9 1/2 Questions: Nic Kelly

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Nic Kelly is one of the “young-guns” I have seen working very hard and staying very connected to the biz in the last couple years.  He has his hands in Radio, from On-Air to the Production Studio, TV and Web as host and EP of ProjectU TV and a very firm social imprint.  This post will serve as a way for me to continue to expose young talent to the world and international talent to the states and beyond.  So I done good.  You will certainly see WHY I asked my “Final” question.  The kid is bright.  I think someday I will be 50 or so, watching the TV, or whatever we call it in the future, see Nic Kelly dominating pop culture and think “I knew him way back when.”  Enjoy this interview, the audio, the video and the world through the eyes of REAL up-and-comer.
Nic Kelly!  Start us off: Name, Age, Location, other personal details you want to tell the world?

Ryan Drean!
So hey everyone, I’m Nic Kelly, I’m 17, I live in a beautiful place called the Central Coast, which is about an hour north of Sydney, Australia, and I live a 10 minute walk from one of the greatest beaches I’ve ever visited. I’m currently in Year 11 and have one more year of high school to go before I jump into the big and scary real world!

One of my goals is giving young talent a forum to show their skills and you are a glaring example of this: Young and Talented.  How old were you when you started in Radio and what was it that got you interested?

I appreciate that man! I was very young.
I was 11 years old when I emailed a guy named Nollsy who was the arvos jock at Sea FM, my local CHR. I told him that I admired his style on the radio and was really interested in seeing how a radio station works and operates. So, he was very kind brought me in and I fell in love from there, just looking at all the cool equipment and the ability to talk to people you’ve never met and share your passion for music, that got me so interested in it.
Five years later he’s Australia’s #1 daytime announcer working at The FOX and I’m working at that same radio station I visited as an 11 year old, as an announcer and panel operator… crazy!
My first experience with production was when I was about 13, a guy named Shayne Sinclair showed me how production works and showed me some cool techniques, so he gave me a copy of Adobe Audition 1.5 and that’s where I trained up. The ability to constantly create different sounds, tell a story and get people excited through sound got me really excited to start honing my skills.

Who are the people that inspire you?  Perhaps the Aussies and then anyone from outside your country (US, UK, etc etc)?

There are actually so many. I’d feel bad leaving any out, haha!
But seriously, everyone who’s managed to create a name for themselves in this industry is an inspiration to me.
In Australia – David Konsky (2Day imaging), Matt Nikolic (FOX Imaging) and Shayne Sinclair (previously NOVA imaging, now NOVA on air) have probably been the three biggest inspirations on my work. Their creativity and innovation make me proud to know them and you never know what to expect from their work.
Jerimiah Busniak is another guy I admire, he literally went from zero to hero in the space of a year, he’s now the breakfast imaging producer for FOX’s Matt and Jo Show. His fun approach to the radio world kept me keen and he’s always been very good to me.Matty Acton rounds out my five, he’s the host of Hot30 radio and TV, which is the biggest night show in Australia. He gave me my first actual imaging gig, where my work was getting on air, when he hosted The Hit List on the regional network of Southern Cross Austereo. He’s believed in me since day one and I probably wouldn’t be doing radio if it weren’t for him.
Man, these all sound like I’m sucking up but these dudes mean a lot to me!
US – Harry Legg. I’m so glad I know Harry, he’s been very kind to me and very helpful with tips to do with the radio world and a very successful man. My other American inspiration is Gavan Bruderer. The dude has his life set out for him at such a young age and I hope to follow his path in being quite successful quite young through passion and drive. He’s fantastic and he’s always good to talk to. With on air, Mo Bounce and JJ on Z100 have had a pretty big influence on me with their personalities, they’re always a pleasure to listen to.
UK – I’m actually half British, so UK radio resonates strongly with me and I seriously hope to move there one day, particularly if I could move there for work. Paul Armstrong has for a long time been making imaging that hits hard and I’ve always admired the creativity he exudes with every project. I also love listening to work by James Stodd at the BBC. On air, I’m a huge fan of Capital’s Will Cozens and Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw. Both of them have a great approach to their work and are a pleasure to listen to.

Australia has a great rep for the Imaging across the globe. (I have interviewed no less than 3 great prods so far) What do YOU think sets it apart or makes it stand-out?

Yeah, we have some of the best producers in the world in our country and thankfully most of those are in the network I’ve been working for, so I’ve had a great opportunity to quite literally learn from the best!
You’d probably know that Aussies have a great sense of humour (biased? nahhh) and I think it’s some weird but effective combination of shit-hot imaging composition that we’ve learnt from an international flavour, weaved with a relatable script that hits home with listeners in our country.

You do many things, what is your “radio” job day to day life like, the various tasks you have, and what is your favorite thing to do?

