Who is Catherine Grenfell you ask? Well, she’s one of the coolest ladies on radio right now! Maybe you recognise her for being a part of the weekday Fresh Drive show or for her own radio show (Live)5 on Saturdays. Cath’s got it all; style and attitude! Everyone wants to know what makes this ultra cool woman who she is so I decided to do just that. She tells us about Djing with her husband to her behind-the-scenes work at The Fresh Drive Show.
What is your most earliest memory of music?
My mom started teaching me to play the piano when I was four and I continued to play and even took it as a subject at school. My dad took me to my first concert when I was about ten [to] Mango Groove at the Standard Bank Arena – I was blown away.
Had entering the entertainment/music industry always been something you had wanted to do or did you envision other plans for yourself?
I had thought about doing so many things while I was at school, being a vet, nurse, interior designer etc. When I was in Matric, a couple of us got to go to the Grahamstown Festival and we did classes in stage make-up and set design and theatre became my life. I then studied Theatre Technology and specialised in sound, lighting and stage management. I went on to work as a technical manager at a theatre and then in the operations department at the Dome. I then moved on to work as an events and production manager. I eventually had enough of the corporate industry and managed to get a job as Mark Gillman’s PA and then started doing the show’s production work and eventually landed up on air.
I was extremely passionate about South African music and saw a gap at 5FM in helping promote up and coming bands.
When did you know that this was IT? That you had finally realized that this [music] was meant for you?
When I started at 5FM. I had always loved music and bought CDs, and went to watch live bands, so being able to do what I loved and get paid for it, was a dream come true.
For those living under a rock, tell us about what you do at 5FM? You’re a radio host and a producer, right?
I produce and do the traffic on The Fresh Drive and have my own show (Live)5, which promotes live bands and DJs.
You’re known for your show (Live)5 – how would you describe the energy and just the show in general?
The show is really unique, in the fact that not only do the bands have to play to a live studio audience, they are also playing to all the thousands of audience listening on the radio. It is also such a unique experience for the studio audience, as they get to see their favourite band, up close and personal.
The energy is amazing, because there is an extra element of slight nervousness from the band as they are playing live on radio and the studio audience always have a great vibe about them.
What sets it apart from other radio shows?
None of the other shows, give bands and DJs an hour each to play live on radio. And the bands don’t have to be play-listed on 5FM and the DJs can play whatever music they want.
What is your involvement with The Fresh Drive show?
In terms of production, I do a prep sheet, make sure that the show runs smoothly, that competitions are done, organise interviews, liaise with our audience, I make sure that our features are organised and that everything relating to the show is loaded on the website. I also liaise with all the management departments about things that need to happen on the show.
We also have meetings about how to improve the show, with different features, skit ideas etc.
I also read the traffic and join in all the topic discussions.
What is it like with the team on The Fresh Drive?
The team is awesome, we actually all like each other, which is a huge bonus and also comes across on air.
We have loads of fun both on and off the show and don’t take ourselves seriously, which is extremely important.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up at 06h00 and get my kids ready for school, after I have dropped them, I come home and have a cup of coffee and relax for a few minutes. I then try and go to gym and yoga. I also have loads of demo’s that I get, so I try to listen to them, so I can give feedback to bands. I often have meetings about different bands, and shows that are coming up. I get to work between 13h30 and 14h00. I do the prep sheet, discuss competitions or interviews with [DJ] Fresh and then start going through mounds of e-mails and answering everyone’s questions. I also have to organise my (Live)5 show’s schedules.
What are two things that people would be surprised to know about you?
I am actually quite a sensitive person, even though I come across as quite opinionated. I used to have a Bon Jovi CD and know all the words to their classic songs.
What is it like to have your husband a part of the DJ industry, too?
It’s awesome. He has taught me to dj, and helps me constantly. We are a real support to each other and I love DJ’ing with him.
How would you describe the choice of music you decide to mix and is there anything specific that you like to play?
My favourite music to play is hard rock and indie. I played at The Doors a little while ago and it was a dream come true. When I am DJ’ing commercial music, I try and read the crowd, but love to throw in a dub-step track here and there.
Have you had any embarrassing moments on-air or whilst playing a set?
I think that’s what makes The Fresh Drive so awesome is that we constantly embarrass ourselves, whether it’s doing skits or just talking rubbish. We’re real people and our audience can relate to that. In terms of DJ’ing, I get embarrassed when I don’t mix a track properly and it sounds all over the place.
Have you had any crazy or funny fan/listener requests?
Not really, Fresh gets most of them, mainly needing money to pay for their furniture etc.
Finally, a message to your fans and one sentence as to WHY we should tune in to your show?
Thanks for supporting live music and keep doing it, and never be afraid to voice your opinion. Be tolerant of other people and their beliefs.
You need to listen to my show, so you can experience, live talented musicians and DJ’s.
December 15, 2015