a wheelie bin and threw me down the hill. After that my Grandpa taught me a technique to stop people lifting me up-and that’s how it began’‘’I had to use magic to get me out of trouble and it became a way of life. I entertained the kids at playtime. The big kids were scared of me cos they thought I’d put a curse on them lol!’’.

His granddad may have introduced him to magic but it was a magician in New York at a convention that dubbed him with the name ‘’Dynamo’’. He explained ‘’it was in New York in the Hilton hotel in 2002. I was there for the legendary magician Whodinis 100 year death anniversary. All the big magicians were there. I ended up performing to all these famous magicians. A magician called Aaron Fisher yells “this kids a fuckin dynamo” so that’s how the name came about’’.

Its interesting to me that Dynamo has performed for many music stars and events and I was intrigued to learn how music had influenced his career.
He informed me ‘’Music has always been a part of my life. My mum had a radio but no TV. So I grew up to MagicFMs style songs. Like many kids I tried dance moves that I saw in music videos. Michael Jackson used a lot of magic in his music videos and shows. The most famous being the Lean forwards in Smooth Criminal,I started body popping at Mapa West Bowling Estate. It was run by a guy called Emile who introduced me to The Princes Trust’’.

Dynamos success story is paralleled by sadness and pain though as he tells me that his first big break came in hospital as he has always suffered from Chrohn’s disease. He nearly died aged 19. He describes Chrohns disease as being ‘’Like an open wound and having dirt rubbed into it all the time. Its a pain u get used to 24 hours a day’. In hospital I was having treatment and remember thinking, If I had died in hospital what legacy would I have left behind? So I decided to pursue my magic. My mum often let me try anything and fail myself so I could learn my own lessons’’.
Dynamo created a master plan for funding. All his mates were making mix tapes on laptops so he used the same technique to create a mix tape style DVD.
He then got a princes trust award in 2000 to buy a laptop and planned road trips where he went to the middle of town centres and just did magic all day long to random strangers. He moved to London 7 years ago but didn’t really want to be here .‘’I didn’t wanna move here. I’d still prefer to be in Bradford.When I buy my first home it will be in Bradford. at the time my manager was promoting rappers tours. All the people were too drunk to notice me as a magician but I persevered’’.

Dynamo encompasses a true young element of swagger and hustler that reflects the ‘’cant stop wont stop’’ ethos of hip-hop icons such as P Diddy. He once ended up blagging himself backstage to Snoop Dogg at Wembley, and showing the hip hop star some magic which led to the over impressed snoop making up a 3 min freestyle in honour of the young dynamo and now they’re twitter compadres!. Since then he has performed backstage for Coldplay leadman Chris Martin and his wifey Gwyneth Paltrow as well as footballer Rio Ferdinand and many more superstars-just go to his site to see the footage-its impressive!.

Dynamo is also responsible for bringing a modern day approach to his field which up until now had mostly been dominated by older magicians like Paul Daniels in the UK. He is responsible for the worlds first twitter magic by asking snoop to pick cards online across the Atlantic-once again just go to his twitter page to check him out.

He reveals that to get him into the right frame of mind pre show he listens to a lot of hip-hop. ‘’I use music a lot and am inspired by it. I always listen to Lil Wayne “shoot me down”….and “stronger” Kanye West. it gets me ready to take on the world!’’.

Dynamo stands out amongst his peers cos he thinks out of the box and involves current visuals and excitement into his magic set. During a 5 night theatre show at Soho Theatre he included hip-hop elements that had a diverse crowd awed by his talent when he brought a hip-hop style to his set with a hype man and a dj. To finish the show he made the dj booth vanish!.

This smartass now does as much work in Asia and Singapore where he is treated like a superstar.He smiles ‘’My vision of a stage show is I want to be a rock star on stage, People from Bradford don’t travel the world and party in Vegas and I can’t believe where I am now. When it comes to young people there are too many doors that are put up and we need to smash them down. Kids are force fed a structure for success but we need to let kids make their own paths. Most successful paths come from mistakes. Nowadays there’s too much control. There needs to be more creativity and freedom. Magic is taking something that doesn’t yet exist and making it happen. I constantly reinvent tricks. I like interaction. I am doing well but I try to only use my powers for good!’’.
Another young champ doing his thing in his own lane- you’ve gotta be proud of our UK strong hold right now, its unbeatable!

Quincy Jones & comic duo KG & Nicholas Marston!.

KINDRED SPIRITS- Quincy shows Jasmine his must pack suitcase item- hot pepper sauce.

When asked whom in the music world my industry friends would most like to meet its not the artists that grace our tabloids that come up most frequently but a man who is single handedly responsible for much of the great music from yesteryear that has facilitated present day music- a man renowned for working with Michael Jackson on off the wall and bad, and who pointed Michael in the direction of new jack swing and Teddy Riley to update his sound. A music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter.  A man that worked alongside Ray Charles, Dizzy Giiespie, Lionel Hampton, a man that arranged music for Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, a man who scored the music for iconic movie The Color Purple’, earned a record 79 Grammy Award nominations,27 Grammys- a man called Quincy Jones. One of the last living music legends that encompass’ and embraces acts from the early days to having respect from modern day acts like Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg. In all my work with young music stars in the states, when Quincy turns up on set, its as if the lord himself has graced earth with his presence!. Probably as many modern day artists have sampled old classic beats that Quincy was responsible for making!

I first met Quincy in South Africa 4 years ago at Oprah Winfreys New Years Eve celebrations. He spent hours talking to us and recounting olden day stories that are fascinating. Listening to him recall the conversations with legendary figures and talk about what the world was like once upon a time is a thing I could do daily. So when our mutual friend fashion and jewellery designer Heba Elawadi asked me to join herself and Quincy- (or Q as all his friends call him) it was a no-brainer. Heba asked me to invite a few friends if I liked so I reached out to music colleagues and friends including MOBO founder Kanya King, singer Terri Walker and others that I knew would appreciate lunch with a legend.
We arrived in the grounds of a fabulous home in the country where Q, Heba and a few family members were awaiting my arrival before eating. I was of course late due to the usual hiccups and racing around country lanes trying to figure out why they don’t just number their homes instead of giving them fabulous, grand names. When I did finally turn up, Q was sat chilling in the garden chatting to friends and enjoying the rare UK sunshine. Hebas parents had laid on a feast fit for a king which was apt as Q is royalty. Heba was rocking a lovely maxi dress by her own brand El Horreya: Designs For Freedeom (www.elhorreya.com <http://www.elhorreya.com> ).

We spent the afternoon laughing, teasing each other and talking about music.i kept trying to force Terri to sing but she kept it moving with polite conversation. We toasted our blessed lives and danced with the belly dancer that came out to entertain us post-lunch. It was a very opulent day sipping the best beverages, tucking into exotic Egyptian food and sharing time with very special people. My favourite moment was just before Q began his food and pulled out of his travel bag a bottle of hot pepper sauce! Well-I nearly screamed with delight! I have always put hot sauce on all my food. When I say all I mean all. I have even been known to smear it on pancakes much to Mariah’s families disgust lol! Quincy revealed he took mini bottles on all his travels as well as small packets of healthy Korean seaweed to eat alongside his food. those tips from Q, plus his still twinkling eyes and appreciation for life and the good things were enough to make me smile all week long! Always up for a laugh, when asked what the secret to his long, successful life was Q retorted ‘’booty!’’.

The next night I was invited to dinner at the rooftop Chinese restaurant at the royal garden hotel overlooking hyde park with another legendary A&R man – Jack Stevens- a man that has worked alongside Sade, the Eurythmics and many more. Me being the ever attentive nosy journalist hack pried him for more music industry stories from back in the day and whilst I’m under oath not to repeat any I did conclude that back in the 60’s and 70’s they were really rock n roll unlike our pretenders to today’s throne.

With young comic talent like Jason Lewis and Kojo  making waves at the BBC and MTV it was only a matter of time before many more began emerging and one duo that are making a name for themselves with music artists even pointing me in their direction are new urban comedians KG & Nicholas Marston who are a comedian and a writer that have with their comical interludes had the internet alight this month. I attended their live show night at the Gem Bar just off Regent Street which was heaving with a young, sexy crowd that were hysterically laughing all night as the comics did their thing with their hilarious characters ‘’English Dread and African Dread, Shadrack and the Mandem, Caramel the R&B group from Brooklyn South London’’. 2 other performers that had us rolling with their original, very on-point comments were Jason Howard and Kayleigh. Look out for them!

I ended the week by having my hair trimmed at the uber cool 3V HAIR SALON in Notting Hill where paparazzi stalk clients. I go there so I can pretend to be famous whilst I enter and leave- sometimes it works but it mostly doesn’t. as soon as my Barnet was a decent state i whizzed up the road, again to the Royal Gardens tea rooms for a high champagne tea for my friends birthday before popping off to the ‘’Off the Radar’’ music event at Westbourne Studios where a lot of music acts including Preeya Kalidas and Terri Walker were performing for a very local, cool, West London crowd.
Finally I attended THE BILL/KIDULTHOOD actor Aml Ameens birthday/ leaving for L.A soiree –more on that next time!

Queens of American Soul, Mikhailovsky Ballet ,Nas & Damian gig, Cartier International Polo!

NAS & Jasmine.

As well as the very commercial pop acts that sweep through the uk on tour that are regular chart toppers, there are also just as successful, legends that quietly pass through doing their shows that you’d only know about and attend if 1-you really know your music. 2- you want a night with fellow hard-core music lovers. So imagine how excited I was when leaving the 02 arena a few weeks ago and being handed a flyer promoting the ‘’QUEENS OF AMERICAN SOUL’’ -Gwen McCrae (All this love that I’m giving) , The Jones Girls (Nights over Egypt) , and Jean Carne (Don’t let it go to your head) all in the same show! The one person I knew who would know and be excited alongside me was friend and colleague Trevor Nelson who expressed delight too. The night was the most fun, old skool classics were sung amongst a beautiful crowd and all was good in the world of real soul music. Watching the oldies kick back, sing and dance with their two-step was sweet and made me yearn for yesteryear where men and women two-stepped with each other all night.

My once-upon-a-time fellow ballet student and teacher Gavin roebuck invited me to see the Mikhailovsky Ballet (from St Petersburg. Russia) at the stunning Coliseum theatre in Covent Garden where I attended the opening night of the great classic ‘’Swan Lake’’ alongside Hugh Grant and Cilla Black! It was my first time seeing a bonafide Prima Ballerina (the young diva Polina Semionova) perform live since my dancing days years ago when I used to practically stalk ballerina Darcy Bussell . Polina was breath takingly beautiful and divine. The evening was magical and a much-needed refreshing bit of cultural entertainment that had us enraptured from the moment the live orchestra struck up their first note. There is something so traditionally quaint and classic about attending the ballet. If you love great live music that will touch your soul and admire the elegant lines, technical skill and beauty of the dancer then a night at the ballet every now and then is a great thing to share with a loved one.

