Our next BLUP50 member Liv West is a radio and podcast presenter, producer and music video commissioner, with a roster including artist like Yxng Bane, Tinie Tempah, KAM-BU, S1MBA, Sam Gellaitry, JAY1, The Snuts and more. She’s had a wild ride to get where she is, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
// YOUR WORD FOR 2021
Be kind to yourself and to others. It’s completely free.
// WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN ONLINE/INSTAGRAM /TIKTOK / TWITTER THAT HAS STOPPED YOU SCROLLING?
I mainly use my socials as a way of networking or for activism. I am a big advocate for Human Rights, Mental Health and Wellbeing, so I only really stop scrolling to learn and share that education on my own socials really. Of course, being a commissioner means a good Music Video or content piece always has me engaged! but for me accounts like @jade.likethestone are accounts that I find extremely inspiring and bring a lightness to social media. Another fantastic account I have come across recently is @the_self_hood whom, the founder Daisy, breaks down the barriers around social media and makes URL as appealing as IRL. Both accounts create eye-catching content with honest and helpful intention while all just bringing a bit of light to what can be a daunting place to navigate.
// GIVE US A WHISTLE STOP TOUR OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
Wow, where to start. After studying in the US at 21, I returned with a fire in my belly and a new insight. I felt that I had been putting off what I really wanted to ‘do’ for work out of fear and mainly the unknown. I come from a pretty creative family, but I didn’t necessarily grow up around music so was a bit of a black sheep in that sense, I would just sit in my room and listen to music ALL the time. Even when I was little it would be barbies and a CD playing haha. I never really understood the industry as it wasn’t something that I was exposed to. But one day, I remember it so clearly, I wrote down in my little apartment in San Diego ‘when I go home, I am going to live my dream, I am going to work in the music industry and I am going become a radio presenter’. From that moment, I haven’t looked back. I worked tirelessly for free at radio stations and publications such as Rinse FM, Hoxton Radio and GRM Daily. While breaking into music, I was also working any part job I could find to tide me over, and started working at Never Fully Dressed creating and directing video content for them. I was completely self taught, and actually came on as an intern but would always bring my camera and capture shoots or natural moments in the styling sessions. Within a month I was flying around Europe with the brand making their content which featured on the London Underground. Although it wasn’t in the exact industry I wanted to grow in, it was the best step I took because without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
One day I got a message asking if I was interested in a admin role at Parlophone Records in the video department. I thought, ‘a way in!’. Within 2 weeks, again, my role catapulted, I was sent on my first commissioning job in Ghana with Banx & Ranx and Kojo Funds, directed by the incredible Meji Alabi. From there, it has been FULL steam and I haven’t looked back. Writing this, I am extremely proud because each position I was hired for whether an intern or a junior role, I have made it my own and quite literally transformed these positions into bespoke roles.
//WHAT DOES 24 HOURS IN YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE?
A lot of work, as much family time as possible and a lot of talking to the moon on long walks. My belief system is deeply rooted in the cycle of the moon, but I really believe in the system of manifestation. So I spend a lot of time planning, exploring new techniques and learning new things about the world. I find it incredible that we have the ability to do and be whoever and whatever we want in this world. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a long way to go in my journey of self worth, but knowing that we have it all within us, for us to unlock is pretty exciting. Walking has become a daily routine for me since lockdown and is something I will be continuing.
A lot of family time and cuddles with my dog are also part of my 24 hours if I’m not chilling out with my besties.
// WHAT DO YOU DO TO SWITCH OFF OR CHILL?
I will leave my phone at home, or if I take it, put it on aeroplane mode and go for a long walk in the forest with the dog while listening to a podcast. These usually consist of Mark Groves, Lacy Phillips ‘Expanded’ or Caggie’s ‘Saturn Return’.
// WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR BEST CAREER HIGHLIGHTS?
I think for me was receiving my first plaque for S1MBA ‘Rover’. That project involved blood, sweat and tears, going platinum with some of the colleagues that I consider family was immense. On top of that, just being trusted with some of the biggest UK artists visuals is a genuine highlight and something I will always feel proud of.
