Charlie Powell

Photography & Interview: Owen James Vincent

You might not recognise her face but you would definitely recognise her voice. Charlie Powell is a LGBTQ+ radio host on Capital Dance & Capital FM where she plays the biggest in upfront dance music to soundtrack your nights out and journeys home!

We got to do a photoshoot and have a chat with the radio star about how she prepares herself before she goes live, why she decided to do radio and as Pride month is approaching Charlie tells us her thoughts about being a gay radio host.

Hi Charlie, Thank you for talking to ReVamp Magazine. It’s so nice to have you with us! How would you prepare yourself before you go on air?

Thank you so much for having me! 

So, the first thing is making sure I’m in the right headspace… all of my shows have to be positive, passionate, upbeat and interactive so it’s super important. I won’t start a show without a coffee and a lil practise, and I usually blast my fave tracks on the way to the studio to raise the mood as well. 

I also make sure I have my finger on the pulse with regards to trends, culture, and of course everything dance music - I do this day-to-day anyway and am constantly writing ideas down in my iPhone notes!! Ready for air at all times.

What made you decide to be on the radio?

Sounds pretty daft but as a young gay child growing up in a small town in Cornwall, it was company, and a window into the big wide world. It was always on in the car too and I was fascinated by it. 

I used to listen to the chart show and write down my favourites so I could go and buy them from HMV with my pocket money.

My Mum then got me my own radio, so I could sit and listen to it with my headphones on hahaha. 

Also, my Dad was always making music at home so I was listening to music by default from such a young age, and became just totally obsessed with it all. Particularly dance music, 

I’ve always been a bit outspoken & full of beans too, so radio was the perfect place for me!! To be able to share music to other people via radio was always so exciting to me so I set up a radio club at the age of 14 at school and the rest is history! 

Do you remember the first time you went on air? What was it like?

The first time I went on air was actually when I went to Westminster University to study Radio, they had a student station. I also had a weekly dance music show on Roundhouse London's youth radio station.  It was amazing because you got to be creative, practice & learn, make mistakes and get a proper induction into the broadcasting industry. It totally helped me prepare for my first big national show.. which was absolutely pretrifying. 

I remember putting up the fader and just shaking with fear.

But the nerves mean you care, and I’ve always gone by the quote, “Always get comfortable feeling uncomfortable” you just have to learn to deal with the pressure and you soon get used to it.

With Pride month coming up and you being part of the LGBTQ community. How does it feel to be a LGBTQ radio DJ? Is there enough LGBTQ happening on radio?

Do you know what, I am so lucky to work in an industry and a company that are constantly trying to be better with diversity, equality and inclusion. There is recognition amongst the industry that more can be done to improve this, and it’s happening. 

Personally, I am lucky that my sexuality hasn’t ever really held me back in my career, and it shouldn’t. But I also am aware that I am very fortunate to be able to say that. I have had young people messaging me who are struggling with their sexuality, and tell me that I am an inspiration to them - which is an honour, to know that what I do may help someone else. So in answer to your question I feel privileged and very lucky. But normalising it as much as possible is important to me. 

I do as much as I can to celebrate Pride, to educate people and not exclude. Because there is still work to be done. For gay women in particular. I think radio stations solely for LGBTQ+ listeners like Gaydio & HITS Pride, are safe spaces for people to engage and are essential for the community. But I also think that we should be welcome everywhere, and that's why it is important that LGBTQ+ presenters, like me, are on mainstream national brands just like everyone else.

If you weren't a radio DJ. What would you think you’ll be doing instead?

This is such a hard question because I’ve never wanted to do anything else… so definitely something in music I would have thought. I do A&R on the side so probably more of that and probably working for a record label in some capacity. 

Having said that I have always LOVED interior design, my flat unfortunately resembles a showroom so maybe even that!? Definitely gonna be one if those mums with the hoover out all the time. 

What’s the future looking like for Charlie Powell?

Big and bright I hope! I have a board on my wall with what I want to achieve on it. I refresh it each year. My problem has always been that I want to do too much though! 

Always more Radio of course and bringing through up and coming dance artists, hopefully some big boy DJ gigs and TV is also on the list! I’m literally obsessed with documentaries, and I've always wanted to do my own…particularly about LGBTQ related issues. So we will see!!!

I am a big believer in things happening for a reason and as long as I'm working hard and making a positive impact somewhere I'm happy.

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