The much anticipated Nas and Damian Marley concert finally took place at Hammersmith Apollo which was packed to the rooftops with a mix of hardcore hip-hop aficionados for Nas and weed smoking rasta heads who rocked up for Damian son of the almighty Bob. The anticipation for the concert had reached fever pitch by the time I rocked up to the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. It was packed to the rafters!!
With a line up like this you know it wasn’t going to be just any UK support act who had paid to get on the bill. Kicking off proceedings were Ty and rebel Akala with their positively progressive hip-hop stance. Things just got hotter as sound clash master David Rodigan selected some classics! Next up DJ Green Lantern took to the wheels of steel. It felt like a blues as the herb smoke rose and the crowd swayed, putting their lighters in the air and did I mention it felt like 100 degrees in there.  ‘As We Enter’ blasted out and the flagman was in full swing with the Lion of Judah; there was a roar from the audience as The Distant Relatives emerged. The magic in the air was electric.  What followed were two brothers so naturally interconnected in sprit, you saw them lean on each other and laugh, throwing meaningful looks between them as they weaved between solo performances and collaborations. Nas’ ‘You Can Hate Me Now’, ‘Made You Look’ and Damien’s ‘Jamrock’ brought the house down. ‘Road to Zion’ and ‘War’ showed them ease between verses. We went back stage (where everyone on our scene seemed to be) and watched from the side of stage. Damien stood opposite me had locks that reached his ankles and his proud stance felt regal while Nas retained his crown as rap’s favourite son. They mashed up the dance with the multicultural crowd jumping, dancing and singing every word. This was the gig of 2010 and the fusion of these two giants proves positivity in music rules!

I ended the week at the annual Windsor Cartier international polo day at Windsor Great Park where the England team were playing new Zealand. This is a very long and fabulous day where women spend days in preparation preening themselves with hair and make up artists at their beck and call and spent thousands of daddies money on a sexy frock to strut amongst their peers and get trollyed out of their minds by 3pm. The day begins with a champagne breakfast at the open bar area where still hung-over from the previous night Henrietta’s and Sebastian’s all chortle and toast their spectacularly wonderful lives. At 11am the first match begins after which is a 4-course lunch in the grounds of the tres exclusive china white tent. Post lunch there was yet another match by which time the grounds are packed with jewel coloured frocks of every assortment and men in typical Ralph Lauren meets puff daddy attire. I managed to drown a pint of Pimms in the heat and then watched enraptured as riders thundered along the pitch , one strong arm controlling the speedy horses, whilst the other swung the stick to whack the ball into the goals. The excitement and danger of the game makes it extremely sexy to watch and that coupled with alcohol made this upper classed crowd extremely frisky!. At 6pm the party begins and for a furiously noisy 5 hours the guests get through 50,000 bottles of champagne, shots and goodness knows what else. I of course found myself in the vip amongst the music heads like Wileys manager John Woolf and record label head Clive Black as we caught up and giggled at the madness surrounding us. I spotted a couple of England footballers, a lot of young lords and ladies and a lot of chancers who were hoping to bag themselves a rich partner. Thank goodness DJ Sam Young played the first part of the party with great music or Pete Tongs main dance music set would’ve finished me off!. It occurred to me as I left that unlike the festival scene which had now been taken over by our urban music strong hold, the Polo arena is ripe for the picking and having the occasional NERD or Dizzee performing to this crowd would be a good new untapped venture.


After experiencing Ibiza many years ago as a 19 year old over excited bunny with my girl friends, getting smashed on tequila for my first alcoholic experience ever and observing crazy crass antics by sex mad, drunk desperados, I swore never to go down that road again. So how did I find myself in Ayia Napa last week!?

Well, for the past 3years an artist/producer called Sniper had been inviting me to experience life in his native home of Cyprus. Always laughing at him I swore I would never attend the annual summerfest urban craze fest that is Ayia Napa. Relentlessly every year Sniper would reach out and offer to show me ‘’the real Cyprus’’ and I would decline. Not just cos I had heard about its crazy 3 month wild fest of debauchery, but also because whilst working at MTV it would not be morally correct to be seen hanging with music acts and accepting ‘’payola’’. MTV were very strict-quite correctly about us walking the straight line and if there were even a sniff of ‘’corruption’’ you could be fired.

So-when Sniper heard I had left MTV towers for terrestrial TV last year he insisted that now that I couldn’t be ‘’musically corrupted’’. So with a new, open mind I arranged for a Cypriot friend to show me around the city and jumped on a British Airways jet to Larcana and kept it real quiet cos on the low I was a little embarrassed that I was finally making the dreaded journey. I guess it’s how men feel when they visit a lap dance joint lol! Before we even left UK shores there was a sign that things had begun as they were going to continue. My mate made a joke about having a huge knife in his case to the check in clerk, then got excited about a discontinued aftershave line in duty free which he bought. Then forgot on the cash desk. On the plane he insisted he was going to go back and retrieve it and then told air staff that it was his wallet and they practically put out an APB to go get the aftershave and get it back to him!

So we arrive in Cyprus on day 1 where Sniper has a car meet us at the airport. As soon as we got in it was playing Snipers music (www.snipermusic.com)  . As we drove past bus stops they were advertising Snipers music. As we zoomed past the gigantic Waterworld Themed  Waterpark there were massive Sniper posters. As we cruised through town we saw lots of young hip hop fans wearing Sniper t-shirts!. We couldn’t help think we were in a hip-hop version of the Warburton’s bread advert where there is product placement everywhere you look. The car dropped us off at the 5 star Grecian Park Hotel which was plush, marbled with a huge pool and set just outside of the main town as I had insisted sniper arrange somewhere where the grime music scene boys wouldn’t bump into me in my bikini-how unprofessional would that be!

The next few days turned out to be my version of heaven and hell equally interspersed.
On our first night it was heaven, Sniper and his lovely lady took myself and my guy to a traditional Cypriot village-The Good Village- where we tasted a meze of local dishes which ended with my guy being encouraged to try the delicacy of a goats head that had been sliced perfectly in half and opened up on a silver platter. Not wanting to offend I tried a penny size piece of goat brain that was very pate like. My uber competitive, trying to impress fella did goat brain, goat cheek, goat tongue and the piece-de-résistance- goats eyes!. 10 minutes later the horror of what he’d done caught up with him and he was gulping down red wine and smoking a cigarette to calm his nerves. He doesn’t smoke. You know there was no kissing till Colgate!

On our 3rd day the concierge called our suite and informed me there was a gift awaiting me at reception. I walk down to find the coolest buggy that had been sent to me for the week. All black, a solid cage and slick as hell-I was amped zooming it around the ocean paths. The day was made even better as we attended the huge infamous Waterworld Themed Waterpark which 50 Cent had mentioned I must visit. Jay Z had also informed me that on his Cyprus trip Memphis Bleek and Sugababe Mutya had closed the park down after hours to experience the rides. Sniper offered to open out of hours so I could have the park to myself but I reassured him it was totally fine to mingle with the great unwashed public-how weird would it be having a park full of operational staff attending to just me and my guy? Too weird. Instead sniper had a security man escort us around the park, leading us to the front of all the queues-which I found totally embarrassing but was grateful for.
The rides were really exciting! Like Thorpe Park but full of water. It all looked clean, fun and pretty sexy with everyone in beachwear. I went on every ride except the hell high red vertical slide drop cos sometimes even I’m a scared-cat. My favourite was a really high-entwined slide that dropped you into a giant spinning wheel-esque, bowl shaped bottom before plunging you deep into a plunge pool called the AEOLOS WHIRLPOOL. POSEIDON’S WAVEPOOL was pretty hardcore too! It was nice that the crowd was both British, Scandinavian, and Russian so I didn’t have to just hear cockney, northern and scouse accents all day long. A heavenly day!.

Day 4- we were taken to the various beaches to experience water sports that included jet skiing, donuts, banana boats, and a new ride that I loved called fly fishing. My big achievement though was water skiing. Hanging onto the bars on the side of a speedboat I braced myself sturdily as it ripped me through the warm Cyprus waters. Too much fun!. My guy tried to yell instructions at me from the boat. Finally peeved by his criticism I suggested he show me how to do it. Cockily he jumped into the ocean only to find he couldn’t even balance on the skis and insisted the skipper take him back to shore!. Shake My Head.  But heaven was followed by hell…
I tried not to take in too many out of shape topless chics with bright red burning breasts and foreheads that were peeling. In this day and age its unfathomable that people are still so old fashioned with the thought that if they don’t have a dark, burnt look on their return to the UK, that they will be seen not to have had a great vacation. Pathetic. Honestly-I observed people that had flown over the seas to experience not another culture or have active fun in the sun, but idiots that refused to wear sun lotion for protection and instead were frying their skin with cocoa butter!?. Forget the fact that this is the one thing that will damage and age your skin to resemble crocodile skin, but what about the health issues? Cancer is not just something that happens to other people!.
I calmed myself down with a delicious fish supper where we all dismantled a huge local fresh fish called Stone Bass

Sniper also took us to see cultural buildings and churches as well as the caves of Cape Greko where people used to pray in hiding during the crusades, as RICHARD THELIONHEART was once ruler of this land, those days people were persecuted for their religion, faith and beliefs. It is also said by US scientists that the edge of Cape Greko is where the lost City of Atlantis broke off to sink in the ocean and searches will start in the near future!.

Twitter is a great thing and I saw that my boys Rampage (RADIO1XTRA) were playing one evening at club Black & White (seemingly the only R&B/hip-hop club to go to out there). When Rampage play I know I will rave until sunrise and we did. In the house were many UK urban faces as well as local hip hop lovers, international big ballers from Russia, Scandinavia, THE USA, and most ballers that playn in the country or nearby countries like Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and some players from our premier league

Before we went into the club though we stood in the infamous centre square strip road watching the madness unfold. It was pure hell. Young girls and guys all staggering around drunk looking as if they’re about to throw up. Ladies with literally no clothes on wearing classless lycra scraps of fabric giggling incoherently as guys grope them as they wander past. Hen night groups plus stag night groups, plus teens that are all on heat and of the mind set that ‘’what happens in Cyprus stays in Cyprus’’ OR GOES ON FACEBOOK! all mixing to devastatingly dangerous results. Photographer to the hip hop world Paul H and promoter Mr Play stood alongside me as we watched the horror unfolding before our eyes. We also popped into Club Ice where DJ EZ was killing the crowd doing what he does on the decks. After raving with Rampages Mike Anthony until 6am we stopped by the jerk chicken stall where we had an early breakfast before hitting our 5 star beds before the next days fun and frolics.

