The meteoric rise of Tiffany Calver

In partnership with Nike Huarache

Presenter, DJ and rap royalty. At the age of just 27, Calver has risen from her sleepy hometown of Telford to the studios of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, becoming the first woman to host The Rap Show. Here, she reminisces on her journey.

As told to: Shirley Ahura
1st December 2021

Growing up in Telford, I’d say it was quite an isolating childhood. It’s a small town, there wasn’t really much to do when I lived there. We didn’t even have a Nando’s!

When we got a Frankie and Benny’s – that was the pinnacle of life. We had an ice rink, which they used to turn into a concert hall sometimes. The first gig I ever went to there was Atomic Kitten. It was amazing.

I always used to feel like a bit of an anomaly in my hometown. I found a lot of solace on the internet. I’d be on Myspace and Bebo making friends with people that listened to an eclectic range of music or e‑mailing my favourite writers asking for feedback on my music blog. Amaru Wilcox from ADTV read something that I wrote and said I could blog for his website. He was like a mentor to me. The first person I ever interviewed was Obie Trice. I remember being so nervous I was crying to my mum before I dialled in, but as soon as it was done, it was such a high.

Tiffany Calver’s future looks bright

From DJing on Drake’s Assassination Vacation Tour to launching her own hyped-up warehouse rave, Tiffany Calver and Friends, this is how the cultural curator and face of Nike’s new Huarache campaign made her big dreams a reality.

As told to: Shirley Ahura
1st December 2021

This year it’s been an absolute dream come true to be a part of the Nike campaign that celebrates having a vision and a dream for yourself, but also growth. The Huarache is literally a hug in a shoe – that’s definitely what I want to represent.

I came to London with literally three pairs of shoes, working two part-time jobs and spending almost all of my time writing for music blogs and taking countless night-buses home at 3am after volunteering to DJ for free.

All my friends are hustlers too. Everyone I know grafted hard for their success. I come from the online radio era where you’d go into a studio and there’d be about 12 guys in puffer jackets, sweating out the room, MCing on the mic. One week it would be AJ Tracey, another it would be Dave, Hus, Stormzy. And this year I’m watching AJ who has a field of people cheering for him at Parklife Festival. It’s really beautiful to see all of the journeys that began there continue to bloom.

“You come to London and you humble yourself because you realise you’re not actually a big fish. Everyone is trying to do something”

“It’s time to hold my head high and go into the next chapter with a massive smile on my face. I think I’ve earned my stripes now”

I moved to the capital when I was 17. My dad had moved there a couple of years before and I begged him to let me move in with him. I had to Google a college to go to because it was so last minute. That college also housed Headie One who I’m very good friends with and Fredo, who I have been the tour DJ for over the past four years so it was a good pick!

You come to London and you humble yourself because you realise unlike back home you’re not actually a big fish. Everyone is trying to do something. It just puts more batteries in your back.

Everything I do comes from this obsession with music and wanting to build my life around that. It’s what makes me happy. I have so many layers that I get to explore now, whether it’s DJing or throwing parties. [My night] Tiffany Calver and Friends came from this selfish, DIY desire to see musicians that I was a fan of and to share that with like-minded people.

Life is too short and imposter syndrome is off brand in 2022. I have worked way too hard. I have gone through too much. It’s time to hold my head high and go into the next chapter with a massive smile on my face. I think I’ve earned my stripes now.



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