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Womxn In Bass with Ellie Sabine-Singh – Carly Wilford

Posted 20/2/19 in

Pioneering brand new tastemaker radio platform SISTER, Carly Wilford has become a trusted voice for the underground. A ground-breaking Presenter & DJ, she takes the artists she believes in and broadcasts their music to the world. Strongly connecting both the US and UK music scenes, her roots within the UK scene have helped to bring through so many of the artists on today’s airwaves.

Not only is she a global tastemaker but a forward-thinking A&R. Her confidence to take risks on artists from a very early stage has seen her build bonds with the likes of Sam Smith, Rudimental and Skrillex who have all spoken publicly about her unrivalled support. Having interviewed the likes of Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Annie Mac, A$AP Rocky, Zane Lowe, Alison Wonderland & J Cole and with recent guest mixes on BBC 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network her honesty and foresight helps to shape the music industry of tomorrow.

Her natural energy and lust for life shines through in her interviews. With millions of views across her YouTube videos you can see why the music industry is talking about her and why she is on speed dial for artists, manager’s, PR’s and key media figures within the industry. Seen backstage at some of the World’s biggest festivals she has she has interviewed the likes of Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Eve and Usher to name but a few. As well as covering Glastonbury, SXSW, Ultra, Snowbombing, Sonar, EXIT Festival, V Festival, Wireless, BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend and Secret Garden Party. Hunting out the hottest artists, chatting to the crowds and dominating the press pit, on the Red Carpet she has presented at the MOBOS for sponsors HTC, The Brit Awards for VEVO and The EMA’s, The BAFTA’s and The Fashion Awards for Snapchat.

Carly is at the forefront of everything music related – from new artists to secret collaborations, if you need to know about it, she has already got it covered. She films, edits, produces and presents her own work as well as having written for Hunger Magazine, Wonderland & Huffington Post. With big aspirations and infinite drive, she is one to watch very closely. No ear piece, no ‘note cards’ and none of the fake attributes the industry is often full of – just raw ambition and real talent.”

What I love the most about A&R is… “

Discovering the next wave of artists and being able to back the musicians I really believe in before the world knows about them. Getting to understand what is behind an artist and their music before they have any followers or traction online means that you get to the core of the music and the person behind it. It’s a very pure and special connection, especially when you can feel when an artist is here to take on the world.”

When working with superstars like Sam Smith and Zane Lowe I…

Felt very humbled. I remember hearing Sam Smith on Disclosure’s ‘Latch’ for the first time, their sound was so unique and fresh, and Sam’s voice really cut through so much of what was out at the time. He’s a superstar and really gone on to make such a mark on our generation. Zane Lowe has done just the same. I always admired him when he was on BBC Radio 1 and used to lock into his show a lot because I loved the diversity of the music he played, his connection with the artists and his depth of knowledge too. When I got to interview him, he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since, “You don’t have to choose your lane, you can build your own highway”

it really sums up how the internet has thrown open the doors of opportunity. Little did I know that after that interview he would go on to set up Beats 1.

When I wake up I…

Check my emails, grab a coffee and get straight to work. I connect a lot with America so when I am asleep, they are busy working. I normally wake up to some cool emails, it’s a super exciting way to kick start your day. I also work loads with visualisation and meditation so that always plays a part in my morning. I exercise a lot too and have been learning to play the piano. As I am freelance and my job can be pretty varied, I have created a mini structure to create some kind of normality in my life.

Track I’m currently rinsing is…

“Track I’m currently rinsing is… Serine Karthage ‘Ruler’, it’s such a big tune and she is on to make a big mark on the music world this year. Her sound is really different, and she has raw attitude, the streaming world can dilute that right now so it’s really refreshing.”

Quick plug…

If you haven’t listened to our radio show SISTER, then check it out. We broadcast on FM in the UK, US, Australia, Thailand and Dublin and you can find us on iTunes and Spotify Podcasts too. https://soundcloud.com/itssister

Phrase I seriously over use…

“You smashed it” Haha! We had a rapper on our radio show last night called Yizzy and he did a freestyle and slayed it. As I read this question I was on Instagram and I had just sent him those exact words.

I love what I do because…

I am surrounded by a lot of creative people doing what they love. Not only is that inspiring in itself, it means that you’re around people who are generally pretty happy and focused, that makes you dream bigger.

It wouldn’t have happened without…

Hard work, commitment, resilience, hustle and determination. There can be so many closed doors and things that don’t seem to go your way, but these are the things that help to shape your path.

Biggest struggle in this business is…

Staying strong to what you believe in. I was very vocal both in the press and on panels last year about female representation on line ups and equality in the music business. It wasn’t easy and came with a lot of unexpected kick back. At times I doubted myself because it wasn’t an easy situation to step in to but when I saw essential changes starting to happen and difficult conversations taken further, I knew that it was worth it.

I aspire to be a woman like…

Erykah Badu. She is uniquely her, gracious and unafraid. She speaks from the heart and is comfortable enough in herself to say things that are true to her but might make other people feel uncomfortable. She’s made a massive mark on our culture. In an online world led by ‘likes’ and algorithms, it can be easy to fall in to place by fitting in to make other people feel more at ease. She doesn’t conform, not only musically but socially. She’s an absolute boss.

In the rave you will probably catch me…

At the front in the middle of the mosh pit.

I love creating…

Brands. Every platform that I have started I always love the conception of the idea, brainstorming the aesthetic, finding its tone of voice and creating its visual identity.

My proudest career moment so far was…

Touring with OWSLA with SISTER Collective. I have massive respect for them as a record label and movement and having the opportunity to play the shows that we did across Europe was incredible. Their fans are so welcoming and we shared the stage with some of the bass scenes most respected artists. [Instagram]

The last Instagram account I followed was…

Aliveandstill – I realized that my feed was filled with pictures of trainers on Hypebeast and fashion gossip on Highsnobiety so I decided to create some breathing space with the stuff that really matters.

Most memorable thing that’s ever happened at a set…

I played a gig for The North Face in The Dolomites in Italy at the end of last year. I had a travel nightmare with cancelled flights and a security shutdown at one of the airports. I had no idea if I was ever going to get there but I imagined myself on the decks and that things were going to work out. I somehow got there an hour before I was set to play and it was one of the best gigs of my life. At the end of my set I decided to step down in to the crowd to dance with them and instead they ended up lifting me up and I crowd surfed across the tent. [Instagram]

It was honestly one of the best moments of my life, alongside being woken up at 6am the following morning to go Paragliding. [Instagram]

My favourite producer is…

Peggy Gou. Have you seen the videos of her playing the piano? She’s next level. Not only is her music brilliant, she’s an amazing DJ and inspiration to so many up and coming producers. She is one of the hardest working people in the music industry right now and I love how she collides with the fashion world too. Good things always come to good people and I love watching her journey.

In a dream world…

The world would find more balance, we’d be nicer to each other and more importantly the planet. We are living through crazy times right now and the future is down to us.

Be sure to follow Carly across all social platforms: 

SoundCloud / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Words: Ellie Sabine-Singh

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