To rebalance my chav over dose the next night Sniper took us to uber fancy Japanese restaurant Nozomi which was outdoor, elevated and overlooked the sea. With an all white very classy bar and décor we sipped the finest cocktails, popped a gold bottle of ace of spades and nibbled on my favourite black cod and fancy food as Snipers business partner and old skool A&R GURU to the stars JACK Steven (Annie Lennox, sade etc) told us stories from the music world of yesteryear! Jack encouraged my guy to match him drink for drink. Clearly my guy obliged by knocking back cognac brandies and espressos in abundance and was so wired he was on a food hunt at 5am and then couldn’t sleep until 2 days later! The drinking continued at the Nissaki Lounge Bar by the beach where i got high on secondary smoke from everyone elses shi-sha!

The following night I was forced to watch a very boring world cup football final. SNORE. The end. Thankfully this was also ‘’ JET –SKI SUNDAY’’ where we all roared around the Cypriot coastline on high powered jet skis!.

On our last 2 DAYS Sniper had us pack an over night bag and took us to experience the nearby town of Limassol where we stayed at the Londa Hotels amazingly cute suites. That night all 6 of us piled into a huge, white Porsche cayenne stretch limo which took us to a fancy restaurant at the Columbia Plaza which houses the Columbia Steak House for a steak dinner. The venue had a live music area upstairs called the ‘7 SEAS’ where we all jumped onto the drums and piano as I did my best Mariah impression. No one was impressed lol.

The next morning Sniper took us to a diamond manufacturer where I had my not very expensive jewellery valued and we watched as precious stones were turned into all kinds of expensive merchandise. I sat in the huge vault for a minute. It was the closest I was ever going to get to being surrounded by diamonds and I was going to make the most of it!.

On our last night we heard Ms Dynamite was performing at Club Ice so we decided to brave the madness again and go down and surprise her. The club was heaving once again packed with young, naked holidayers on heat. Sniper hijacked the mic and performed some of the tracks from his newly formed 3fifty7 Group of Companies brand,  including the Ayia Napa anthem with  Drew Astro and Pump It Up that features his new artists Oxide and Neutrino-remember them?). The crowd loved his set and I was pretty impressed. Dj Masterstepz and promoter Mr play kept us amused with their funny comments and I was left speechless as I saw folks wearing t shirts that read ‘’dat gal will get dash down’’. Oh dear.

I was also horrified by an old white guy called Johnny. Apparently he’s infamous in Ayia Napa as ‘’Johnny loves black girls’’. He had on a disgusting slogan t shirt and a group of young black girls were even flanking him wearing his t shirts!. I could only feel pity for them as I thought ‘’lord forgive them for they know not what they do’’. Ms Dynamite took to the stage and did her thing like the true professional she is as the crowd sang alongside her word for word and South London’s finest started showing off their uk garage day moves! We finished the night taking a very hammered DJ Mastersteps to the jerk chicken joint where in his best patois accent he proceeded to coarse out the cooks!

The next morning we had a final champagne spray fight in the pool- yes- I was caught up by now in the foolishness-  before being dragged off to the airport as certain peeps with me who didn’t want to leave had to practically have their fingers prized off the hotel door.

The conclusion? Cyrpus is a lovely island that can be either party central or more relaxed and classy depending on how you choose to spend your time. Both heaven and hell its a young, mad place that can be classy-but only if you know where to look! VIVA CYPRUS- IT WAS SPECIAL!.


singer TERRI WALKER, actress/singer PREEYA KALIDAS, JASMINE & singer/song writer CELITIA MARTIN.

Every year for Black History Month myself and the MTV BASE team would go down to the very prestigious ‘’Black VIP 100’’ exhibition which marks the first decade of this millennium with a historic photographic record of black achievement in modern Britain annually and invites individuals to attend a Buffet Reception where during a very fun, buzzing afternoon a photographer takes am portrait of you that is included in a historical gallery showing for future prosperity. In the past our presenter Trevor nelson used to always film an annual episode of THE LICK at this event. So imagine my surprise when I was asked to be a part of such an esteemed line up for 2010. Well after thanking them for thinking of me I replied back asking ‘’um, did you mean to include me, you are aware I am of Asian African origin?’’. Dennis brown and Lorna Stewart replied back insisting that ‘’ We would be delighted to see you at the event. Just to confirm, the definition of black is anyone who is of Nubian descent, including people of mixed parentage. Nubian means people who, through the diaspora (slave trade), were displaced from their African origins and dispersed throughout the world- As an inspirational figure in the world of television and media, we would like to invite you to have your portrait taken by a professional photographer together with other achievers from the world of politics, sport, business, religion, media, entertainment, music, education, creative arts, and community support.’’ Well I’m not one to decline a fun afternoon so on Saturday we put on our finest to go mingle with other achievers in our community in a gorgeous manor house in Lewisham (yes-I ventured south of the river AND enjoyed it LOL) . After initial speeches, we feasted on traditional west Indian food and drinks and mingled amongst the portraits of VIPs from past years that are designed to inspire young people to excel and create a legacy for future generations, by highlighting our individual success and your valuable contributions to society. Portraits I spotted included my mate Mobo founder Kanya King, a range of VIPs, celebrities, well known personalities and members of the general public such as; Lenny Henry, Baroness Lola Young, Rudolph Walker, and many others. The Exhibition is visited by thousands annually and is supported by interactive workshops about black history, inspiring children and young people, and professional development for entrepreneurs. It has been heralded as a major success, with recognition on TV, radio and in print media and I urge you to visit it with friends and family to inspire and unite us all- a much needed reminder of our successes in the current climate!

Walking into the Wireless Festival last week was like a 360-degree turn around on British festivals of yesteryear. I remember in the nineties my street musician mates like Blak Twang, Ty, Rodney P, Roots Manuva and the Cookie Crew would just about get onto a festival line up by the skin of their teeth, and even then it was the smaller, alternative stages they were allowed to grace-and we were so delighted by their inclusion. Over the years with more respect and attention paid to young Brits like Lethal B who is an amazing live act, festivals have invited urban acts to dominate their line ups and wireless was another ‘’ we can exhale now’’ moment. This year saw UK urban acts out number American ones with the likes of Wiley and Roll Deep, Chipmunk (who really is becoming more and more superstar like with his stage presense as time goes by), Tinie Tempah (who swore quite a bit and took his top off at the end of his set!), Mz Bratt (who literally had her tent bouncing with excitement), Mclean (who was accompanied by his gorgeous daughter and wifey) and more! After queuing for our VIP Roc Nation passes (a celeb we all know and love refuses to queue for hers so someone else kindly queued for her!), we fought through the hundreds to get into the guest VIP area where we made a bee line for some food. Any food. We were starving. So we chose the food stall with no queue-the chip stall, where we paid a whopping £7.50 for fish & a few measly chips! Now we could see why the queue for the Jerk chicken went practically around the park. Everyone was still buzzing about the previous day where Missy Elliott had performed her typically awful live set after turning up mega late, as well as the humungous faux pas of wearing a Germany Adidas tracksuit onstage- mere days after Germany ran circles around us in the world cup leading to England being knocked out!. Oh dear. Was there really not one British colleague around to warn missy ‘’um that might not be the best idea’’? Add to that the fact that after fans began to boo her took off her shoe and gestured to throw it at them, which eventually led to organisers pull the plug on her set. Cringe. I know the industry says she gets very bad stage fright but come on son! A decade down the line she’s had a couple of afternoons to get a stage choreographer or trainer in to help her out surely!?? Record label top dogs like SonyBMG’s Nadir Contractor, Gordy Hagan and the man that made Destiny’s Child from a European point of view Mr Matt Ross were mingling with relative new comers KISSFM radio hosts Rickie & Melvin, singer Terri Walker, new up and coming girl group 3d, super producer Tim Blacksmith, boxer David Haye who as usual had girls lining up to take a photo with him, singer Mclean and many more. Beyonce was up in the tower watching her man do his thing onstage, she was joined by best female friend Gwyneth and other very big VIP names. Jay z was as charismatic as ever but I couldn’t heklp feeling at times he looked as if he was just going through the motions at yet another summer festival. All around us young ones were talking in hushed whispered tones about his alleged masons connection as I just rolled my eyes and laughed!.

Straight after Wireless we were invited by American southern soul chef, the celebrity cook Asbell who was throwing a July 4th celebration dinner for Americans in London at the private members club THE ELECTRIC. Ashbell is back in the UK to bring his southern soul food flava to the world of food. He has loved being in the UK and relishes bringing spice n all things nice to the table. Having produced a menu for Electric members he delighted chefs and customers with mouth-watering dishes. The great thing about southern regional food is it’s heritage is part Irish, Scottish, Native American, Spanish and African much like Ashbell McElveen whose family can be traced through all these lines and whose globe trotting has bought a wealth of recipes under his belt that know how to showcase this fusion of flavours. Ashbell is here to bring some life and soul to the palette. To help people remember through the fussiness of all the food TV overload that simple is best when you know what to do you can enjoy the experience of eating and sharing great food and most importantly in these times a style of enjoying great food that won’t break the bank. he is also producing some signature cocktails inc watermelon martini using his own forthcoming brand of White whiskey called Ashbells Moonshine, a clear mixable and delicious triple distilled corn whiskey – blended to an old family recipe…. Going to be launched soon in the UK. Cookery master classes soon come!

The next night Terri Walker performed a set for the iTunes festival at the uber plush members only club Shoreditch house which was full with fans and friends who came to support her including former Sugababe Keisha. Teri rocked studded Kurt Gieger shoes,a grown up blazer and sang her heart out and had the crowd eating out of her hand-look out for new music from her this year!.


Years ago when I was outraging listeners on CHOICEFM with JASMINES JUICE scandal talk my hero was American controversial gossip DJ Wendy Williams. Whilst I merely talked about what was gwanin in the scene and revealing upfront news snippets, Wendy was causing catastrophic pandemonium by outing all the hip-hop stars news and private business. Many a star wanted to kill Wendy back in those days. But Wendy made her lane and graduated from there to get her own talk show. Now her TV show the Wendy Williams show is coming to the UK courtesy of BET who flew her to London to hang out with us for a minute.

