As the online face of one of the biggest shows on UK television, there’s little doubt that you’re already familiar with presenter Becca Dudley – but do you know her back story?
A graduate of London College of Fashion, Becca was initially a model and stylist before a chance audition led to her becoming the presenter of X Factor spin-off ‘Xtra Bites’ and the host of all things X Factor on social media. If reality TV’s not your thing, you’re just as likely to recognise her from regular gigs over at iconic music channel MTV, as a world-class DJ, or as an ambassador for the Staying Alive Foundation.
During a rare five minute break in her jam-packed schedule we were lucky enough to sit down with Becca to discuss why she’s always got a kind word for the Little Mix Girls, being a true dancehall stan, and her new music platform DEADLY.
Whilst you now work as a presenter, you started out as a stylist and model. What prompted the career change?
My modelling agency sent me to a screen test for MTV – I didn’t have any experience so I didn’t think I’d get it, but turns out they wanted a fresh face and the audition went really well! I remember being so nervous switching career and leaving my styling jobs, but it was the best decision I ever made.
You’re known to many for your work on Xtra Bites, which makes you a bit of an X Factor expert. Who’s your favourite winner of the show thus far?
It’s got to be Little Mix. I love that they represent strong sassy females, they’ve become so huge and they always have mad catchy tunes. And I also rate that they haven’t changed over the years – they always come and say hey to me and are dreamy to interview!
You’re also an accomplished DJ: what are your go-to tracks at the moment?
My go to tracks right now are J Hus – Did You See, Konshens – Bruk off ya Back, B Young – 079me – tracks that get you feeling ready to whine up!
You’re an ambassador for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation: would you care to talk more about this role?
Back in 2011 I spent a lot of time in Kenya working with HIV/AIDS positive women and children, so when I started at MTV the following year and saw the amazing work the MTV Staying Alive Foundation were doing, I had to get involved straight away! 5 years on my role includes anything from hosting events and panels, doing interviews, to jumping out of a plane in Australia to raise money for them! They fund grass roots organisations run by young people working to prevent HIV and AIDs and have made such an impact, it really is incredible.
As someone who’s a quarter Jamaican, you have previously discussed your particular interest in reggae and dancehall. Given that British Afro-Caribbean people and other people of Caribbean heritage make up a substantial portion of the UK population, do you think that Caribbean music is still underrepresented in mainstream British culture?
I think that’s a really bigquestion – I actually wrote a long article on this for a magazine not too long ago. I think it’s great to see so many mainstream (and underground) tracks doing well that are influenced by the Caribbean, however most mainstream music for the masses is influenced by genres, but then watered down into what is essentially pop music. We see this with grime, reggae, dancehall, jungle – everything is diluted in mainstream music now. So I don’t think we need to look at the mainstream (although I strongly feel more artists/producers should be showing Caribbean artists credit where it’s due), we just appreciate the rich sounds of our music in the communities of people who love it – and I think reggae is having a great moment. There’s so many exciting artists emerging – Chronixx and Protoje sold out a 10,000 capacity show at Alexandra Palace this month – so the future is bright!
You explore your interest in reggae and dancehall in your new music platform DEADLY. Would you care to talk more about the platform? What prompted you to set it up?
I’ve always held reggae music very close to my heart as I was bought up on the sounds of Jamaica. I wanted to start DEADLY because I noticed there aren’t really any video platforms for reggae and dancehall music, and I think the music and culture is so beautiful and vibrant that it needs to be championed and displayed with the stunning visuals that it deserves. I also wanted to use my foot in the door of the commercial world to try to spread the music to wider audiences. So it’s a place people can go to to watch live sessions, documentaries and interviews with their favourite artists, but also discover the most exciting new acts around.
In your opinion, who are the most exiting upcoming reggae and dancehall artists at the moment?
I’m so excited about Koffee – she’s a 17 year old from Spanish Town, Jamaica (same place as Chronixx) and has crazy flow! She’s really starting to bubble so I’m expecting big things from her. Whilst we were in Jamaica this year we shot with some incredible young artists who are really redefining what Jamaican music really is – people like Tessellated, Leno Banton and Blvk H3ro are all fusing together so many different sounds and creating something fresh and unique. They’re all on the DEADLY Youtube channel and their sessions are amazing.
Finally, what have you got planned for the rest of the year?
I have my usual jobs with MTV and Beats 1, the X Factor Final is fast approaching and then it’s christmas time! I’ll be heading out to Jamaica again to get some more content for DEADLY, ahead of a very exciting year!
You can check out Dudley’s work with DEADLY by clicking on the link here