In 2017, the media landscape means anyone with passion, drive and a LOT of dedication, can make a living doing what they love. Whether that’s designing, creating, documenting, or, presenting.
AJ Odudu and James Hill are two super cool “millennials” that are doing just that. AJ, has just recently worked with Adidas, L’oreal and Women’s Health. James meanwhile, you’ll find on Capital FM, and hosting his own YouTube channel with seven million plus views.
They both are presenters on 4Music’s ‘Trending Live’, one of the only modern day TV shows dedicated to new music. And, it’s a pretty awesome gig for them both. When we ask them about the experience, they both respond with similar sentiments “it’s a dream gig. We get paid to have fun with our mates.”
But it’s not all plain sailing though on ‘Trending Live’ as AJ recalls “my boob fell out live on television, and I turned towards the camera in a way that made it look intentional, I sort of presented it. The whole boob as well, not just the nip!” She then goes on to explain the fits of laughter her and James often find themselves in on the show.
And then there’s the superstars that they both have the pleasure of speaking to on TL, all with their own memorable… moments “It’s nice when you’ve interviewed celebs before, even sometimes years ago, and they at least lie to you and tell you they remember you. Tinie Tempah does that, Jason Derulo does that. Tell ya who doesn’t do that – Dizzee Rascal, I remember telling him that he was my school crush, and his reaction was to pat me on the knee. I was pitied by Dizzee Rascal.”
It’s worth noting that whilst chatting to them both, there is a very sincere friendship on display. You’d almost be fooled into thinking they were childhood friends, but in fact, the two of them met at a BBC show just a few years ago, whilst they were both at Uni. “I’d been doing YouTube for about five years,” James recalls. “Then a producer spotted me, asked me to come down to London to audition to be in a TV show. That show was BBC Switch – and it was where I met AJ for the first time. It was my first taste of TV and film making on a professional level. I’m from Birmingham originally, a working class little village. I didn’t know how you got into TV, or how to become a presenter. It was a real eye opener coming down here and having that experience, and that made me think ‘oh, I wanna do this’.”
James continued, sharing how 4Music was the start of his commitment to presenting – “When I first moved down to London I got a job as a researcher in TV. Things gradually started to pick up, it was only when I got 4Music a couple of years ago that I properly felt like I could commit to this and I was making a comfortable living from it. Up to that point I’d get paid, but I didn’t feel like I had any security. It really was a dream cos I grew up watching the station, it was one of the channels I’d always wanted to work for. It’s always nice when you set yourself a goal and you reach it.”
AJ also shared similar sentiments when it comes to the struggle of security, and working your way up “Instead of big breaks you just get lots of little breaks. I remember my first ever job was at the BBC working on the 5:19 show. That was something I did on the side whilst at uni, and on the first day I was a runner – I painted the studio, I did lots of like menial tasks, and eventually became the presenter of that show. At the time I was living on my mates bedroom floor in her student digs. And I had this bar job – I remember my mum saying “do you have to quit your bar job then?” and I remember saying “yeah… I think I do.”
In between career-based questioning, we speak about our shared love of music. AJ shares one of the more entertaining anecdotes “One of my most vivid memories of music is pass the parcel – my 7th birthday, and usually it’s like Steps or the Spice Girls etc. I remember it being General Levy – Jungle is Massive, and that was our pass the parcel track. None of these kids have ever heard of it, and I was like “what, you don’t know General Levy?”
And, on top of educating the seven year olds of Blackburn about jungle, she has some final inspiring words for those in the creative industries “Have loads of patience, loads of resilience, and loads of confidence in yourself. You will do it. Especially if you’ve have a little taster of it – you know you can”
Trending Live airs Monday – Thursday, 4-6pm, on 4Music.
Words and images by Sam Nahirny
AJ’s Twitter – twitter.com/AJOdudu
James’ Twitter – twitter.com/hi_jimmy
Words by Sam Nahirny