The very fabulous Wendy who greets her audiences with her celebrated opening line “How you doin’?” joined an intimate audience of around 100 of us in the theatre screening room of the prestigious Soho hotel where we had a lovely evening getting to know Wendy over flutes of champagne and nibbles.
After a few introductory speeches by BET bods the lady herself stepped up and was I surprised. All these years of following her career and I never knew she was so BIG. Physically this lady is 6 foot in stocking feet and a big lady who’s boobs were ginormous! She revealed that she had been experiencing London and been enjoying fish & chips with enough malt vinegar, but was vexed cos there was no hot sauce. (A girl after my own heart-maybe its     all that hot bitterness that we like to eat that comes straight out again with all gossip queens!). She added that being in the UK was cool as she felt at home because of the British tabloids.

Wendy is Queen at talking and making you warm to her. Like me she reassured us all that reassured me that what she says is never meant to be nasty and that her show ‘’ is not a mean spirited show but that its always what we say in the back of our heads’’. Wendy spoke about the break down of her show informing us that it combines celebrity gossip, news events, relationship advice, as well as diverse mix of celebrity interviews from film, music, fashion, sports and television and carries a variety of interviews with old, young black, white folks, Hollywood stars, pop stars and real people.
As if she wasn’t glamazon enough, Wendy had on her skyscraper heels and she laughed chortling ‘’flats are only for working out or when your corns and bunions are flaring up, worrying! Things Wendy does worry about are her aging parents who are 77 and 79 , taxes, her kids, and the BP crisis. She revealed that her biggest struggle is raising a decent young boy to become a decent man and whilst she talks everyone else’s business, hers is not out of bounds.She let out that she knows pain and openly talks about her two 5 month old miscarriages. Wendy’s show debuts here in the UK on BET International (Sky Channel 191 and Freesat 140 on July 13.

South London’s finest Giggs text me a few weeks ago asking me to save the date for his ‘’invisible album launch party’’. By that I gathered he meant ‘keep it on the low cos every time I try and do anything publicly the police shut it down’ . So it took all my will power not to tweet or talk about it and whilst a few other music industry journalists had mentioned they weren’t attending as they didn’t want to get caught up in any madness, I wanted to support ,so gingerly made my way to ‘’the- ultra wanting-to-be-as-pretentious-as-the-New York-Bungalow 8-but isn’t’’’ Bungalow 8 club in St Martins Lane Hotel.
I felt smug as I was able to park practically outside the door. Until I stepped up to the suited bulldog on the door with my name. He checked it off the list and then asked for ‘’the password’’. Stumped?. Giggs hadn’t mentioned a password. Just as I was pulling out my celly to ding him, he stepped out from behind the bulldog and informed him ‘’ she and her guest are cool’’, at which the bulldog sat back. Poor Giggs explained that all night the venue had been uncooperative with his guests so he was having to play doorman. Poor guy. Downstairs in the intimate venue it was getting busier with Peckhams finest grimy boys and gals getting warmed up whom Giggs described as ‘’manden and hotties-just family invited’’. It was clear that the hotel weren’t used to ‘’this type of crowd’’ and most likely weren’t best pleased. Nevertheless Giggs popped on a slick black suit, greeted his guests and mingled as the party popped off big time with a really nice vibe. His album ‘’LET EM AVE IT’’ was played all through the night and a moment to cherish considering our antagonistic past was as Giggs told me ‘’thanks for coming Jas-it means a lot’’. (Who would’ve ever thought he’s ever say that LOL) perhaps he was tipsy.

Next my guy dragged me out of there to run up the road to the NERD party at Studio Valbonne. The venue was heaving as we entered and was 90% full of eager, skimpy, dancing as if it were their last day on earth girls with the remaining 10% of men looking as if they’d just won the lottery. I guess the law of averages says that as Pharrell is unlikely to leave and please every female that’s hot for him some of these guys must get lucky. The naked chics were kept excited by the sounds of celeb DJ to the stars DJ Manny Norte who always has a party jumping. Party host Adedapo Awofisayo sat us at his VIP table and spoilt us all with an abundance of beverages and by the time NERD hit the stage at 2am for a quick set the vibe was electric. Football manager Chris Nathaniel was holding court with music manager Paul Boadi in one half of the club and when Pharrell came in it was as if England had won the world cup so hardcore was the sheer volume of the screaming which was off the Richter scale.

Remember the talented, young, black comedian impressionist that I first brought to TV airwaves at MTV BASE for BLACK HISTORY MONTH called Jason Lewis? He has just had the ‘’Jason Lewis experience’’ commissioned by BBC3. Congrats Jase-you deserve it! Thanks to Jay Davidson & Nana Hughes and Jo Sargent for making it happen! Upwards and onwards.


Unity and ambition in groups of circles plays a huge part in success and this example keeps popping up in every story I encounter. A young man that I kept hearing about years ago that young people really respected musically is an artist named Wretch32. My interns, researchers, work experience and more would bring his name up continually. I met him a few times before he became popular and he was always the most well-mannered, friendly, engaging person. Everyone liked him. He is on the register for ‘’next to blow up’. Check him out. From North London like his homeboy Chipmunk, Wretch smiled as he recalled to me that his Dad was a sound system DJ so they had speaker boxes all over the house and in Wretch’s bedroom. His Dad also took him to jams which he laughs were maybe not appropriate but Wretch was sucking it all in. Wretch has been really close to Chipmunk for years as both are North Londoners and always kept in touch, played each other tracks and kept each other on their toes. As well as Chippy, Wretch is close to acts Scorcher, Ghetto and Bashy and loves following Scorcher and Skepta on Twitter as both are mad funny, but does see the downside of the social networking site when he observes cyber wars between artists. He maturely understands that the advantages to Twitter are fan and public interaction but acknowledges that its negative side is that you put out immediately the first thing that comes into your head and press send.
He described his early days getting into the game and explained that it ‘’ was more difficult to get into the game as acts like Wiley, Roll Deep, Nasty Crew, and others were all from London’s East End and all the pirate radio stations there were controlling the sounds of the time’’. Wretch’s first mixtape “Learn from my mixtape” caught peoples ears and Radio1Xtras DJ Cameo , Ace & Vis and Semtex were suitably impressed.
Wretch continues ‘’Combination Camp were on HeatFM and encouraged me to get on the mic’’. ‘’I continued writing and improved and got onto Pirate radio’’.
The quality of lyrics and concepts on Wretchs mix tapes caught peoples ears with his mad concepts. For example he did a track called “Punctuation” where he went all metaphorical with the English language and people were impressed!. After that he did a lot of school tours and talks with primary schools, which he found easy as ‘’kids nowadays respect artists more than their teachers’’.
Soon after putting in all that hard graft Wretch started getting a lot more airplay and became Radio1Xtras most played mixtape artist in 2006.
He then sat down with his team of friends…his mate is his manager and like many an urban act, Wretch thinks its easier to keep his business in the fam and ‘’not listen to other managers cos a lot of them just talk’’. They boast “We will make you big and it all amounts to nothing”.
Currently working on his new album “Black and White” which is a quarter done with a single coming soon, Wretch has been chased by Radio1Xtra bigwigs to host his own show and is juggling being a good dad to his young son. The album concept differs from his past work on “Wretchrospective” but he reassures me ‘’its still intimate with a good vibe. In the past I may have been too conceptual’’. The new work includes tracks that talk about love-but not too much and generally the roller coaster of life and being in the industry. The one thing I love about Wretch is that he never talks too reckless-he understands the power of the irresponsible word.
Smiling with love he recounts to me that his young son means everything to him and tells him that when he grows up wants to ‘’be a screwdriver” LOLOL‘’. Look out for Wretch32. An articulate lyricist, a responsible father and a decent human being. That’s all!.

I want to also shout loud and proud about a young man called Jason Lewis who 3 years ago was working in clothing store Banana Republic and sent me a YouTube link to a parody of MTV BASE Black History Month and asked me to check it. Assuming I’d be annoyed by this young, whippersnapper nobody’s content I clicked through on my computer and watched with one eyebrow raised. I got it immediately. My team weren’t convinced but I could see his thought process and comedy angle were unique and what our audience would appreciate. I brought him into MTV to work with our team and the legal department to ensure we could deliver a workable script to film for the upcoming BLACK HISTORY MONTH. My bosses had already warned me that with resources being cut everywhere Black History Month plans weren’t concrete. However, Jason offered to make ours. With his own team of friends in his talented circle. between them Jason had a huge group of actors, directors, editors ,this kid was placing himself in successful circles and they were all pulling each other up together! To me it was mind blowing! To cut a long story short, Jason spent long, frustrating hours with myself and our legal advisor working on his scripts and making him understand the meaning of ‘slander’ and ‘libel’ before getting his own, basic 30 min show on MTV BASE called THE JASON LEWIS EXPERIENCE. Kudos to my boss at the time-Virginia Monaghan – for letting me persuade her on so many projects that I was passionate that should make it to air. Even though Jason’s work wasn’t at the time of the highest quality we were used to putting on air, Virginia saw the light, supported me and allowed me to bring in some very talented young people to the channel. Next, my pal that works at the BBC requested the DVD of Jason’s work and before you could say boo, Jason was called into the hallowed walls of the BBC building where for the last year has been working hard to make it. He’s had a few cameos in BBC comedy output and then last week a press release by the corporation was released confirming that they were shooting a pilot for Jason own show ‘THE JASON LEWIS EXPERIENCE’!. A beautiful story of a young ambitious, talented man that learnt to play by the establishments rules and slowly bent them into his own shape –congratulations Jason-I salute you!

Another similar story is that of Alexander Amosu. Years ago when I was working as a CHOICEFM presenter and covering the Ideal Home Exhibition at Earls Court a young man introduced himself to me and mentioned that he was selling ‘’R&B ringtones’’ as mobile phones were now popular with kids. I took his card, wished him well and moved on. Gradually I’d hear his name regularly as he climbed the ladder of success. He had built his company from the ground up and sold it for millions. Next he concentrated on the luxury market and became known for producing and selling high end designer things like a diamond encrusted IPod or phone, the most expensive suit in the world etc. He knew how to spin the current trends and now he is an established, respected business man. He held his birthday party a fortnight ago and as you arrived at the venue the first two things I spotted were a brand new white Audi R8 spider and a red Ferrari California! To complete the opulent entrance we were gifted a red rose branded with an Alexander Amosu logo whilst we sipped on champagne. Very indulgent but hey-the mans worked hard and has the right to celebrate his success on his special day. As we wandered around the room we noted on display ‘’that’’ world’s most expensive suit costing £70,000 and four show cases of diamond encrusted phones. Guest also had the chance to get their phones engraved with their names or logo for free as well as try out Mr Amosu’s new line of pin striped suits laced with your name, a revolutionary idea that’s bound to have numerous fans among the vain footballers or rappers worlds. You could smell the money in the room as guests filled the venue to capacity with paparazzi taking photos and a two camera crew following and filming Mr Amosu’s every move. (very damon dash LOL). The event kicked off with a video tape that showed Alexander’s journey to the top followed by a grand entrance with him coming through a secret door with African dancers and drummers! Soul singing legend Omar completed the fabulous evening by performing to guests that included Alesha Dixon, Clive Sharpe – chairman Golden Wonder Crisp, Chris Gorman – Chairman Quintessentially group, Micheal Birch – Founder of Bebo, Tinie Tempah, Duncan Bannatyne – Dragons den, David Pun – Director Harvey Nichols, Jim Ike – Nollywood Actor, Kanya King – mobo founder,, Emmanuel Jal, comedian Kojo. A very proud night for all present.



