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Guest Interviews

NMC Guest: Emily (Owner of Darling Zine, Journalist & Assistant Director of Tits Upon Tyne)

How long have you been active in the North East music scene and what do you do?
Since I was born! There was never a defining moment that I got involved in the scene. My dad is a DJ, hosts events, runs Method Radio, and worked at Sage Gateshead so I’ve always been brought up around and involved in the music scene.

I am now a journalist, primarily discussing music, which has always been my dream job. I write for a range of publications such as NE Volume, Spotlight Music, The Music Files and others outside of the North East. My articles can range from music reviews to opinion pieces about women in the scene. I was also promoted to Assistant Head of Tits Upon Tyne at the start of December 2020 which means I run a team of writers, organise timetable as well as doing social media promo etc.

With the pause in live music, which was previously my main job, I began my own publication, Darling, during the start of Lockdown number one. Darling promotes women and non-binary musicians who don’t seem to get the attention they deserve in mainstream media. I have so much fun with this as I got to explore design as well as meeting loads of amazing people.


How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today?
As soon as I was old enough I started volunteering at Sage Gateshead teaching music editing to youth offenders and disabled youth. Through this, I also got to host my own event and work at festivals like The Bridge and Americana.

I have a tiny bit of experience as a musician playing at places like Durham Cathedral but I was never passionate about being on the stage, especially not in the more classical scene I found myself. Instead, I branched off from that and got a job working in promotions at O2 Academy/City Hall Newcastle. This job was an absolute dream job especially while I was in Sixth Form, I got to see so many amazing performances. I miss concerts so much but thankfully I was able to be involved in the Socially Distanced Virgin Money Arena in summer which was super cool.

With all this experience in a range of sectors, I think I’ve managed to make a lot of connections which really helps with my journalism. I always keep myself crazy busy, taking any opportunity I can find and I think that really pays off too.

I always wanted to do something creative, loved music and was drawn to English as an academic subject. I’m now studying an English Literature BA with the goal of doing a Journalism MA after that. Writing was always something that came easy – you didn’t have to overthink things like you do in Maths or Science; there’s more freedom. The idea of a 9-5 office job also terrifies me, I like to be in control but have a deadline at the same time so writing allows for that balance as well as being something I genuinely love to do. I also try to be involved in everything at once and writing allows me to explore this by finding new things and new people.

What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music?
Be confident! Talk to as many people as you can because 9/10 times they are happy to answer any questions you have. While it’s pretty difficult at the moment to meet people, once concerts have resumed they are a really great place to find like-minded people.

What are your favourite things about the North East music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences?
I love the community! Newcastle is so small so it’s pretty easy to get to know people if you’re willing whether that’s in a work environment or just through random conversations at Dog and Parrot.

One highlight that sticks in my head is dancing on stage with Goldie at Lindisfarne Festival. It was actually my last festival pre-corona (September 2019) and I was able to work as a stagehand. I love Lindisfarne because it feels like a little community, everyone there is always so happy.

Also working at the O2, Christmas parties were amazing. Seeing the whole venue become a playground for staff was so surreal after going there as an audience member for so many years – the scary bouncers aren’t actually that scary, especially once they’ve had a few pints.

Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch?
You can view my cv & full portfolio at emilyduff.journoportfolio.com
There’s also the option to subscribe so you can see when I’ve written a new article!

To check out (and maybe buy a copy if you fancy) Darling can be found at: Darling Zine | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My journalism social media handle is @emilyduffjourno. You can find this on Instagram (where I am much more active) and Twitter.
Formally, you can also get in touch via: emilyduffjourno@gmail.com

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