We’ve all heard and listened to the brilliant Jo Whiley – one of the most recognisable voices on Radio. A household name, Jo’s career has been explosive and she is now one of the most well-regarded DJs in the country, plus she has met some of the most iconic figures of our time (psst … Jay-Z has visited her home).
What we love most about Jo Whiley is how effortlessly cool and down to earth she is. Now living in the Northamptonshire, Jo and her family made the big move out of North London to live in a stunning barn conversion in the countryside. A very busy lady, Jo was kind enough to take 10 mins out of her day to talk to us all about her career, home and love of gardening!
1. You have had an amazing career so far and met some of the most incredible and iconic figures of our time. When did you first decide that you wanted a career in the music and entertainment industry?
I honestly stumbled into this job. I had no idea that doing what I do now was a way of making a living. It certainly wasn’t on the list of career opportunities when I was at school. I simply loved music and loved listening to the radio. Some of my earliest memories are of listening to certain radio shows, taping the Top 40 countdown, listening religiously to Annie Nightingale’s Sunday Night request show – I still find it weird that I play music and talk into a microphone and people can hear what I’m saying!
2. What has been your career highlight to date?
Probably the most surreal moment was having Jay-Z in my garden playing basketball with my kids and drinking champagne & eating strawberries with my Mum & Grandma. Never saw that one coming. My proudest moments are always when an interview goes really well and people open up and reveal a more personal side of themselves to me and my listeners. That’s job satisfaction for me.
3. Is there anyone who you would love to meet?
In the last twelve months, we’ve lost three people who I regularly used to say I wanted to interview and that was Prince, David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I still can’t bring myself to tell my daughter that Snape has died in real life. Not sure why, but I was so upset by his death.
4. You have a beautiful home, filled with amazing artefacts and pieces that you have collected over the years. Is there an item that holds a special significance to you? If so, why?
There’s a dreadful wooden statue of the Pink Panther that my husband brought home one day when we’d just met. He thought it was fantastic & I questioned whether I should continue the relationship. 25 years later and we’re still together and the Pink Panther still lives with us despite my best efforts to get rid of him!
5. What is your favourite room in the house, and why?
Favourite room is our kitchen/dining room. Crime scene of many an epic party and the heart of our home. Our kitchen is most definitely less about cooking and more about dancing quite often in fancy dress. I hate the dark and discounted umpteen houses with small windows when we were looking to move. Our kitchen has floor to ceiling windows all round and it’s the lightest brightest house I could hope to live in.
6. In terms of décor, what was the first thing you did when you moved in?
The first thing we did was to remove the greenness of the house. Every wall in every room was green. It made me feel seasick so it had to go instantly. I replaced it with the obligatory 50 Shades of grey.
7. What would you say is the best thing about living in the countryside?
I adore the countryside because you can breathe and feel free and have adventures in the space around you. We had lots of fun living in North London and the transition to the countryside can be lonely. It takes a long time to build up friendships and that can be hard. Maybe it’s an age thing but I really appreciate nature and the wildlife around our home. I have a vegetable garden lots of different bits of the garden which are an extension of my decor. There’s a treehouse we had built, a willow tree that we planted which Coco calls the magic wishing willow, an orchard and gazillions of fairy lights everywhere. Plus the flowers I’ve planted which I’m besotted with – the garden’s probably my other favourite thing about our home.
8. If you could, what would you say to your younger self?
It’s very important not to care what others think about you – don’t get hung up on it. Chances are they’re not thinking anything about you, they’re just worrying about themselves.
9. If you have any, what are your New Year Resolutions for 2017?
This year I feel full of resolve. Nothing original – drink less, run more, smile more, moan less. And take vitamins. 2017 has found me very much in need of a reboot.
10. Finally, list 3 RSG products that you love or own?
Quick Fire Questions
1. I am happiest when… Gardening.
2. My favourite magazine is… English Gardens Illustrated.
3. My dream holiday would be… San Francisco
4. My ideal day would be spent…. Swimming, gymming & eating with friends and family while playing articulate.
5. My ideal day would be spent…. Live the life you love, live the life you live
6. My guilty pleasure is… Tipping Point
7. The last film I saw was… StarWars Rogue One. So disappointed. Two hours of relentless gunfire & exploding spacecraft.
8. My favourite book is… Bridges of Madison County
9. In five years’ time, I want to be… A triathlete
10. The three things I can’t live without are… My ink pen, Moleskine notebook, Headphones
Check out Jo’s BBC Radio 2 page to hear her amazing show!