Mariah’s brother/ nephew Shawn was in town this week and knowing he’s more a Nobu brother than a Nando’s one we went somewhere suitably expensive where you pay as much for the ambience as the food before I took him down to Bungalow 8 nightclub in St Martins Lane hotel where my friend John Woolf (Wiley’s former manager and man about town) was throwing his regular bash. We were ushered down into the intimate bar where the petite but much acclaimed female DJ Kaper was playing old skool hip-hop. In one corner was singer Hinda Hicks who has new music coming out soon, in another was producer Shy FX who was accompanied by his new American artist a very young, blonde lady and urban magician Dynamo for once was hanging out and socialising instead of taking everyone’s attention with his mind blowing magic, but I was most enraptured with one half of super production duo Chase & Status who ended up taking over the decks and throwing down some hardcore ragga! Braap!

It was a week of fabulous dinners as next one time ChoiceFM DJ, now football and business guru Chris Nathaniel invited me to dinner at celebrity loved Knightsbridge restaurant Mr Chows. We were accompanied by female vocal duo addictive. Chris and I had business to discuss so met a little ahead of the rest of the group. When addictive walked in the whole restaurant went quiet, stopped eating with forks suspended in mid-air and stared open mouthed at bthe 2 glamorous ladies that had just walked in. it was a hilarious sight to observe as they were clearly trying to work out if it was Destinys Child or The Saturdays LOL!. I ordered my (and Mariahs) favourite-the squab with iceberg lettuce. After convincing the addictive ladies it wasn’t pigeon but diced chicken –they joined me in wrapping up the little parcels of heaven and devouring. We finished with black cod-which is better in Nobu and gossiped about all things fabulous.

Addictive are really busy right now with their Mix CD out on 9th September, their Summer Tour to Holiday resorts from the end of July, a Schools & Uni Tour in September, a new Single out January 2011 followed by their Album out Summer 2011. they’re currently doing Club Tour up North and some big, rich, fat, cigar smoking bigwigs are developing a film script featuring the girls! go get em ladies! For a while now the UK charts have been dominated by male British urban acts and so its nice to see a lot of the ladies breaking through again.

Next BET invited a VIP group of 100 guests to meet controversial radio host/ TV talk show presenter Wendy Williams-as my one time child hood heroine I had to go-more on that next week!.

I ended my week with a cup of tea with Mz Bratt. With her single ‘’Selector’’ blaring out from every radio station and car stereo, Selector looks to be one of this summers anthems and Mz Bratt is the name on everyone’s lips right about now. There’s talk of her locking down a major record deal with Atlantic.
She revealed that her single which will be released in September, will be put out via the aforementioned Shy FX’s record label (keeping the money and talent all in the UK family-nice one!).
Listening to ‘’Selector’’ its hard not to smile at the very hard, Buju toned lyrics coming from this very slight, delicate, pretty young girl that looks like she could play the Disney princess in every story.
The track is very wild when Bratts music in the past in comparison is very reserved. More recently Bratt has become part of a very forceful music clique called the ‘’A list crew’’- headed up by the legend that is Wiley. Bratt confessed that the first she had heard about her inclusion in the group was when she was on holiday in Egypt. She kept seeing Tweets saying ‘’Bratts in the A List’’. The tweets continued ‘’Wiley wants you to be in the a list collective’’. Bratt added ‘’He said “let’s do this and I had known him since I was a little girl so his Co sign is a big deal’’.
Other members of Wileys ‘’A List’’ include singer Shola Ama and her sister Sadie, artist J2K, Brazen/, and lots of other new members.
Bratt confided that Wiley regularly calls the collective together to work on music in the studio altogether where he has them all working together and experimenting like the
Andy Warhol of the grime scene putting together acts and experimenting.
I had to confess to Bratt that whilst I loved wiley and what he had achieved ,he had frustrated me a lot in the past by not turning up for media promotion opportunities and so on.
Bratt smiled knowingly and reassured me ‘’Lately he’s been more reliable. He’s realised with acts like Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder he knows its a new day and its motivated him’’.

Bratt revealed that the Album coming from the group “Midnight Love” is out now and compared her clique to a British version of American collective ‘’Young Money’’.
Bratt has recently collaborated with film director Noel Clarke on music for his movie 4321 after the musical score director Bashy reached out to her and now 3 of her tracks are in the film.
Similarly Bashy had Bratt work on a track for the movie shank too-isn’t it great to see team- UK working together united in a way that’s never been seen before!?.

Bratts story is one of struggle and tenacity. Her early beginnings were in Ilford. Essex East London. She recalls growing up with her Dad who was into acid house. She recounts the stories of squatting. They were poor. Her middle class mum brought her up. She reminisces ‘’I Had a hard upbringing –the squatting was the worst. There was a lot of Domestic violence. I remember a lot of House parties. My Sister and I sat on the stairs. Superstar Seal used to squat with dad before he was famous. I remember being 14 years old at school listening to Dizzee on the radio. I used to hang with the guys. I met Terror Danja and he supported me quite a lot’’.
Currently Bratts midway through working on her album with All Saints old producer K Gee. I imagine being a pretty female in the game isn’t easy and Bratt agrees and confirms that ‘’People feel they can talk to me in a certain way or take advantage of me and of course there are the inevitable rumours about being with acts that you’re working with but I take it on the chin and keep it moving’’. Bratt adds that she’s always having emotional rants on twitter but loves it and is slightly addicted. Her favourite tweeter is fellow artist Giggs who has her laughing all day.
Bratt is a talent to look out for. Like a very young Ms Dynamite she’s gorgeous, talented and making music in a mans world- its time for the ladies to takeover again!.



This fortnight saw me finally go see the SEX AND THE CITY 2 movie with all my girl friends. We had purposely avoided it until one of us returned from L.A so we could all view it altogether as we had always done so. So one sunny lunchtime we booked ourselves into the marble arch Odeon and had a private screening as not one other person was there. We were all dressed as our favourite SATC2 character complete with cute frocks, corsages and vertiginous heels and made a day of it at lunch knocking back pretty cocktail’s, talking about shoes and discussing men!

Next Adidas bigwig Paola Lucktung sent me a VIP box to go see George Benson. Yes, you heard correctly. Often I get sent a pair of show tickets from my record industry pals but Paola likes to do things big. So I was sent the whole Adidas corporate box and so I rolled down to the 02 Arena with some friends and we watched a living legend sing classic old skool hit after hit including ‘’nature boy’’ and ‘’never give up on a good thing’’. The Adidas box was a great barometer of how well our UK acts have done on the major platform internationally as huge photo shot pictures of Estelle alongside David Beckham adorned the walls. I felt really proud of the gigantic leaps and bounds young British talent has made recently. The George Benson audience meanwhile were expectedly a little older than my usual crowd and the volume, amusingly seemed a lot quieter which made me smile and imagine my mums voice saying ‘’turn that volume down’’. George had a tight little band that at a couple of moments seemed he was threatened by them running away without him so he reined them in again. The set was very old skool disco- like and the vibe was lovely-like a christening/wedding atmosphere.
Next I did my part for the community when I helped organise the first ever Paddington Festival for the west London area. I’m a west London born and bred gal and so when I was approached to help put together the line up and event for this year I jumped at the chance. I’ve learnt in life that its just as important to do things that aren’t always part of your daily remit and to give back and the more you give the more you receive. So on Saturday morning as the weather decided to give us a heatwave I called my mates KAT (MTV/CHOICEFM) and music artists Bashy and Akala to jump onstage at the junction of Harrow Road and Elgin Avenue where a stage had been set up. Alongside them were local dance group Hypnotik and local MC Cortex. Kat had the crowd rolling and entertained all day whilst the acts did their thing. Acts like Bashy and Akala are truly inspiring to the young, local audience. Their intelligence, lyrical dexterity and not even trying to be fly natural swag oozes out in bundles. Even the older crowd in the audience sat up and paid attention to them. Young kids had their faces painted and a lot of Caribbean and African food was going around. At one point the festival bigwigs wanted to pronounce the event officially launched by having K at cut a plethora of helium balloons and have them fly into the sky. The joke was that the balloons were tied to the roof of the stage and Kat had to climb up there to cut them off! Health and safety!

Puffy came to Europe again last week to promote his music and new group Diddy – Dirty Money, who released their new single Hello Good Morning last Monday. Now, having worked on numerous occasions with the bad boy for life I can tell you that he has a massive machine around him that ensures as part of their job that he causes pandemonium wherever he goes. Calls will be made to arrange model types and pretty chic’s prepared to wear nearly nothing to flank him as paparazzi both real and ‘’prepared’’ flash those bulbs. His bling will be ostentatious, his sunglasses will not be prized from his head and assistants will scurry around him whispering and hyperventilating to ensure the correct amount of gravitas is surrounding him-(nicely mixed with an erroneous amount of Sean John fragrance and perfectly moisturised lip balmed lips). Did I ever tell you a few years we held up a shoot so puff could summons his stylist to grab Vaseline for his lips and insisted on a mirror to show every corner of his mouth was not dry before continueing!. It used to make me laugh when I first noted the machine of fame at work but now it’s a given that I enjoy observing.
Puff arrived in the morning on Eurostar from Paris and as expected caused chaos as he descended on London’s St Pancreas station a pair of statuesque ladies either side of the Diddy. He was later whisked off to the BBC to film Jonathan Ross where even more narrow corridors were crushed up with men in black in sharp suits-you know how Diddy does!. He then topped off his London visit by partying the night away at London’s Whiskey Mist nightclub and was joined by Drake, M.I.A and Kelly Rowland as well as the usual wanabees hoping to get lucky for the night. The music stars were all clearly having a blast as they ordered over £20,000 worth of the infamous Gold bottles of Armand de Brignac Champagne-the current top champers of choice having kicked Dom P and Cristal to the kerb. Of course with all the half naked chics, sparkling bottles and DJs Manny Norte and DJ Nikki on the decks it wasn’t long before Diddy started dancing on the table and showing London clubbers what partying is all about! I gotta hand it to him, his parties are always on another level from his infamous white parties, his crazier than crazy MTV AWARDS parties and his parties on private jets- Sean Combs is a party guru!.

