Twelve Questions
Jennifer Dann poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Charlotte Ryan

Charlotte Ryan says don't eat on air - 'It doesn't work.' Photo / supplied
Charlotte Ryan says don't eat on air - 'It doesn't work.' Photo / supplied

Charlotte Ryan is the silky-voiced host of the Morning Glory show on bfm. She lives in Auckland with her partner, former Pluto keyboardist, Matthias Jordan and their 4-year- old daughter, Annie.

1. What is the power of radio that makes it distinct from other media?
There is so much that is magical about radio. The instant-ness of it. If a news item happens, it's right then and there. TV is so often edited and seems a lot slower. I like that people can't see your face. I love listening to the radio and imagining what the host looks like. I often worry when people meet me and if they look at me strangely, I think 'Am I not what you expected?'

2. If you were a musical instrument what would you be?

A piano. I love it and connect to it. Someone also recently put me on to classical music and I've discovered Ravel. It's beautiful and powerful and romantic. Who would I have play me? Matthias, who is a keyboardist.

3. Can you recall an interview that you'd rather forget?

When it was announced The Pixies were coming to New Zealand it blew everyone away. They gave only two interviews to New Zealand media - one went to bfm. I had to interview Joey Santiago live on an international phone line, which is never great. It was the worst experience. I was so embarrassed I wanted to spew and cry all at the same time. I was also sick and probably should never have gone into work that day. But I was so excited. I so wanted to do it. He gave one word answers and must've heard I was struggling and he was a dick.

4. What song breaks your heart?

It has to be an album called Sea Change by Beck. It's beautiful from start to finish. It still breaks my heart. It makes me feel a little sad when I hear it again because when I bought it, I was in quite a dark place. It's haunting and it reminds me of the powerful nature of music - the way it can take you back to that emotion when you first heard it.

5. What song have you fallen in love with?

I'm blushing thinking about it. I did have a thing for the keyboardist in Pluto for years and their song Moscow Snow is piano oriented. But when I was 15 I fell for this guy to Dire Straits' Romeo and Juliet. I've just bought it on vinyl. I was worried it would be awful but it's still beautiful.

6. What is the thing you love most about your job?

The music - what I get introduced to and that I'm able to introduce people to. It can change your day when you hear something new. I love it when someone texts or phones in after a track and says, "That put a smile on my face."

7. What would you change about it?

I don't want to sound whiney. But if I had more resources I wonder how much better my show would be. Also it's student radio, so you don't get paid much.

8. How do you get your silky voice?

I put it down to coming from old-school Christchurch. My mother would say things like, "You don't say mulk. You say milk."

9. What must a radio host never do?

Eat on air. It just doesn't work.

10. What's the greatest challenge confronting the music industry?

Making money. That's so broad, but from musicians to promoters, it's such a struggle. There are the challenges of digital downloads and touring - which costs so much. And you might spend $100,000 making an album but it's difficult to make that back again. It's not deterring musicians but so few can do it full time.

11. What music documentary was a turning point?

Searching for Sugar Man. It was so clever and it was a real turning point for me - I decided I wanted to make music documentaries. I also liked Time Rocks, which looks at popular albums. Because I might not have liked or respected the artist before, but they tear the album apart and you end up with this whole new perspective on them and the music.

12. When do you ever have silence? What constitutes peace and quiet for you?

At home pottering. If it's just me, sometimes I think, oh this is silent and I put a record on. It gives energy to the home. My quiet time usually involves playing records. I like that warmth of the needle on the vinyl.

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