By Ninder Kaur
The BBC Asian Network recently announced four new names joining its presenting line-up from November. Joining them is 25-year-old Harpz Kaur from Huddersfield.
We caught up with the female DJ / rising star of BBC Asian Network to find out more.
Tell us a bit about your journey?
My journey started as a child. I was always either dancing, singing, or in front of the camera. Anywhere
where there was music, there was me. I think I always had it in me, but it took me a while to discover that’s what I was born to do. During my University years, I was surrounded by so many friends that were DJs or on the music scene and it made me want to know more about it. So I decided to shadow them for a bit at gigs and shows and took it from there really. I didn’t realize how niche the market was for female DJs until I began to learn. It’s now become not just a hobby but part of who I am.
Have you faced any challenges?
Of course. I think my biggest challenge was literally stating the obvious, being an Asian Female in the industry. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, one being that a degree in Media is far less superior to that of a law degree or a pharmacy degree. We all have our own paths in life and it doesn’t make us any higher or lower than the other. Being an Asian female within this industry has always been a little difficult. So as far as jobs and careers go, I believe everybody’s profession has a journey and if you want to break barriers, you can, nobody can stop you!
Who is your inspiration?
Sonia Deol is by far one of the most inspiring individuals for me. I’ve grown up watching her on TV and listening to her on the radio. My mum would watch her interviews with people like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and I used to say to my mum, one day I’m going to be sat in that seat.. DJ Kayper is someone I also aspire to be like. She is probably the only Asian female dominating the DJ scene for the girls out there and it’s so exciting to see. I hope one day I can make a name for myself just like she has.
What genre of music do you like?
Anything and everything! I think that’s what most people get shocked by when they get to know me. Most tend to relate me with the Asian scene because of my radio shows but in reality I’m far from it. I’ve grown up listening to RnB and Hip Hop. That was my first love for music. I love Garage, House, Dance, Reggae you name it! I am so diverse when it comes to music, which probably reflects in some of the mixtapes I’ve put out.
You have regular slots on Fever FM and All Star FM, how has that been?
My radio shows have made me into the person I am today. Radio is my life. I started off at Fever FM during my work experience, which led to a permanent slot. Over the years I’ve gained more and more skills and ended up broadcasting three shows a week. Last summer I got the opportunity to go on board with All Star FM to host a weekly Urban show. It was one of the most exciting platforms for me as it allowed me to showcase more of the music I love. Being the only Asian female on there alongside some of Leeds top DJs was truly an amazing experience.
How does it feel to have your own show on BBC Asian Network?
Surreal. I can’t put into words how much it means to me. I have had this dream since I was young. I used to tell people all the time, watch me – one day I’m going to be on that mic, I’m going to be on that station, I’ll be running my own show. And here it is!
To be honest it happened in the most unexpected way ever. They happened to hear one of my shows on Fever, they got in touch with me and that was it. It literally all kicked off from there. I think the reason behind my proudness is that all those years of hard work and trying to build a name for myself has paid off. That recognition has come with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It’s not been easy. The day the announcement was made I was in Morocco and I had the worst Wi-Fi connection ever. When I was told it was a feeling I can’t describe.
How are you preparing for your show?
Right now I’m still trying to take it in to be honest. It’s just something I can’t believe is actually happening. I have so many ideas I want to put across, but obviously I can’t tell you too much right now. You’ll have to make sure you tune in every Sunday to hear what it’s all about!
What are you looking forward to?
Everything. I can’t wait to sit in that studio and do what I believe I do best! It’s the start of a new beginning.
What can people expect?
Lot’s of banter and great music. It’s what I’m all about. I don’t want to change for anything or anyone; it’s just going to be me. What you hear is what you get!
Why do you think that there are so little Asians in the mainstream media?
I believe we lack Asians within mainstream in particular Asian females because they’re too scared to come forward. They’re too worried about the lack of support they are going to have. Build up the courage to show the world anything is possible. Just because you’re a girl does not mean you can’t be successful. We need more Asians to prove people wrong! We’re not just Doctors and Lawyers! We can be creative too.
What advice would you give to people?
I’ve seen a lot in life and I’ve also seen people being forced to do things they don’t want to do. No dream is too big. And always, always, ALWAYS be you. Remain original. And never let anybody put you down. Just like my dad once told me, “You just do your part and never burn bridges, they will need you someday”.
Things we don’t know about Harpz:
Favourite Food: Italian
Favourite holiday destination: Florida
Favourite film: Law Abiding Citizen
Favourite place in Yorkshire: The HUD! Only because it’s my hometown.
What profession you wanted to go into as a kid? Always wanted to be in the Arts. And here I am.
Favourite singer: Usher- I went through a phase on Facebook of changing my name to Harpreet Raymond.
Star struck moment- When I met Shilpa Shetty in Westfield about 7/8 years ago.
Harpz Kaur’s new show will be broadcast on Sunday mornings, 6-10am.