Interview Via Zoom
Radio presenter and singer-songwriter

From working in a call centre to landing her own BBC Radio1 show in a matter of months, Victoria Jane is the ultimate Manny grafter and rising star to add to your follow list. Hosting Radio1’s Future Soul show every Sunday, the 23-year-old has interviewed stars from John Legend to Bruno Mars, but her main drive is supporting talent from outside of London. She runs her own interview series, Vic Meets, hosted this year’s Soho House festival and is also a singer, songwriter and producer in her own right. Here Victoria shares advice on breaking into radio and reveals the realities of making music as an independent artist.

How did you first get into radio?

I didn’t study music in school, but I figured a good way into the music industry would be through broadcast journalism. In my second year at Salford Uni, I got involved in the student-run Shock Radio and did as many interviews as I could with anyone that’d have me. I made a show reel and sent it to a few stations in Manchester and Unity Radio asked me to come on board as a presenter. It was here I started meeting people from the Manchester music scene and really making connections. At the time, there wasn’t much of a light on Manchester and we were only really known for Bugzy [Malone], even though the scene was popping. I tried to use my drivetime slot to help up-and-coming artists get coverage on the radio, I think it’s so important that everyone gets the win.

Your first gig at the BBC was with BBC Introducing Manchester, what did that entail?

The show spotlights the best new music coming out of Greater Manchester and it’s such an incredible platform. I applied for the presenter role and Roesh ended up getting it, but they wanted to keep me on board, so created a role for me as team assistant. This was a freelance position and part of my job was running the social media, as well as suggesting tracks for Roesh to play.

Any tips on how artists can increase their chances of being played on the show?

The team select tracks from those submitted, but there are so many sent in that making your profile stand out is crucial. The team will listen, then read your bio, so make sure you write about yourself as it makes it easier to talk about on air.

How did you balance your time during this period?

I worked in a sales call centre all day Monday to Friday to pay the bills, then did my (unpaid) Unity show prep, BBC Introducing work and worked on my own music in the evenings and weekends. It was a huge juggling act and I could only afford to quit my sales job once I joined the BBC fulltime.

Tell us about your journey to landing your own BBC show.

I applied for the BBC Christmas presenting slot covering DJ Target on Boxing Day and, surprisingly to me, I got it. On the day, I focused my show on talent from outside of London, which was a niche I think they liked. The head of Radio1, Aled Jones, asked me about my goals in radio and I told him I believed there was scope for a R&B soul show. He asked for a demo and then I didn’t hear back for months. I got invited to launch Radio1 Relax during the pandemic covering Greg James and shortly after, I got the call to host a new Future Soul Show on Radio1 which was just insane. Now, I pre-record my show every Tuesday at Media City in Salford and the show goes on air on Sunday nights.

What’s the main drive with your show?

Unless you’re of a certain status, many artists don’t really get played on mainstream stations, especially if you’re from outside of London. I love to focus on new music and artists from all over the world and it’s the best feeling when people tell me they’ve discovered artists from my show. The show allows me to push artists I’ve been following for a while, whether they’re from up north or Canada, they might be blowing up where they come from but never usually geting radio plays.

Best advice for breaking into radio presenting?

  1. Find your niche

If you want to be a radio presenter, then you have to bring something different. Figure out what you're about with music and presenting, then stick at it. For example, if you love sport and music, maybe you can find a way to incorporate that into a podcast.

  1. Put yourself out there on social media

Sometimes I go on people’s socials and I can’t see anything to do with their music taste or presenting experience, but it really helps to build your identity as a presenter on there. Treat it sort of like your business card and don’t only have Instagram photos of you with your mates if you want to make your mark.

  1. Go for every opportunity

Whether big or small, any experience is going to make you a better presenter. Even if you don’t land the job, someone could notice you and think of you for another project. I never thought I would get the Radio1 Christmas slot and even submitted the wrong show reel, but I ended getting it, being on DJ Target’s slot and nine months later I got my own show.