That project along with my content commission ‘Spilling the T’ with Tinie Tempah was another big highlight.
We had 2 guests with Romesh Ranganathan and Maro Itoje with others scheduled including Maya Jama and a secret guest! which we had to cut short because it was at the height of COVID (gutted). But this was an amazing moment, coming up with a concept, commissioning the team and creatively producing it down to the finest of detail – check out their personalised cookies!!! Another very proud moment was a recent commission with The Snuts for their track ’Somebody Loves You’ where we decided to donate the video budget to Scottish Refugee Council, we then handed over the reigns to those who have been supported by the charity to see the world through their eyes. I asked all the participants to record a voice note asking them three questions, which ended up being used in the official audio across radio, so hearing one of my idols Annie Mac talk about the project that myself and the band worked so hard to get right work was something that I will always cherish!
Presenting wise, it has to be recently with my podcast ‘It’s Not That Deep’ with my incredibly talented friend Hannah Scherrer. We created a paradoxical podcast that explores the trials and tribulations of being us, we pride ourselves on opening up honest, educated and playful conversations discussing big boy topics with a big spoonful of sarcasm. We have interviewed some incredible guests from Sarah Akwisombe, to Lauren Mahon, to Poppy and Rubina behind BBC Asian Networks huge podcast ‘Brown Girls do it Too’. Seeing something we dreamed of 2 years ago in full force is something that I will always be so grateful for and proud of. Shout out to my girl Hannah (Hammy), Business partner, cheerleader, and my fav Gemini.
// WHAT DO YOU SEE IN YOUR FUTURE?
At this current moment with my anxiety disorder trying to control my life, I would say just happy! Success is relative, and saying that all seems probably ironic after the questions answered above, but truly, I just want to be happy and continue my journey in this lifetime trying to bring change in a world which is, let’s face it – pretty dark and scary.
// IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ONE CREATIVE/BRAND WHO WOULD IT BE?
Adidas is a brand I would love to collaborate with. Ideally, I would really love to do an innovative campaign on Mental Health with a particular high profile brand x INTD.
// WHO IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION?
Genuinely, my mum is my inspiration, but career wise, I look up to many different women from all avenues of life from RTT Therapist Marisa Peer, to Lacy Phillips, to Kathy Burke and of course my leading lady Fearne Cotton. All of those women live authentically to who they are, all of them despite working in different fields bring not only their talent to the table, but their compassion for change.
// YOUR FAVOURITE SONG OF 2021 SO FAR?
God, too many too choose. But instead I’ll give you some fantastic artists to keep your eyes on, Rachel Chinouriri, JVCK JAMES, Berwyn and KAM-BU are the 4 UK artists I am HONESTLY obsessed with. I cannot wait to see where each of them end up, all destined for pure greatness.
// WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY ABOUT YOU AT THE END OF YOUR CAREER?
That she really worked hard with compassion, empathy and skill.
// WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO NEW CREATIVES?
To keep focus on your own plate, rather than what other people are eating. It’s so hard to not compare yourself, or your journey to someone else who is doing the same thing as you, who maybe is moving at a faster pace than you, but that is their journey, their story, their life to live. It’s simple, but that is the best advice I could give someone. If you have the talent and the determination, you can be and do anything you want, but you have to be solely focused on your own path.
// WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU IN YOUR WORLD RIGHT NOW?
For me social injustices is something I am beyond passionate about, and my way of expressing and voicing my opinions on this I guess is through my podcast, It’s Not That Deep that acts as a vessel for hopeful change. So although this is a very personal venture with my friend, we really hope that #INTDP can become a platform in it’s own right working with brands and companies that are willing to strip the old, and build the new. We MUST keep the momentum up, a year on on 26th May is a day that we not only remember George Flloyd, but we recognise the extensive work that still needs to be done regarding white supremacy. White supremacy and Patriarchy are two social diseases I am determined to see dismantled.
// ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MENTION?
Enjoy the ride, because there are many highs and lows, but our strength is what always prevails.