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Tiffany Calver On The Importance of Failure

Tiffany Calver: "I've Learned So Much From Failure"

Image Source: FilmsByEks

Tiffany Calver needs no introduction. A musical triple threat, the BBC Radio 1 Xtra DJ, broadcaster and No Requests label boss went from from humble roots in Telford with a passion for music, to opening gigs for Drake, Fredo, and Beyonce and Jay-Z for their "On The Run II" London tour dates.

But even she sometimes feels the weight of imposter syndrome, a topic she candidly discussed on a panel hosted by creative community-impact platform, Sondr, and Mixtape Madness Editor-in-Chief Hiba Hassan in celebration of International Women's Day.

"It's something I still feel and you have to learn to manage it — it's part of being a creative, you'll always be your biggest critic," Calver told an audience of aspiring creatives and her fellow panellists, Girls Don't Sync DJ, Hannah Lynch, and Bossy LDN founder and DJ, Izzy Bossy. She added: "I still struggle with feeling like I belong in some spaces. I think, 'Am I this person?' It doesn't ever feel real, even though I'm living in it."

Calver spoke about her rise, moving to London with her dad and taking up a job at Topshop as she attempted to break into the music industry, while on the side blogging for SBTV and MTV. She used her weekends to host parties at Birthdays in Dalston (now closed), playing the decks herself or personally funding the musical acts for the night. She eventually landed gigs with community radio stations, like NTS and Radar, before hitting the mainstream at Kiss FM and BBC Radio 1Xtra.

She also has a fair few 'firsts' under her belt, including becoming the first female presenter to host 1Xtra's The Rap Show, taking over from her predecessor, Charlie Sloth, and was the first female to curate a mix for Drake's OVO Sound radio show back in 2017. But Calver revealed that it's her previous failures that she owes her global success to.

"If I can advise you to do one thing, it's fail."

"There's so many ways I've failed. My old radio shows are on Mixcloud and if I could hide them I would, they're awful," she says. "I'm a perfectionist and wanted everything to be perfect before releasing it, but there came a point where I had to learn on the spot and put my work out there and it changed my life. If I can advise you to do one thing, it's fail. I've always learned so many incredible lessons from it, and I've always come back stronger. So, fail as much as you can."

Stepping into The Rap Show, a highly prestigious and respected show, was no easy feat, but as her music network grew Calver is certain that community was her guiding light, and advises women who are aspiring to make it in the music industry to support and champion each other on the rise to the top.

"Don't look too high, sometimes look forward, look around you, look at what the people around you are building,' she says. "Genuinely, those are the relationships that will keep you going, the people championing you now will take you higher and further, they're just as important."

Lauren Gordon is the editorial coordinator at POPSUGAR UK, where she creates lifestyle and identity content. Lauren has a degree in journalism from University of the Arts London and previously worked as a showbiz and TV reporter at The Mirror US. Lauren specialises in pop culture, hair and beauty, focusing on trends, sharing in-depth tutorials, and highlighting hidden gems in the beauty industry.

Image Source: Phil Raheem
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