A Quick Chat With Our Top Pick for WCW, Nicole Da Silva
12 Questions is a weekly interview series that celebrates Africa-based female professionals who work in the music, media and entertainment industry. The multi-layered presentation is intended to inspire a bright new generation of young ladies to carve their own paths and overcome common challenges while learning about a few personal experiences from some (notable) professionals in the creative industry.
In this first installment, we had a quick chat with South African DJ, MC, Voice-Over Artist, and 5FM presenter, Nicole Da Silva.
Da Silva discusses the local radio broadcast industry, her thoughts on the current state of SA music in a digital age and everything in between.
Tell us about your journey & how you began with radio presenting.
I was one of those kids obsessed with radio. I knew every presenter on my favourite stations, every track that played, who was new to the station, where they came from, when and why – obsessed.
I was fascinated by how they could make every 3 hours they were on-air different, exciting and fun while sitting in a room by themselves and only connecting through a speaker. To me it was like listening to magic.
Is there an interesting story behind your name?
Besides the fact that I had a different first name for the first 2 weeks of my life until my dad decided he didn’t like it and wanted me to have a French name, no story.
What does house music mean, to you?
Like all genres it either means something to you or it doesn’t. I only started appreciating actual House Music over the past 5-7 years. Everything else was Dance, Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Indie. House music speaks to a different part of me that I only developed when I started DJing in clubs.
Did you have any bitter experiences with not being taken seriously, as a female working in the radio broadcast industry? kindly share.
I always positioned myself to present a show on my own. There was a stage for just under a year where a male presenter tried to make me into the “giggling side-kick girl” and it was agonising.
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I would cry before going to work because every hour I’d just get made into the punchline of a joke and he never gave me a chance to speak. I learnt a lot about what I am and what I’m not back then.
Any thoughts on the current state of SA music in a digital age?
It’s easier to get your music, sound and brand out there now. It’s also easy to release stuff that probably isn’t that good and get it out there before it’s ready.
Make sure that you have a good team around you, know how the industry works and always have contracts that you have read through thoroughly.
The biggest challenge faced by women in the radio broadcast industry?
1) The perception that “you’re a b*tch” if you work hard and call people out for slacking or not taking you seriously. 2) The fact that you’re judged by your looks and not your talent. Things that I think women in most industries face.
The biggest reward?
- Signing the contract.
- Getting the gig.
- The feeling of satisfaction after a great show.
- Knowing that what you’re doing is recognised and appreciated.
Can you list the Top 4 social media do’s and dont’s for fellow professionals?
Don’ts: (1) If you wouldn’t put it on a T-Shirt and wear it don’t put it online. (2) Don’t be better online than you are in person. (3) Don’t partner with brands that don’t resonate with who you are. (4) Don’t forget to live your life outside of social media.
Do’s: (1) Always be authentic. (2) Reply and engage. (3) Remember that Social Media isn’t real life, but there are people behind the accounts and they have their own stuff they’re dealing with, so be nice and don’t take anything personally. (4) Learn as much as you can from it and leave out the rest.
What would you say makes your personal brand unique?
I suppose it’s that I care more about the product and less about the packaging. I’m authentic, fun, sassy and honestly not trying to be something other than what I am.
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Can you pick 3 women that you admire in the industry? Why?
Radio industry: Leanne Manas – she started in radio and embodies a consistent professional who is also a wonderful grounded person, Thando Thabethe – she’s wise beyond her years and seriously fierce, and Catherine Grenfell – she’s the realest of them all and was one of my favourite people to listen to especially when she was standing up to someone.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I’m rolling out a Radio Presenting Short Course for people who don’t have the opportunity to go to a University with campus radio, people interested in learning about radio and people that can’t afford the time or money to study a full time radio course.
Do you have any advice for ladies looking to follow in your footsteps?
Be realistic about your abilities and expectations. Stay strong, it’s not nearly as easy or glamorous as you think. Always have different sources of income. If you’re doing radio to be famous, rather try something else.
You can follow Nicole Da Silva on Facebook + Twitter and Instagram for regular updates about her Radio Presenting Short Course and/or to keep track of her activities. That being said, kindly checkout Nicole Da Silva‘s podcast and do let us know what you think about the discussion down below: