VIDEO & 360 PHOTO: Sheffield's Radio 1 DJ Toddla T spins the word forTramlines
Radio 1 DJ Toddla T has come a long way since his mum used to shout at him to turn the music down in his Sheffield bedroom.
Back then he was plain Thomas Bell, a pupil at King Edward VII School by day and a superstar DJ by night, at least in his dreams.
But the dream came true.
At just 14 he was already DJing in the steel city's clubs and bars and his stage name was given to him by the older Sheffield DJs who inspired him.
Now the 31-year-old is following in the footsteps of broadcasting legends as a BBC Radio 1 DJ.
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His early morning show, also on BBC Radio1Extra - Fridays from 1am - is attracting audiences of over 100,000 and he is regarded as one of the UK's most respected electronic producers and DJs, heavily influenced by music and culture from around the world,
He is now helping to break and inspire new talent himself, with a heavy influence from reggae and dancehall, Sheffield’s electronic scene and the essence of soul and RnB.
Toddla is back at Glastonbury tomorrow (Friday, June 24) but in truth it's just a dress rehearsal for the big one - his return home to host a huge venue takeover at Sheffield o2 Academy at Tramlines. For tickets and full festival details visit www.tramlines.org.uk.
Tramlines, now in its eighth year - July 22 to 24 - is the biggest urban music festival in the UK, set to attract 100,000 people. And Toddla is rightly proud to have helped launch the first one, with pals Jon McClure, of Reverend and the Makers and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.
Toddla, now based in London, with a jet-set lifestyle which sees him flying out to perform gigs from Australia to Barbados, can't wait to spend a night back in his old bed and the room where it all began.
In an exclusive chat at his London Radio 1 studio at BBC's Broadcasting House - see full video here online - he said there's no question which he prefers, Glastonbury or Tramlines?
"Tramlines man. I get to stay at my mum's house, to see all my mates and play in front of Sheffield," said Toddla. It will be a family affair, he's also returning with love of his life Annie Mac, age 37, his BBC Radio 1 colleague, partner and mum of their three-year-old son.
"Glastonbury is an amazing part of my year. But I'm going home to Tramlines, performing with city stars like Coco and I get to stay in my old bed and see my friends. It's a special day for me," added Toddla, who reveals he gets high on 'life, coffee and adrenalin'.
"I have to big up my mum and dad. They were so behind the whole thing. But the room I sleep in now is the same room where I made all my early records, in, where I learned to DJ in. I do have memories of my mum opening the door and telling me to shut up. But that's normal, that's fair enough. But they were patient and considering. Same to my neighbours as well, considering I was banging out all the time."
"Tramlines is my home town, Sheff. I was involved right from the start. When it first started myself, Jon McClure, from Reverend and the Makers, and Matt Helders, from the Arctic Monkeys, helped to create the bands, DJs and acts. We became bookers really for the whole thing.
"I've seen it grow from me doing little events, all the way to last year and this year being such a big thing.
"The thing about Tramlines is it's now so solidified in British festival season - al my booking agents and all the artists know what Tramlines is, which is fantastic. Because the first year people were saying it was a bit of a risk. Now it's certified.
"This year I'm doing an event at the O2 on the Friday night, bigger than when I first started. I'm bringing some of my favourite acts. I'm brining Novelist, who is a grime MC from South London, who is absolutely brilliant. We've got David Rodigan, who is one of my biggest inspirations, a colleague here at the BBC and everyone from my friends who are 18 all the way to my uncles, 50-plus, al love Rodigan - he's that type of act.
"We've got Sticky Blood, which is a production outfit out of Sheffield. They are going to be DJ-ing there and bringing out artists. We have Madame X, a DJ, who found her craft in Manchester and we have Coco from Sheffield, also performing.
"So we will bring in locals and people I have seen and worked with outside of Sheffield who I think are brilliant to the O2 on the Friday of Tramlines and it's going to be a madness.
"Glastonbury is mad. The first time I went I couldn't believe it, when I drove over the hill and saw it. It looks like a city. It's insane. To walk from one end to the other takes hours. That's cool, that's part of the charm and its history. It's priceless.
"But the charm of Tramlines is a testament to the Sheffield people - its warmth, its intimacy and the way you can go check out a band at say Frog and Parrot and then walk down to the Forum, check something out, then go to the O2. It's all accessible and you will definitely stumble across things that you didn't mean to and maybe find new music and find stuff you didn't know you were in to.
"The whole city comes even more alive that weekend. Everyone always comments on what a great atmosphere it is. It has the spirit of Sheffield."
He says of his Radio 1 show gives him the chance to promote new talent. He said: "I have got an amazing job, yes. The beauty about the BBC is everywhere you go in the world people know and admire it. What we have here is very special,
"I like to find new talent and try to help new artists.
"Right now there's a load of amazing rappers from the UK. There's one from Sheffield called Coco, who I'm a massive fan of and I work with a lot. There's a new MC from London called AJ Tracey who I really rate and I have tipped them both for the top this year."
"I don't really see it like power, just being very lucky and self indulgent. I go off instinct, what I think is brilliant and what I believe in. I can hear the tune on YouTube and play it on to 100,000 people plus the next day."
But Toddla, who admits to music guilty pleasures listening to the Pet Shop Boys and Abba, says it still shocks him - he actually fell of the sofa - when he recalls how he was offered a Radio 1 job.
He said: "I never really planned on getting into radio. I was always into making tunes, playing tunes at raves and making mixed tapes. Then I did a mix for Radio 1. I sequenced it back home in Sheffield at my mum's house. I did it all there. I spent ages on it.
"It was the same time my first album came out. Around the same time they were asking for demos for new presenters, to be more music based, as opposed to what they call 'daytime'.
"I thought, why not, I'll give it a blast, So I did a little demo, again at my mum's house in my old bedroom. I sent it down. And I remember being on the sofa when the head of Radio 1 Rhys Hughes called me and goes, 'Toddla T I would like to offer you a show'.
"I literally fell off the sofa.
"Luckily I'm still here, like seven years later. It's a big part of my life, a big part of my career and a big part of my schedule weekly and even though it's such an incredible, historic place, with so much going on, it kind of feels like home now."
* Tramlines headliners this year includ Headliners for this year’s festival include Dizzee Rascal, Jurassic 5, Kelis, Goldie, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mystery Jets, Gaz Coombes, Dawn Penn, Field Music, Young Fathers, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, plus many more. For information and tickets visit www.tramlines.org.uk