  1. Create your own opportunities

Don’t be embarrassed to network and DM people in the industry, you need to bombard people to get a foot in the door. Lots of people don't get to where they want to be because they're too afraid to be message people and put themselves out there. Don’t wait for someone to offer you opportunities on a plate because it probably won’t happen.

  1. Don’t let setbacks hold you back

I thought it might be the end of my presenting dream when I didn’t get the BBC Introducing presenter role, but it turned out it just wasn’t my time yet. You have to keep the faith and realise there is not one route to ‘success’ - you can’t predict when the doors will open.

A 2021 Gender Disparity Data report revealed that only 20% of British artists played on UK radio were female. DJaneMag research shows only 6% of female DJs played at the world’s top clubs. According to a recent BBC study, only one in ten headliners at the UK's top music festivals this summer are women. What’s your experience of the underrepresentation of women in music?

The UK music scene doesn’t do nearly enough to highlight women artists. I think that the men in the industry need to step up and collaborate or support women a lot more. If you ask someone in the urban music scene to name five male artists who’ve recently put women on a track they’d have to sit and think about it. But if you ask them to name five male artists that have put other men on, the list goes on and on. I can’t think of one big male Manchester artist that has featured a woman, and the same goes for supporting them on their Instagram story. I’ve been at gigs in Manchester with loads of Manny artists, and guys will come up to me and say, ‘Ah you’re doing sick with your music Vick, blah, blah,’ but they’ve never once shared my songs on their story, yet they’ll share a guy from London's track that they don't know. Maybe they’d share someone as big as Summer Walker, but what about the women from their hometown who are trying to break through on their own? It's something I can’t get my head around still.

You’re also a singer-songwriter, tell us about your style.

My mum and dad have always been into jazz music, so my sound has been naturally influenced by old soul singers like Etta James. My natural singing style is low soulful vocals but initially I found it hard to find beats or producers that can produce for that, so I made a lot of trap. Recently I’ve embraced my natural soul style more.

How did you first start making music?

My first time in the studio was with Two4kay & Litek, and they opened my eyes about using YouTube to find beats and downloading music software Logic to start making beats myself. Before then, I’d always been so confused about how to find beats and whether buying them online is the right way to go about it with copyright. With YouTube, I would search for beats and then freestyle while recording on my phone voice notes. Then I started making beats myself on Logic, but also started connecting with producers who sent me beats, then I’d write songs to them.

What’s the reality of the cost of music making for independent artists?

It’s hugely expensive to fund making your own music. I’ve turned down every holiday with friends for years to save money, but it’s the sacrifice I chose to make for my work. It can be disheartening when the videos or songs I’ve paid for aren’t getting the amount of streams I’d like, but you have to put in the grind and hope that one video or song blows up. An hour in a standard recording studio might be £40 and the mastering and mixing might cost £150. For music videos, the videographer will be upwards of £500, a director to take on the creative vision might be over £1000, then there’s the styling, plus promotion and radio pluggers – it all adds up. I’ve shot videos on my iPhone with friends before and even though I’d love to be able to just go to studio and make music on the spot, I have everything prepared beforehand.

What’s next?

You can catch my show on BBC Radio1 on Sundays at midnight or on the BBC Sounds app. Plus, I just launched interview series Vic Meets where I chat to my ones-to-watch and share weekly playlists of my favourite new music.


The song you blast for max creativity…

‘Motions’ by Kech Vibes 

Most recently played…

‘I Think I Love You’ by Dwele

The song that get’s you out of a sad mood…

‘Free’ by H.E.R

The song to play while getting ready to go out out…

‘Iced Out Summer’ by Minikingz, Ragz Originale & Benjiflow


What Manchester artists are on your radar right now?

Akemi Fox, [ K S R ], Musumba, Nxdia, Nina Cobham, P1 Caps, The KTNA, Robin Knightz, Mali Hayes