With a daily audience of 1.5 million listeners, Neev Spencer has become one of the most popular radio hosts in the UK. With a daily show on Kiss FM, regular DJ gigs and voiceover work Neev certainly has a busy lifestyle. However she still spares time for the many charities she supports, some of which she is a passionate ambassador. Contrary to popular belief she claims her life is anything but glamorous, it is a lot of hard work, long hours and perseverance for the famed DJ. Neev talks music, her amazing encounter with Rihanna and why Pilates is the go to exercise for any fitness freak!
6:30am-7:30am: I wake up the “lovely” hour of 6:30am, I used to wake up at 9:30am for eight years so it is quite a leap let me tell you! I get myself ready and pick out something good to wear because you never know what celebrities are coming into the station that day. I also tend to record a lot of stuff for Instagram and Twitter, it is not all about listening to the radio and hearing a voice these days, it is much more visual. I am a health and fitness freak so I always have a healthy breakfast before I leave.
7:30am-8:15am: Head to work via the tube station.
8:15am-9:00am: I arrive at the KISS station and have a meeting with our controller, then I prepare for the show. I will look through the papers, music and competitions which I note down so I know exactly what is going on in the programme.
9:00am-11:00am: The show starts and we have a two hour section which is mainly music driven with celebrity stories, topical conversations or light hearted discussions. At the moment for the first half of the year Starbucks have started to sponsor my show so we have the chance to make your mornings great, we give away money or iTunes vouchers for free to brighten someone’s spirits.
11:00am-12:00pm: We then come to the KISSTORY hour which is the biggest part of the show and has a huge brand, it is where everyone can feel nostalgic and hear their classic tracks that take them back to their favourite holiday, memory or moment.
“I do my best to bring real love, passion and enthusiasm to the music with the way I deliver it. It is a huge musical throwback.”
12:00pm-1:00pm: Then I finish off my KISSTORY show then spend the next half an hour doing prep for the next day, as the official voice of KISS I record voiceovers, jingles for the station, promotional offers and sound bites.
1:00pm-4:00pm: I move to the KISSTORY station, KISSTORY now has a national radio station on digital and Freeview channel 714 and can be listened to online and on the Kiss Kube app that people can use on their Smartphone. It can also be accessed on the KISSFM website and has over 1 million listeners, I have a daily show there where it is the same old thing, old school tunes.
4:00pm-5:00pm: I head out and I will try to get to a Piltaes class which is my preferred choice of fitness and training, it gives great overall tone and strength to my body. I have tried different types of exercises that have never worked for me but have always liked exercises that incorporate a type of Yoga and breathing. With the kind of fast paced life we have now it is important to stop and breathe for a second and Pilates really does that.
5:00pm-6:00pm: I then manage my social media, I am heavily into my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter where I share things and spark conversations with people. I might be working on a mix or on SoundCloud which takes up a lot of time.
7:00pm-9:00pm: I will be coming home and thinking of something healthy to prepare for dinner, the thing about being a fitness and food fanatic is that it takes ages to prepare what you will eat so I take a long trip down my local supermarket. I eat very low carbohydrate and high protein diets with low sugar. Because I like to share my lifestyle I will take pictures of my food and share the recipe which takes up a lot of my time. People who have tried my diets and exercises have responded to me saying it works out for them, I like to share my experiences with people and be real about what I do. I will try stuff out and genuinely tell people what it is like.
9:00pm-10:00pm: Normally on Monday or Tuesday or Friday and Saturday I will be 100% working as a DJ so I will do my makeup, hair and outfit and be out the door driving anywhere where KISS transmits. It could be Cardiff, Norwich or London for example.
10:00pm-12:00pm: Travel to my gig.
12:00pm-4:00am: I will be working at my gig and then return home to get to bed. The only constant thing in my life is my radio show, everything else changes around it and every week is different. I don’t have gigs every day of every week so that means that I do get my lie in. We can all push ourselves to do a lot in 24 hours.
You have been heavily involved in charity, is there one particular movement or charity that is close to your heart?
Two things spring to mind: first is the British Asian Trust started by Prince Charles which I was made an ambassador for. This was a huge honour for me as the money they raise is for people in India with life threatening diseases. Last year they raised approximately £1 million where they enabled people to buy vaccinations.
“I feel proud to be part of this charity as I can give back to India where the poverty is extreme, you don’t know where you can begin to help people.”
The second is Mencap, which I am also an ambassador for, who help raise money for people with mental and learning disabilities. As my younger brother has learning difficulties and special needs I feel emotionally close to this charity and proud that I can attach my name to them. They are fantastic and have helped my brother enormously over the years.
Is there any particular celebrity interview that stood out for you?
It has to be Rihanna, I don’t know why but I thought she would be quite cold and aloof, however she blew me away as she was so loving and wonderful. Rihanna is a beautiful person inside and out, she just wanted to talk to me and hang out and I even had to make her answer my questions because she just wanted to play around, she is a very playful person! I even had Mendhi on my hands as I had just come back from India and she was crazy about it, she kept saying “This is amazing, I want this!” as she was holding my hand. I then said I would take her to have it done and she ended up having her tattoo of the mendhi on her hands which I like to think I influenced as it is exactly the same as mine! She was wonderful.
What can we do to encourage more Asian people to get involved in the media industry?
I started in radio as a hobby when I was 18 while I was studying, at that time there were no Asians in the media except for a few newsreaders. It was socially acceptable to be a newsreader and being a DJ was not at all, so I know a lot of barriers have been broken down. People come to me and say “I can’t believe you are Asian and on KISS FM and a female!” Now more Asian people are integrating into mass media and these professions. I think it is about what our parent’s generations feel, when I started out it was a real battle as my father was very against my career but my mother was for it, but I was very true to myself where I was able to forge a successful career out of it. What I love is that out of our 1.7 million listeners so many of them don’t know I am Asian which I am proud of because I am British Asian and Sikh and very proud of my heritage and homeland. At the same time I don’t feel I have to be stereotyped in any way, I am as much British as I am Asian and that defines me. I think the battle however is not over as I want to present X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother, I want to do massive commercial TV entertainment and then we will know that the barrier has been broken as we have not seen that yet. What I would suggest to a lot of people is that if you have a talent you love, your first battle is if you can get your parents support.
“You have to be dedicated and not chase it for the fame, because media is not about the fame, it is about hard work, commitment, dedication and long hours.”
It is not as glamorous as people may think so if you can show them that you are willing to put the time and work in to get somewhere then you should be successful in anything you do. Asians are hard workers, it is in our blood!
Drink that gets you through the day: Green Tea
Person that gets you through the day: Mum
Gadget that gets you through the day: iphone emergency charger
Song that gets you through the day: Blame: Calvin Harris, Fatman Scoop: Be Faithful and anything from DJ Fresh
Food that gets you through the day: Almonds
Favourite time of the day: Kisstory hour at 11:00!
Catch Neev at 9-12 Monday to Friday on Kissfmuk and 1:00-5:00 Monday to Friday on the Kisstory channel on Freeview 714.
Get the Kiss Kube app for more KISS!