I’ll have to keep those memories at the forefront of my mind as its world cup time! Now I need to find friends for the next month as the football has taken over my crib and guys attention. Maybe I will spend all the extra time in the gym…..or a meet a man in there that doesn’t like the footie LOL!


Mariah’s brother/ nephew Shawn was in town this week and knowing he’s more a Nobu brother than a Nando’s one we went somewhere suitably expensive where you pay as much for the ambience as the food before I took him down to Bungalow 8 nightclub in St Martins Lane hotel where my friend John Woolf (Wiley’s former manager and man about town) was throwing his regular bash. We were ushered down into the intimate bar where the petite but much acclaimed female DJ Kaper was playing old skool hip-hop. In one corner was singer Hinda Hicks who has new music coming out soon, in another was producer Shy FX who was accompanied by his new American artist a very young, blonde lady and urban magician Dynamo for once was hanging out and socialising instead of taking everyone’s attention with his mind blowing magic, but I was most enraptured with one half of super production duo Chase & Status who ended up taking over the decks and throwing down some hardcore ragga! Braap!

It was a week of fabulous dinners as next one time ChoiceFM DJ, now football and business guru Chris Nathaniel invited me to dinner at celebrity loved Knightsbridge restaurant Mr Chows. We were accompanied by female vocal duo addictive. Chris and I had business to discuss so met a little ahead of the rest of the group. When addictive walked in the whole restaurant went quiet, stopped eating with forks suspended in mid-air and stared open mouthed at bthe 2 glamorous ladies that had just walked in. it was a hilarious sight to observe as they were clearly trying to work out if it was Destinys Child or The Saturdays LOL!. I ordered my (and Mariahs) favourite-the squab with iceberg lettuce. After convincing the addictive ladies it wasn’t pigeon but diced chicken –they joined me in wrapping up the little parcels of heaven and devouring. We finished with black cod-which is better in Nobu and gossiped about all things fabulous. For a while now the UK charts have been dominated by male British urban acts and so its nice to see a lot of the ladies breaking through again.

Next BET invited a VIP group of 100 guests to meet controversial radio host/ TV talk show presenter Wendy Williams-as my one time child hood heroine I had to go-more on that next week!.

I ended my week with a cup of tea with Mz Bratt. With her single ‘’Selector’’ blaring out from every radio station and car stereo, Selector looks to be one of this summers anthems and Mz Bratt is the name on everyone’s lips right about now. There’s talk of her locking down a major record deal with Atlantic.
She revealed that her single which will be released in September, will be put out via the aforementioned Shy FX’s record label (keeping the money and talent all in the UK family-nice one!).
Listening to ‘’Selector’’ its hard not to smile at the very hard, Buju toned lyrics coming from this very slight, delicate, pretty young girl that looks like she could play the Disney princess in every story.
The track is very wild when Bratts music in the past in comparison is very reserved. More recently Bratt has become part of a very forceful music clique called the ‘’A list crew’’- headed up by the legend that is Wiley. Bratt confessed that the first she had heard about her inclusion in the group was when she was on holiday in Egypt. She kept seeing Tweets saying ‘’Bratts in the A List’’. The tweets continued ‘’Wiley wants you to be in the a list collective’’. Bratt added ‘’He said “let’s do this and I had known him since I was a little girl so his Co sign is a big deal’’.
Other members of Wileys ‘’A List’’ include singer Shola Ama and her sister Sadie, artist J2K, Brazen/, and lots of other new members.
Bratt confided that Wiley regularly calls the collective together to work on music in the studio altogether where he has them all working together and experimenting like the
Andy Warhol of the grime scene putting together acts and experimenting.
I had to confess to Bratt that whilst I loved wiley and what he had achieved ,he had frustrated me a lot in the past by not turning up for media promotion opportunities and so on.
Bratt smiled knowingly and reassured me ‘’Lately he’s been more reliable. He’s realised with acts like Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder he knows its a new day and its motivated him’’.

Bratt revealed that the Album coming from the group “Midnight Love” is out now and compared her clique to a British version of American collective ‘’Young Money’’.
Bratt has recently collaborated with film director Noel Clarke on music for his movie 4321 after the musical score director Bashy reached out to her and now 3 of her tracks are in the film.
Similarly Bashy had Bratt work on a track for the movie shank too-isn’t it great to see team- UK working together united in a way that’s never been seen before!?.

Bratts story is one of struggle and tenacity. Her early beginnings were in Ilford. Essex East London. She recalls growing up with her Dad who was into acid house. She recounts the stories of squatting. They were poor. Her middle class mum brought her up. She reminisces ‘’I Had a hard upbringing –the squatting was the worst. There was a lot of Domestic violence. I remember a lot of House parties. My Sister and I sat on the stairs. Superstar Seal used to squat with dad before he was famous. I remember being 14 years old at school listening to Dizzee on the radio. I used to hang with the guys. I met Terror Danja and he supported me quite a lot’’.
Currently Bratts midway through working on her album with All Saints old producer K Gee. I imagine being a pretty female in the game isn’t easy and Bratt agrees and confirms that ‘’People feel they can talk to me in a certain way or take advantage of me and of course there are the inevitable rumours about being with acts that you’re working with but I take it on the chin and keep it moving’’. Bratt adds that she’s always having emotional rants on twitter but loves it and is slightly addicted. Her favourite tweeter is fellow artist Giggs who has her laughing all day.
Bratt is a talent to look out for. Like a very young Ms Dynamite she’s gorgeous, talented and making music in a mans world- its time for the ladies to takeover again!.


Eastenders / music star Preeya Kalidas, legend George Benson and Ty live Jazz Cafe show.


You can be assured that once the sun comes out in the UK that us pessimists will do all we can to make the most of it so a million BBQ”s, park picnics and summer festivities begin to take over our lives.
Last weekend I attended 2 BBQ”s, 2 christenings, a talent show called AMPT at Sound Bar where singer Shaun Williams, and MC”s Sincere and Scorcher performed ,as well as a few trips to the gym.

The christening was in Oxford for a lovely little baby girl called Monet. Daddy from Ghana via South London, mummy from Oxford. The church was stunning, the reception hall was decorated in the usual balloons, unlimited alcohol, a feast of food including a spit roast pig out in the garden area, guys all having drinking competitions, and the sun was out. We ate jollof rice, stewed chicken, and much more. As I was nibbling delicately on a chicken skewer I overheard a little boy ask a lady ‘’is that your babyson?, why is he so brown?”. Hilarious. The poor child mustn’t have been too used to seeing brown kids out in Oxford!.
I wasn’t laughing for long though, before a guy who was fully embedded in the male drink-off decided to whack an ice cream across my face for fun. I was furious but before long my competitive spirit forgot I was wearing a white knee length couture- like dress, and smashed said guy’s face into a pile of cream, chocolate and fruit cake. Cue much screaming, hysterical laughter and ruined clothes. They wont be inviting us back again!.

The following evening musician TY threw a show at the infamous north London jazz café and invited us to share the VIP balcony with his nearest and dearest for one of the best live music shows of the year so far. Early on the venue was crammed full of a great party crowd as DJ Mr Thing played classic jam after jam. Sitting with us at dinner upstairs were UK hip hop legends Roots Manuva and Rodney P. Also in the house were Flava magazine, Charlie Sloth and Lyricisit .Ty literally came, saw and conquered the crowd , joined onstage by his music friends like Roses Gabor and others the crowd were eating out of his hand all night. A real artist has personality and speaks in a relaxed manner with their audience and Ty was a genius at this-he could give a few younger chart acts a few lessons. A real fun hip hop show.

Legend George Benson was performing at the 02 and Adidas head honcho Paola Lucktung sent me not just tickets but a whole box. Yes. You heard right. I had the Adidas VIP box in the Arena all to myself so my friends and I sat back, watched Mr Benson sing hit after hit and spent a lovely evening reminiscing about the good old music from yesterday. George was good if at times seemingly threatened by his band taking over and reeling them back in. The vibe was relaxed and so laid back I could’ve fallen asleep as the crowd around me were calm and the stage set resembled an old school disco .It also seemed that the sound volume wasn’t high as it usually is for a younger artists demographic. You know the oldies. They like to listen at a lower decibel LOL!.

To end my week Eastenders actress and musical theatre star Preeya Kalidas popped over to my crib in a very sexy ,summery dress and vertiginous high heels to give me an exclusive playback session of her first music album. The sun was out and I wanted to fatten her tiny slim body up so I made fresh pancakes with fruit for brunch and forced her to eat them even though she tried to be strong with cries of ‘’no Jaz-I have a video shoot I have to be trim for this week’’ .
Now more than ever the British Asian music industry is thriving and what with singer Jay Sean’s success the time Is ripe for another pop star to emerge-particularly to fill the female Asian pop gap. Preeya left Eastenders after her massive story line last month where she found her husband was gay and a massive 9.3 million viewers tuned in to see her exit on the show proving that a brilliant storyline coupled with a diverse cast brings in great ratings. Preeya has been in the game for a long while with parts in TV specials, films and lead parts in West End Theatre shows but now the time has come for her to really take her career to the next level.
I have to confess that when I first heard Preeya was making a music album I rolled my eyes and thought ‘’here we go again-an actress wants to be a popstar’’. But then I heard the music. Its good. And then I recalled that she actually began with her roots in music and this album shows she has a strong musical background. I presumed her sound would be tinged with an Asian accent but her vocals ,which are very strong, sound very international and inclusive which leaves me concluding she could be a very successful sexy ,sassy pop star for the new generation. Im still intrigued as to how such a teeny physique can belt out such a huge, bellowing voice!
Her first single ‘’Shimmy’’ is extremely catchy and will have dance floors full and bouncing across many various club genres.
The Asian influenced remix features bhangra star Mumzy Stranger who sounds very like Sean Paul and the way he yells ‘’Preeya Kalidasssss’’ I’m convinced we will all be shouting it at her in the street!. Meanwhile artist producer Rishie Rich did a reggaeton version.
As we ate pancakes in my sunny living room I bounced around to her music including a track I loved from the album called ‘in my heels’’ which is a dance based up tempo, big dance tune that goes‘’ I’m a diva, I’m that girl ,in the club, rock my world’’. Big. A track that has to be a single is ‘’Dance for you’’ whilst ‘’Habit’’ is a big ballad with strong vocals which I can imagine being played years from now.
On the rest of the album Preeya has worked with Novell, Cage Productions, and about to blow artist producer Labrinth who made one of my favourite tracks on the album called ‘’Bad boy’’ which the bad boy in life loves!.
Preeya calls her sound ‘’triple s pop’’- which stands for ‘’sexy-sassy –soul-pop’’ and the thing I love about her is that she’s unapologetically proud of her background with regular nods to her ethnicity with her visual look sometimes enhanced and hinted at with henna tattoos and Asian jewellery accessories. Signed to Mercury Records, Preeya is a top priority act for the year and I think you’re all in for a shock with her new music-I think radio stations will play list this album as its very accessible, fun, catchy pop at its commercial best. Preeya is leading the way forwards when it comes to young, sassy British Asian females but can more than stand-up and be counted alongside the Leona’s and Alexandra’s in the mainstream. You go girl!

4321 Premiere, Alicia Keys Black Ball, UK PERFORMANCE AWARDS/Kanya King.

I hope you’re all working as hard as me! The harder I work the luckier I get, the more fabulous my life becomes!
Work hard; play harder is the perfect formula to a happy heart in my book!
So it’s a good thing that Its mid year madness in London town as when I’m not scripting, researching, editing and in meetings we’ve been awash with film premieres, awards shows, video shoots, album launch parties gigs and picnics in the park.

This week’s fabulosity kicked off with writer/director/actor Noel Clarke’s film premiere for his new movie 4321 at the Odeon Leicester square. I was so late that my guy had to hold a car park spot for me around the corner by physically standing in it and as I was wearing a tight, white ,Dita Von Teese pencil skirt dress couldn’t take bigger steps than a geisha girl. I was stressing that the doormen wouldn’t let us in as we were pushing the punctuality limit so I popped my converse on with the dress and hurried embarrassed up the red carpet with my mate looking mortified at me LOL. Typically, Noel Clarke was still doing interviews on the red carpet and said hi as I tried to run past avoiding his eye in my mixed up outfit. Once inside the foyer I swapped shoes into my skyscraper stilettos and all was good with the world (and my mates face) again!
In one corner of the foyer I spotted actors Aml Ameen and Adam Deacon who were deep in conversation, no doubt about their thespian world-I shimmied over to them for a quick hug and catch up before running along to find my seat.
Before getting there however I bumped into dishy boxer David Haye and reached up to kiss his cane rowed cowboy hat wearing head. Thankfully our seats were in between MTV comedian Kojo and Master Shortie-who’s just signed his American deal!. Also in the house were Wiley, presenter’s Rickie and Melvin, MTV and BBC comic impressionist Jason Lewis and many other power players. The film was eagerly anticipated and didn’t disappoint. Not one to be held in a niche pocket, Noel has expanded his urban film genre to a bigger diverse audience and cast and the film was gripping and intriguing in all the right places with its slowly unravelling plotline. It was very entertaining and Noel really has founded a new film genre for young people that speaks their language and that they can relate to. Bashy did the sound track and got Mz Bratt, Adam Deacon, Noel and others involved like the unifying business guru that he is.

Straight after the film I popped on the sneakers again to leg it up the road to catch the final part of singer Egypt’s showcase at Black Market Records where a nice cool crowd was mingling with good hospitality. The crowd seemed to enjoy the new music from Egypt who had fantastic energy and her new material sounds promising.

My week also included a lovely networking evening with my colleagues at BBC children’s department where i caught up with a number of diverse producers and directors from all walks of life to share experiences, next I spent a whole evening just writing lovely things for references for some of my former colleagues, then I cooked Eastenders actress Preeya Kalidas a Sunday morning pancake brunch with maple syrup, raspberries and blueberries as we listened to her debut album (more on that next week!) I ended last weekend judging at my old ballet schools national finals competition which was very la did ah darlings and reminded me to go book a pedicure for my ballet worn feet!.

Later in the week it was Genesis Carnival Company’s press launch celebrating 30 years at carnival! We were treated to nibbles and drinks as they unveiled their cyber-tribe themed costumes for this years Notting Hill Carnival 2010
The costumes were modelled by Miss Jamaica UK and Miss London and the evening was hosted by former Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules and we were treated to a live performance by Soca Bantan from Grenada to get us into the carnival spirit early-I guess it’s a West London privilege!

The next day Mobo founder and friend Kanya King called to invite me to the UK Performance Awards, an annual event that aims to celebrate outstanding UK breakthrough performances across a number of diverse categories such as sport, education, music, innovation and the environment. Hosted by Kate Silverton at The Churchill Hyatt Regency in Portman Square it started with a champagne reception before a show, which awarded very deserving nominees accolades. In the music section were Tinie Tempah, Giggs , Marina and the Diamonds and newcomer Ainne. Lifetime award winner Sebastian Coe made me laugh as he was not amused being sat at his arch rival Steve Ovetts table. Luckily I was sat at the aptly named music influenced ‘’McCartney’’ table. The lunch was delicious, until I got a text from Giggs saying ‘’stuffing your face as usual’’!.i looked around the ballroom to see him smirking at me. If I get anorexic in the future blame him. Later as the host called for Giggs onstage it turns out he had gone for a pee and was no where to be seen. Hilarious!. Tinie ended up winning the music category and Kanya collected his award for him-make sure you get it Tinie-you know what Kanyas like-it’ll be on her desk alongside her MBE for years if you’re not careful.

That same night I was summoned to Westminster where the uber talented vocalist Alicia Keys was holding her ‘’keep a child alive black ball ‘’. The event was in a classic old church space which looked breath taking on the summers night as the paparazzi lined alongside the red carpet for the A LIST names that just kept on coming. As I stepped in there was pandemonium over Katie Price and her man Alex, next JLS, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder, footballers Sol Campbell and Carlton Cole and Chris Martin flew by. After that I spotted a gorgeous looking Jade Ewen and shoe God Christian Louboutin. The JLS boys were seated with Katie and Alex and the ballroom was heaving with glitz and money-just the right ingredients for a charity auction. Alicia took to the stage to welcome everyone wearing a silver cocktail dress that she looked pretty in but it has to be said, resembled a toilet doily. And for the millionth time this decade people questioned ‘’who is her stylist and what were they thinking?’’. We concluded that it must be an attempt to hide the ever-growing pregnant bump .She was joined by her co-host Thandie Newton who looked lovely. The food and drinks just kept on coming (can you tell I ate a lot this week!), we were also treated to platefuls of posh biccie macaroons- you really haven’t lived if you don’t know about macaroons!. Once the auction began it was the most fun-unlike most auctions the bidding and bidders were big!. First up donated by OK magazine was an opportunity to have your photo taken with Alicia. Obviously I take my proximity to stars and my photo opportunities for granted but imagine my shock when a bidder stumped up £12.000 for it!.
It was interesting to see that most of the night though, not 1 footballer or celeb bid on anything whilst heads of record labels were bidding like wildfire. Does this show who really has the purse of gold?
Funnily the auctioneer kept mis pronouncing Alicia’s name calling her Al-eeccc-ia instead of Al-esh-ia. Before long all the celebs were throwing offers around. Shaun Wright Phillips offered a footie coaching lesson which hilariously Carlton Cole bid for!. Christian Louboutin auctioned off a pair of shoes signed by Alicia and Beyonce that he had custom made for them. Next, JLS offered themselves out on a dinner date which had the ladies freakin out. it went for £7000!
Thereafter Alicia’s fiancé producer and artist Swiss Beats offered a studio session with him which AEG head Rob Hallet joked that JLS should invest in . To our delight both Tinchy Stryder and JLS got into a bidding war for it against each other -JLS won with £30,000!!! I couldn’t help thinking neither act really needed Swiss to get to number 1 but maybe they were thinking of their U.S prospects?. I also wondered whether JLS’ deal with Simon Cowell could be so lucrative that each lad could afford to shell out £8000 on a whim!?
To end the nigh everyone was upstanding as hostess Alicia performed onstage joined by Kasabian. By now Alicia had changed into a new outfit. And looked good! Wearing a black asymmetrical shoulder cut sequin knee length loose dress! Finally -the stylist came through lol.
If you love kids & Alicia Keys & support her cause-text the word ALIVE now to 82540 to make an instant £3 donation to Keep A Child Alive
As everyone danced hard to the live set, JLS were jammin hard, Tinchy looked a lil bewildered swayin by himself and I had sweat too much dancing wit the boys and decided to make a classy getaway before the lights came up fully and exposed me.
As I left I was handed a Goody bag, which was handmade, by women from Rwanda, all the women that made it had sewn their name inside the bag they made, with a toy watch inside-a very conscious, fun, inspiring night- a salute to Ms Keys-a woman of substance.



For so long its been about the fellas but this year the ladies are back with a vengeance. Leona Lewis manager, my mate Nicola called and asked if I’d like to join them in their ‘’Laurie Milne’’ jeweller extraordinaire VIP Box at the 02 Arena for Rihannas recent ‘’Last girl on earth’’ tour show. Well VIP and Box are my 2 of my fave words and to share it with lovely Leona of course I accepted. Leona had a bad throat the day of the show so I tried not to waffle on to her too much during the show as I usually tend to. Riri came on late. She probably wanted to distance herself from support act Pixie Lotts cos Pixie was good-too good for a warm up. When Riri finally made it onstage she brought attitude, bolshiness and visuals to entertain. Her vocals are very nasal and not the easiest on the ear but her catchy song writers and stunning outfits and set designs more than distract you from that. Also-when at a gig I try to go with realistic expectation. In the same way that going to see Whitney was more about experiencing a real moment with a legend, Riri is clearly not going to bring Mary vocals. She didn’t disappoint though. From riding astride a hot pink army tank, to dancing on a Cadillac car, to gliding across the stage on travellators and revolving dance floors there were pink leotards, black rubber S&M outfits and more visually tantalising feasts that highlighted her glamazon figure to its fullest. Even her final web catsuit that looked like it came from Dalston Market was carried off like a couture classic!. Only thing is if she’s going to wear 6 inch platforms she’s gotta practise walking in them more as she took a tumble-not the first of the tour-and certainly wont be the last. . As well as her own hits-which by now there really are plenty of (thanks to her A&R man the legendary RocNation genius, Jay Brown), -she threw in a few covers including an Oasis classic.During ‘’hate how much I love you’’ she had the crowd eating out of her hand, if only she could get more personality into her set –it was over an hour before she even said ‘’Hello London’’ and even then, that was it-it was clear she lacked confidence to relax. A lot of cash was spent on this tour with all the various sets, trapeze artists, dancers, and full band as well as an abundance of props and all I could think was ‘’bravo girl!’’, where’s the ‘’Princess of the Roc-Tierra Marie now?’’.

