Essex-born Charlie Hedges is no stranger to the house scene. She started her career at the mere age of thirteen ringing up magazines and asking for work experience where she then landed herself a journalist job. Fast-forwarding many years, she is now 29 years old and has grown to one of the industries most respected and hardest working contributors. Charlie influences a weekly audience of 5.6 million listeners as co-presenter on the Sony Award-winning Kiss FM breakfast show, she has also become to the voice of Skiddle aka the UK’s busiest ticket retailers “Weekends Matter” monthly podcast, broadcasting to an audience combining 1.3 million members and over 5 million page views per month. Her Charlie Hedges Presents mixes are also syndicated across British Airway’s in-flight entertainment where it reaches 40 million passengers per year, whilst played at a total of 179 destinations world-wide. If this doesn’t impress the pants off you – the story behind how she reached this point sure will…
Charlie Hedges is better known as a world-class DJ- playing alongside Carl Cox at Space in Ibiza, Steve Aoki at Pacha, Judgement with Judge Jules, and many more. Miss Hedges has played over 60 gigs in 2015, and she is extremely excited to announce her very first full UK club tour! She’s one of the most positive, driven, and hardworking people in the industry. Her ambitious story is aspiring for any up and coming DJ or industry contributor. Therefore, we are super honoured to be able to chat with Charlie and discuss her passion, music, and how she became such an inspiration to DJs all around the world. Read along with us below and discover the story of how House Queen Charlie Hedges persistence and dedication is one that aspiring DJs, and females DJs, can look up to.
MCOT: How do you take your tea?
Charlie Hedges: Strong and with two sugars, but I tell everyone else one, I’m one of those that sneaks back into the kitchen and adds a few more scoops of sugar in quietly to avoid the ‘HOW MANY SUGGAAARRSSS’ remarks hehe
MCOT: Who is Charlie Hedges?
Charlie Hedges: I am a 5ft DJ who loves house music!
MCOT: Can you share with us the story of how you got your first journalist gig at the age of 13? We hear that you used to ring up publicists on your lunch beaks?!
“Before I knew it was interviewing some great people who were kind enough to give a 13 year old a chance, my interviews were getting published in the magazine and one of the guest interviews was with a Kiss DJ at the time”
Charlie Hedges: Of course I can… So, aged 13 I applied to be a freelance journalist/assistant for a local magazine called Naked Tongue in Essex, they gave me the job simply for the cheek of asking as it was a magazine aimed at over 25s. In my school lunch breaks I’d then make lists of celebrities I’d ideally like to interview and then I’d track down their PAs online (I always remember my form tutor at Brittons School in Rainham Essex, Mrs Roots, always letting me use her room to make phone calls) – I still keep in touch with her now actually which is nice. I’d then call the PAs and agents asking for interviews with their clients. Before I knew it was interviewing some great people who were kind enough to give a 13 year old a chance, my interviews were getting published in the magazine and one of the guest interviews was with a Kiss DJ at the time – from there I kept in touch with the DJs and did work experience at the station until I had just started Uni and was offered a job as a tea-maker / runner. It’s been a crazy few years really but this was the start of everything really.
MCOT: What motivated you at such a young age to get your foot in the industry?
Charlie Hedges: It was and always has been encouragement from my family – honestly my family are the most encouraging people and always have been, as well as my good friends too. My mum and dad always had music on when I was younger, we very rarely had the TV on – it was always music and that’s my earliest memory and why I think I was born to work in this industry. I also remember listening to a radio station when I was about 7/8 and saying to my mum what their job was, and from that day onwards that’s what I wanted to do
MCOT: Name your top three artists and why.
Charlie Hedges: Don Diablo – I love his style and he’s made some amazing original tracks and remixed some great ones too. Franky Rizardo for the same as the above really. Tough Love as they’re really nice guys who are also doing some incredible things within the industry – I think they’re going to have a great year this year
“Once I’d been working in radio for about a year; I spent a year or so learning to DJ and staying behind in my spare time and learning to mix until the point a friend of mine who used to run nights said to me ‘come on you have to get out and play your first set’, I was so nervous but it’s the best thing I ever did. In some ways one of the best days of my life as it gave me the encouragement to keep going and believe in myself.”