I’m working within Southern Cross Austereo as a casual announcer and panel operator at Sea FM here on the Central Coast, which is the #1 rating station and absolutely demolished the competition in like, every timeslot and demographic that matters and a few more. It’s a great place to work and it’s so fun being surrounded by such creative and talented people and working as a casual I’m able to hone my skills over the next year before I finish school whilst fitting my school work in really well.
But the big radio thing for me at the moment is Project U, which I’ll explain more below!

I said “Radio” job above because you are also host of ProjectU.tv.  Project U looks like a very cool thing to be a part of.  Super-targeted at the young, local, music fan.  Tell us more about this, how you got involved etc.

I’m pretty sure this concept doesn’t exist in the US outside of college radio, but I joined what’s called a “community radio station” when I was 14, called Coast FM.
Community radio is volunteer run and sets out to serve the local community in the area of the broadcast license. It’s been a great training ground for some of the best people in radio, on air and behind the scenes, over the years. Konsky from 2Day FM started in community radio as did Hamish and Andy (two of the most notable figures in Australian pop culture today).
I started to sit in on a Monday night show called “Youthtube”, which looked at youth issues in the local community. It started to become a bit stale and it wasn’t resonating with listeners, so me and the guy who ran it at the time had the idea to create an interactive countdown show called The Interactive Hot30. That was a terrible decision. We sounded like a commercial countdown show on helium. My co-host left to join the police force, so I was then tasked with coming up with a new program alongside two other young people. We realised that there was a gap in the local music scene for a real media force behind local, young musicians. Our area is absolutely packed with music, we’ve bred some of Australia’s biggest musical acts and they multiply and breed at a rate we don’t even understand. So we started Project U, and had a musician in every few weeks to perform live for us. I’ll skip the rest. Almost two years on, we’re now a major media source for local music and events on the Central Coast, and we connect young people with local music and events, and the local musicians with some of the biggest stars from around the world. Each week on the two hour radio show we have two live musicians in and during the week it all goes up online (filmed on our iPhones!) for people to see again and again (http://vimeo.com/projectutv if you want to see some!). We hit up every major music festival and awards night to get advice for our young talent from the people that have made it in Australian music. We also launched an online TV series at around the one year mark and have organised a few events to keep true to our promise of connecting fans to local musicians. I’m extremely proud of what we do with Project U and even working more than 20 hours a week on it for no payment, it is one of the most rewarding things I do in my life.
As Executive Producer, I oversee pretty much everything alongside my friend and co-executive producer Janine Emms, and in terms of production I work on show/segment openers, branded intros and extended intros/outros, promos, local event promos and various other stuff. We brand everything as much as we can and every artist we can get our hands on we use them for selling power as much as possible. We’ve got Amos Ashley, who’s the voice of the biggest nightshow in the country (Hot30) as our MVO and my 18 year old school friend Kate Cornish as our FVO, because we try and let young, talented people from our area have a go at doing stuff for the show. I could seriously talk about Project U all week, but I’ve attached a composite of the brandings I’ve done, sampling how we sound on air.

PROJECT U HYPE REEL 2012 from Project U on Vimeo.

Talk about how you work. Current Computer/Studio Setup:

I’m very simplistic with it and unfortunately because I don’t have a lot of money, very limited to what I can use. Because my computer isn’t powerful enough to run Pro Tools, although I have had some experience with it, I’m using Adobe Audition 1.5 with the Waves Platinum bundle on a Compaq CQ61 notebook with 2GB of RAM. I can already feel you judging me for using 1.5, but it’s my little baby! I’ve used her since I was 13 and it does everything I want it to and I’m very proficient in it. I’m yet to find something Pro Tools can do that I can’t do in Audition 1.5 in a similar time frame. I love it to bits.
I use the VEQ4 and RComp as my main EQ/compression plugins.

Current Mobile Device:

HTC One X running Android 4.0.3. I love it so much! Very thankful I got rid of my iPhone. It’s so pretty.

Apps/Software you can’t live without:

Instagram. Instagram and I share a love affair that has lasted since Christmas Day 2010. I’ve since uploaded more than 1600 photos to it. I love it so much, it is one of the greatest social networks that’s ever existed and I’m glad people are embracing it these days!
I’m also really digging Spotify lately. It’s opened me up to a whole bunch of new music I’d never have even thought existed until now.

Tell me one piece of advice you received that has stuck with you or helped you with the success you have attained to this point.

“You never never know if you never have a go.” – my Grade 5 teacher, Mr Bellemore. I seriously live my life by it, I think everything’s worth a shot… and in terms of production, it applies to trying new effects and stuff even if you think they’ll sound awful, it’s worth a shot. Applying for a job that in your mind you have no chance at – at least you’re putting your name out there. Nominating yourself for awards you don’t think you can achieve – you’ll be glad you did it.

So…with that I ask my final question.  Would you like to become a regular contributor to my blog?

Of course, I’d love to!

We count on you to keep us all up to date on all things Aussie Radio!  No not EVERYTHING, but anything you want to write about will be great!

I promise! If people want to know anything about Aussie radio, let me know. Thanks for the opportunity Ryan!

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