This very month Leona Lewis herself takes the 02 Arena in as a part of her tour which goes across the country and I cant wait to see her with her full stage show. She watched Rihanna very closely when we were at her gig but didn’t seem blown away. I know Leona will shine in that understated, purely vocal talent she has. She needs nothing else. Her brother Bradley used to be one of my editors at MTV and used to talk about his ‘’younger sister who sings’’ all the time years ago-who would’ve ever imagined that she would be an international superstar years later?.

My West London sistren Estelle was in town very briefly on low key business and whilst here she took me shopping to Selfridges, browns and Harvey Nics. She caused a stampede in Selfridges as fans recognised her and wanted photos and like a true star she obliged. I’ve noticed during my years working with the stars that the bigger and more successful they are the more they respect their fans. Its always the asses that disrespect the very people that put money in their pockets with their ‘’sorry no photos’’ crap. Estelle’s always gracious to her fans. As well as that we went down to the now regular Wednesday night at Camden’s Koko Club where Channel 4 record their great music show ‘’Pop’’. Estelle was eager to catch it as our mate’s Tinie Tempah and Mr Hudson were performing that night. Tinie Tempah was so good it was fascinating to observe. He is amazing live and had an energy that’s going to smash the summer festivals this year.

Speaking of West London, video director to the urban music world stars Luke Biggins and hip hops version of photographer Rankin- Mr Paul H, have set up an amazing new huger than huge, slicker than slick studio in West London where we have been frequenting often this month as so many new artists and old have made it their new home. Called Jacuzzi Studios it really is a central hub of London’s hip-hop elite right about now. They’re looking for eager, young, talented people to join their style, make up, film crew so holla at them on twitter if you think you’d like to be part of a growing, about to explode movement- hip hops version of the Andy Warhol.

GOSS; Which young new British musician was just about to sign on the dotted line to a major record label deal this week when Mr Simon Cowell called up and offered them a rival offer instead?


June’s finally nearly here and at last the weather has given us opportunities to pop our dresses and shorts on which frankly is a blessing as my legs were beginning to think they’d never see the light of day again and if I’m spending a few hours a week doing squats and lungs in the gym then these pins need to be on display whilst they’re still decent!

This fortnight I’ve been watching old tapes of the ground breaking, iconic, nineties youth TV show THE WORD. The reason? This September is the 20-year anniversary of the show and there will be mass TV and event celebrations to acknowledge the affect this notorious show had on youth TV culture in the past decade.
Its fascinating to watch the tapes back on the show where I was a presenter on series 5, where we had icons from Bo Derek, Prince, Patrick Swayze, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Salt n Pepa, Eric Cantona, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jodeci, Mary J Bilge and many , many others appearing before they blew up. The outrageous content that showed anything and everything wild in the world of celebrity was my first foray into TV presenting before my MTV presenting days and I look back on those times in awe. The live studio used to be filled with party people, street dancers wearing shell suits, burlesque furry knicker wearing performers, and all the staff that made THE WORD went on to bigger things. Zoe Ball and Jo Wiley used to be researchers on the show!. My then genius TV bosses Bob Geldof, Charlie Parsons and Waheed Ali bred a stable of future power players that are now heads of TV, radio, film, and between them all they practically control the industry. Back then millions of viewers around the uk made no plans on a Friday night because THE WORD was unmissable, car crash TV. Live music, controversial interviews (who can forget that we gave Shabba Ranks a platform to ruin his own career and humiliated Oliver Reed and MC Hammer so bad), and stunts that would never be allowed to air in today’s very politically correct world were the normal every week. A group of nobodies eager to get their 15 minutes of fame would do unthinkable things to get onto the infamous slot ‘’The Hopefuls’’ which saw them sit in baths of cow dung, eat toenail clipping sandwiches, drink pints of each others urine, snog an old granny and lick an over weight mamas armpits post workout. The interesting thing I observe whilst viewing the old shows is that no music, youth entertainment show has ever matched it. There’s definitely a huge gap for this in today’s broadcasting world but which broadcaster would ever have the balls to recreate such a monster in today’s OFCOM controlled TV world?

After a year of the men controlling the music charts the ladies are back in full force with this month seeing visits from Whitney, Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Kelis, and of course the return of my West London hombre Estelle!. Estelle continues to represent the UK internationally and battles the ‘’dark skinned stereotype within our industry’’ daily. Her forthcoming album ALL OF ME is about to take over international play lists again and the first official single called FALL IN LOVE is already being hummed by radio listeners globally.
To celebrate her return I threw a last minute dinner party in her honour at mine where a few girl friends and men popped by. The night started in the usual civilised manner with nibbles and wine and conversation. As the night continued I corrupted poor stell by encouraging her to mix up a punch from my cocktail cupboard and before you knew it all kinds of bottles were being mixed with her favourite beverage-Ribena-to make a deadly concoction that tasted sweet and easy on the palette but was messing us all up. Moments later the banter between the girls and guys went off with the men role playing men chatting up women in nightclubs and all kinds of screaming, laughing and passing out took place. Estelle’s new album playback party is this week and takes place in a very fab venue with her usual eclectic mix of art and fashion. A true artist.

Finally I ended the week by going to see 2 live shows. Firstly to see artist Bashy play the lead role of ‘Markus the Sadist ‘ again in Jonzi D’s hip hop theatre show about an artist that gets signed to a major label and sells his soul to the music industry devil-always on point Bashy is a true multi faceted artist that can only get bigger and blow up this year.

Next I was invited to the IndigO2 on Friday night to watch Muyiwa and his famed chorale, Riversongz in action. Now I had heard a bit about Muyiwa and Riversongz before, but nothing would have prepared me for the night with the UK’s number one selling gospel artist. All I can say is who needs the gym when a few hours at a Muyiwa concert has the same effect on your body! I’m still aching from all that jumping around and dancing. Even the usually reserved Rudolph Walker [Patrick from Eastenders] let all inhibitions go and danced the night away with his wife, Dounne on the front row of the sell-out show. Also in the house was award-winning comedian, Eddie Kadi (who will be headlining at the 02 in September) saxophonist YolanDa Brown who had the crowd in the palm of her hand with her performance towards the end of the night and Chief Inspector Leroy Logan – Britain’s highest ranking African Caribbean police officer – who was so “inspired” by the show that told Muyiwa that he wanted to put him in contact with his son, Gerad ‘Soundbwoy’ Logan! It’s been two years since Muyiwa took to the stage and judging by the reaction of the crowd, it’s obvious he’s been missed!


Luckily my diary has has had as much fun in it this week as work or I could be in serious danger of depression with this UK weather. As Marvin would say ‘’What’s going on?’’. We’re mid may-nearly summer and its still the temperature of winter!
Heating my life up were lots of entertaining moments. I have made 3 Sunday roasts in a row for friends who have popped in, eaten to their hearts content and fallen asleep on my now legendary sofa (Mariah name checks it in my song ‘’betcha gone know’’ in her latest album) .
This fortnight my girl Estelle was briefly in town from NYC and we spent bank holiday Monday shopping at Selfridges, Browns and Harvey Nics, where Stell bought some high dusky pink vertiginous designer heels. She nearly tempted me into getting the midnight blue satin blinged up Alexander McQueen’s but luckily my bank account managers face kept looming into my subconscious and I kept my credit plastic tightly wrapped away out of sight like a good girl.
Post shopping I dragged Stell down to our mate hip hop theatre impresario Jonzi D’s Breaking Convention hip-hop theatre weekend at Sadlers Wells which was packed full of dance loving people who wished they had been in the original Breakdance and Beat Street movies (don’t deny it-I did too!).
To end the night we had a last minute dinner in Mayfair restaurant Automat with stylist to the stars Karen Binns and other friends.

Last Wednesday and most Wednesdays recently I’ve been found down at Camdens legendary Koko nightclub (formally Camden Palace), where Channel 4 regularly record their Sunday morning T4 music show ‘’Pop’’. Estelle was still in town and really wanted to go see her mate Mr Hudson and Tinie Tempah perform, so a 10 strong crew of ladies including Virgin Media’s Jodie Dalmeda, Music Worlds Fiona Ramsey, PR mavon Vanessa Amadi, Adidas head Paola Lucktung, and I jumped around with all the young uns, and I mean young-most of the audience looked 16!  Tinie Tempah never fails to entertain, his presence onstage is so strong he had the packed venue jumping screaming and chanting-they were totally eating out of his hand!

Next my one time nemesis south London rapper Giggs called me to cuss me. Well, he actually called to invite me to his albums official playback but cussed me first because he assumed I’d deleted him from my phone contacts as I hadn’t immediately known who it was. After explaining that my blackberry had finally collapsed and was in intensive care being repaired leaving me with no contacts to hand he let me off. Phew!
Anyhoo-that Friday afternoon I took the afternoon off work and headed down to Giggs very special afternoon.
The invitation implied it would be a different event to the usual and I was excited. The address was a very old world educational institute in the heart of Londons brain centre and the college was an old Etoneque building with amazing architecture and grand painting of lords, ladies and distinguished folk from yesteryear looking down on us. As we entered the lobby we were greeted with the now expected wine, soft drinks offers and Giggs immediately came bounding down the grand staircase to greet his guests and thank us for coming. We acknowledged how far this guy had come. 30 minutes later we were ushered into a huge grand hall, like a Harry Potter movie where old world desks were set up like an examination hall. An old lecturer (was he an actor?), greeted us and played the role of our tutor explaining that we had 45 minutes to open the paper on our desks, put on our individual headphones and take the paper away with us. Well, this was brilliant! You could see all 50 of the chosen journalists were impressed. The juxtaposition of this south London, raw, grimy character placed alongside this grand ,imposing, English, establishment was enough to start with but the examination room and headphones just banged in the final nail that said Giggs was on another level. He had mentioned to me a while back that when he played his music for people ,like most music acts he wanted total silence until the track was over. Well now he had forced listeners to actually listen. Unlike your average artist playback session where journos chat drink and socialise Giggs had forced us to sit and pay attention. Like he always has. Our desks had the ‘’Giggs listening exam paper ‘’ on it, as well as a byte sized mars bar, a green apple and some water. The visual was a classic. Fantastic idea! The body of work sounded together and panoramic and I have no doubt that if Giggs plays the game, then alongside his very slick managers Jack and Archie they can come, see and conquer.
I ended the week with my favourite body jam classes at the gym and a dinner party at my crib thrown in honour of the return of my west London girl Estelle. It was a long night full of eating, drinking, screaming, laughing and after the great company I had an early start at a South London church for one of my best friends daughters christenings. I had been asked to film the blessing and so as I stood there, camcorder in hand, smart garms on, surrounded by my nearest and dearest under gods roof I thought ’’lord let me sleep 8 hours tonight!’’.

what giggs and i would look like if we were at school together