MCOT: You are one of the industry’s most hard-working and dedicated contributors – what has been your biggest learning curve thus far?
Charlie Hedges: My biggest learning curve without a doubt is to not doubt yourself. Being a DJ and also working in radio probably gives the impression of always being confident in what I do but the truth of it is, if you catch me off-guard, I’m still the girl that used to go red at school every time someone looked at me or asked me a question, I’ve just learnt to keep the shyness in but inside I’m sometimes bricking it!
MCOT: At what point in your career did you know you were ready to shift gears and start to DJ?
Charlie Hedges: Once I’d been working in radio for about a year; I spent a year or so learning to DJ and staying behind in my spare time and learning to mix until the point a friend of mine who used to run nights said to me ‘come on you have to get out and play your first set’, I was so nervous but it’s the best thing I ever did. In some ways one of the best days of my life as it gave me the encouragement to keep going and believe in myself.
MCOT: If you could b2b with any artist(s) – dead or alive – who would it be and why?
Charlie Hedges: Probably Sander Van Doorn, he’s been a huge influence on me and I spoke with him recently for my monthly Siddle podcast, he’s a very nice guy too and I’m sure a B2B would be quite an interesting set.
“My biggest learning curve without a doubt is to not doubt yourself. Being a DJ and also working in radio probably gives the impression of always being confident in what I do but the truth of it is, if you catch me off-guard, I’m still the girl that used to go red at school every time someone looked at me or asked me a question, I’ve just learnt to keep the shyness in but inside I’m sometimes bricking it!”
MCOT: Describe your sound using only metaphors.
Charlie Hedges: It’s the only language that everybody understands… house music
MCOT: For those who may not have heard it, what is the Skiddle Weekend Matter podcast?
Charlie Hedges: It’s a monthly podcast packed to the brim with the kind of deep house music that you can expect to hear at any Charlie Hedges gig. From brand new music to a classic track chosen by a different artist every time, I also chat to upcoming and established DJs and producers like Max Chapman, and we have a special 30 minute guest mix at the end of every show to go alongside my hour mix. It’s all about the music and all about you guys listening
MCOT: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming full UK tour?
Charlie Hedges: I certainly can, it’s my #CharlieSays Tour, 16 dates around the UK packed with house music, lots of fun and a few surprises along the way too…mind your heads is all I’ll say.
MCOT: What is the Charlie Hedges Presents podcast all about, and where can listeners hear it?
Charlie Hedges: The Charlie Hedges Presents Podcast became my Skiddle podcast, but I continue to record a monthly CHP mix for British Airways. These are featured on the in-flight entertainment of every BA flight worldwide – the perfect soundtrack for your next holiday!
MCOT: Can you tell us a hint or two about your upcoming releases to be announced later this year?
Charlie Hedges: Of course I can for you guys – I’ve just had a track signed to Armada Deep, I’m so excited to finally get it out there. I’m really proud of the track and it has a great vocal on it too. I have more tracks that I’ve been working on behind the scenes but that’s all I can say right now. I hope you like the new track though, you’ll have to let me know when you hear it 😀
MCOT: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Charlie Hedges: How hard it is to see over some DJ boxes at my height haha, that’s why you’ll always see me in comfy jeans and a top DJing – but I’ll always some a pair of ankle boots or heels on…just in case I can’t quite reach those faders
MCOT: What advice do you have for young aspiring artists and female Djs?
Charlie Hedges: Write a list of everything you want to achieve in your career, however silly or big they seem, nothing is ever silly! And then enjoy ticking them all off as you complete them. If you believe in yourself, trust me – you’ll do well, and remember that when someone says ‘no’ it’s actually a positive… Maybe you’re not meant to work with that person or be around that team of people. Most of all, enjoy it! It’s an amazingly fun career so never forget why you wanted to be a DJ in the first place and enjoy every single minute of it
MCOT: What would you like to accomplish within the next 3-5 years?
Charlie Hedges: Charlie Hedges: I’d like to do another DJ tour around the UK and then take it across the globe! Maybe a few hit records along the way to then play to you guys at some amazing festivals around the world. I did say that I like to aim big!