DANG: In this day and age, most OAPs try to blend in and few end up with mixed / fake accents. As the director of programs for Beat FM, what makes a great OAP? Content, accent, voice?
Toolz: I think what makes a great OAP is their ability to relate to and engage their audience. The most important thing is to know your audience and make sure you give them what they want. Have your own identity, know your music and know what makes you different. I have an accent because I spent my formative years in the UK, but I don’t believe you need to have an accent to be a great OAP. In my opinion, it’s always better to speak properly than to have an accent.
DANG: The Media moves with trends to stay relevant, evolving is inescapable. As one of the leading OAP/TV host in this part of the world, how have you managed to incorporate the ever-changing trends?
Toolz: I’ve been lucky to have some amazing opportunities come my way, but I’ve also realized the importance of deliberately building a brand. Know and maximize your strengths. Also, know and maximize on current trends. In this day and age, you have to make sure you have exposure on all or most trending platforms. Social media is massive now, so as someone that’s in the media/entertainment industry, even if I’m not a fan of social media I need to make sure my brand is visible there.
DANG: As the Director of programs/decision maker, how well do women support each other in the entertainment industry?
Toolz: The entertainment industry is still very male-dominated, which is a big shame, but it is gradually changing. Women definitely support each other, but I find that we are often pitted against each other. With regards to artists, for example, it’s almost like there’s an unwritten rule that there can only be one successful female artist at a time which is ridiculous. There’s room for plenty.
DANG: What is your work ethic?
Toolz: Get the job done by any (legal) means necessary! I hate excuses, and I hate being in the position where I have to make excuses.
DANG: What makes ‘Toolz’ Toolz?
Toolz: I try to be unapologetically true to myself. I have moments when I want to be silly, I have moments when I prefer being sophisticated. It’s important to me to go with whichever emotion I’m feeling at that point and to not let anyone dictate that part of my life to me.
DANG: What most people see is the glamorous life of every OAP. What piece of advice would you give undergraduates / fresh graduates out there who crave for a career on the radio?
Toolz: The glamorous side is perhaps 10% of it. I tell graduates/interns to be prepared to be fully committed to the job, even when it’s not fun. I’ve been at Beat FM for almost 10 years now, and I’ve only had 2 Christmas days off… because they fell on weekends.
DANG: What would you say are the top 3 skills required of an all-around entertainer?
Toolz: – Knowing and mastering your craft
– knowing your audience
– Knowing how and when to reinvent yourself
DANG: Through trying times personally and work-wise, what has kept you grounded?
Toolz: God, family, and friends. Last year was particularly trying for me, and I’m thankful for my relationship with God, and I’m also so incredibly grateful for the support network of family and friends that I have around me