Nick Grimshaw on hangovers, celebrity and why radio will always be his first love

Gentleman's Journal sit down with the presenter over seafood at Scott's to ask the big questions

Nick Grimshaw on... Early Starts

Nick Grimshaw goes to bed at about 9.30pm and wakes up at 4.30-ish. There, now you know.

“I get asked that question more than any other. People seem to think it’s the worst thing in the world,” Nick tells me. “You just get used to it.”

Although now, after six years at the helm of Radio 1’s Breakfast Show, Nick has just announced that he’ll be moving to the more forgiving afternoon drivetime slot. This is big news — he has been a chirpy alarm clock to millions for as long as most of his young audience can remember.

Nick Grimshaw on... Having a personality for radio

Much of Nick’s charm comes down to unvarnished honesty.

“You can’t have some sort of on-air persona because you’ll never be able to keep it up. I can’t stand all those weird, over the top radio voices,’ he tells me. “If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll say it on air. And the second you say it, actually, it goes away.

“If we’re ever hungover, like after the Brits, we’ll tell you.” Nick says. He is referencing the Straight-Through Crew, an accidental ritual that takes place on the morning after each year’s Brit Awards, where Nick and a coterie of droppable names come into the studio straight from Nick’s after party.

“Stormzy came in and ordered 20 pizzas because he just felt like he needed the help.” Nick said. “Haim came charging in last time, definitely still drunk, and we had to really work hard so they didn’t swear in the middle of the school run.”

Nick Grimshaw on... Celebrity guests

Grimshaw tells me that he prefers interviewing celebrities who are genuine, even slightly bad-tempered.

“Some people come up to me all hugs and squeals and say ‘I’m so, so excited to be on your show!’” he says. “Of course you’re not — it’s 6am on a Tuesday in November.”

Rihanna is the gold standard here, Nick says: “I am in awe of how cool and composed and understated she always is.”

Nick Grimshaw on... What lies ahead

Grimshaw’s childhood dream was to host the Radio 1 Breakfast Show — and he managed that at a precocious 27. Might it not be downhill all the way from here?

“It doesn’t really matter, to be honest” he says. “This was the first time in my career where I’ve done something just because it was right for me. It didn’t matter at all what anybody else thought.”

Nick Grimshaw on... What makes radio so special

“It’s so much more intimate than television,” Grimshaw says as we prepare to leave. “You have time and space for things to develop naturally. You’re talking for three hours, completely unscripted — the background to someone’s morning.

“So you just say what’s on your mind, really, and try to be as open and honest as possible. The funny thing is, people come up to me in a supermarket and say ‘that thing you said about tomatoes three weeks ago — that really changed my life. And I have absolutely no idea what I said about tomatoes. It’s a hell of a responsibility!”

Read the full interview in the Jul/Aug issue of Gentleman’s Journal. Subscribe here…

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