Rozz on Being a DJ

You’ve probably heard her on the radio or seen her face (and luscious locks) plastered on the side of a bus. We talk to 987FM DJ Rozz about being on air, radio voices and the time she won Ms Teen Singapore (yes, she really did).

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When I first walk into the 987FM studio at Caldecott Broadcast Centre, Rozz is on air talking about how Korean thriller Oldboy shouldn’t be remade into a Hollywood version (“I don’t care if it’s Josh Brolin or not,” she says indignantly.)

Perhaps that’s what makes Rozz so memorable as a DJ – if she’s got a take on things, she’s not afraid to share it.

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What do you think makes a good DJ (besides having a good voice, obviously)?

Having an opinion. Everyone has access to the same websites and news. I can tell the same Miley Cyrus story about her twerking, but having a different take on it will make me refreshing.

Your show, The Rude Awakening is on from 6am – 10am. Are you a morning person?

I wouldn’t say I’m an any kind of person, but anyone would find it hard to get up before the sun is up. Except old people…they somehow need very little sleep. Right? They’ll get up to do taichi and go to the market and all that. That being said though, I don’t drink much caffeine because it’s a short term goal. I just need to ease myself into my day.

How do you plan for your show?

It’s sort of like a magazine, where there are different segments, like celebrity birthdays, things that happened in history and facts of the day. I have tabs for different websites where I can get this info from, so it’s pretty easy.

Who’s the coolest celeb you’ve ever interviewed?

Katy Perry, she’s awesome. I had a list of questions I wanted to ask her but I didn’t have to use them in the end. She actually came down to our studio and started the ball rolling by asking about us, the interviewers, instead! It was just like chatting with a friend.

And the worst?

Well I wouldn’t say worst, but Gene Simmons from Kiss was pretty intimidating. He was physically intimidating, all six feet of him. I asked him whether appearing on American Idol was his way of reconnecting with younger fans and he was all defensive and said, ‘Young lady, you gotta read up a little. We’ve never disappeared, we’re not has-beens.’ I was pretty scared at that point in time.

Let’s play a game of Shoot, Shag, Marry – DJ edition. These are your options: Ryan Seacrest, Howard Stern, Justin Ang (The Muttons)

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Shoot Justin lah, obviously! I wouldn’t shag or marry him. I don’t actually want to shoot him, but this leaves me with no choice. I’d marry Ryan Seacrest because he looks pretty put together and shag Howard Stern.

Howard Stern? Really? This guy with the shaggy hair?!

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I would, I’m such a big fan of his! He manages to tread very cautiously on that line between being rude and respectful at the same time. Have you seen him host the Smallest Penis Contest? You have to see it, I’ll send you the link.

(Ed’s note: I went back to the office later to see an email from Rozz, titled ‘PENIS’ and it was indeed a gloriously entertaining video.)

Have you ever said something on air without realising you’re still on air?

Omg yes…yes. The standout time was probably when I first started in radio and I was so pissed off at the dry cleaner because they lost my stuff. I was scolding her on the phone and I realised my mic was on when people started sending messages in, asking what was up with my dry cleaner.

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Did you always know you wanted to be a DJ?

Actually, it was something I kind of fell into. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer, and I joined the army.

A dancer? In the army? Really?

Yah, Singapore Armed Forces Music & Drama Company. No, we didn’t need combat boots and helmets, although we did wear them as costumes sometimes.

So how did you get into radio?

When I decided that I had enough of dancing, I wanted to quit and do something else but I didn’t know what. My General Manager at the time also happened to sit on the committee for SAFRA Radio, so she asked me to go over and she would train me from scratch. I learnt the ropes at Power 98 FM for two years and then went over to 987FM.

As a DJ, you probably have to listen to yourself quite often. Do you like the sound of your own voice?

It was weird in the beginning. When I first started, I had to pre-record my shows before I was allowed live on air. I would record it over and over again because I couldn’t stand the sound of my voice. I took like, two hours to record a one hour show.

So are you used to your own voice now?

Yes, I kind of like it now. Actually, I like it a lot!

Who do you think has the best radio voice?

My favourite is Yasminne Cheng from Class95FM. It’s very neutral and pleasant. She can say nonsense or incoherent things and I’d still listen to her. That’s how good she is.

Any advice for aspiring DJs?

To be honest, it’s a very tight industry. To get a foot in, you have to really take the initiative to get yourself noticed. It’s not as simple as flipping the newspaper and applying via HR. It’s good to get to know who the bosses are. Do up a voice sample of you reading the news or giving an opinion piece on entertainment news and send that in.

OK enough about DJ-ing for now. Sooo…tell us about the time you were Ms Teen Singapore.

I was 16 and was quite a serial pageant whore then. I don’t know why I needed that sort of validation, but it started with Ms Teen Singapore. My mum took it very seriously and she was out there with me buying dresses for my semi-finals and finals. The only downside was that I wasn’t allowed to represent Singapore in the finals in Costa Rica because it was my O-Levels year.

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And we hear you sang at the recent President’s Star Charity on TV.

Ermmm I think the word ‘sang’ was used very loosely. We all contributed as a group for the President’s Star Charity. I was invited to be part of The Final 1 group because I had the contestants come on my radio show. But…The Final 1 group was made up of singers that were freaking amazing. When the producers asked me to come on the show, I thought I was just going to do the percussion part, but turns out I had to do the percussion part and sing. I sang one verse. Thank goodness it turned out well. I don’t know how much Auto-Tune they used (or if at all), but it sounded like me.

And finally, how does it feel to see your face on the side of a bus for the SILKPRO Campaign?

It feels damn awesome. I gotta say though, I think the endorsement did more good for me than the brand. They were really supportive for the last two campaigns and they believe in old school advertising like billboards and buses, so that was great for me. It was the first endorsement I’ve ever gotten.

For more of Rozz, catch her on The Rude Awakening from 6am – 10am on 987FM, or follow her on Instagram (@heyrozz).

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