Today I sit to buzz with someone who is always just a few feet away from me every morning. Kevin has woken this country up with his voice for many years. Radio is such an important part of our lives today; no drive is fun anymore without radio so today I speak to a voice that makes radio fun to listen to on what makes him shine on air and everything in-between.
A fun loving, big hearted boy with an interesting outlook to life. Hope you enjoy the buzz!
Full Name – Kevin Nigel De Mel
Hometown- Kandy, Sri Lanka
Status- Shaken, not stirred
Birthday- April the 1st
Passions- Sports, music and sleep
Favorite Colors – Yellow. And black.
What made you get into Radio?
Would it be too obvious to say it was the mouth on me? Yeah, no, for real though, my mouth got me – and whoever was unfortunate enough to be around me at that particular time – into a lot of trouble as a kid, so I learned from a young age to channel that onto stage performances, recitals and the like. Once I’d left school I found that my fondness for hogging the microphone had transferred into my professional life as well, so despite dabbling in a few other industries it was inevitable that I’d land in radio and the media world in general.
What do you like and dislike about the industry?
On the surface just getting to work with music is a massive plus, I can’t think of many other jobs that allow you the luxury of listening to quality music as part of your job, so there’s that, but if I was to dig deeper I’d always liked the part about exchanging ideas, and inciting conversations, so I like talking about different topics and seeing where the public stands on those topics. What I dislike about the industry is when fellow radio personalities put caps on how far they can go. Really, the opportunities are limitless, you should NEVER settle for being just a one dimensional radio personality.
Who has been your biggest support in your life?
My parents, obviously, they were not too keen in me getting into this line of work at first, but after a few brief but successful stints in other industries I finally worked up the courage to do something a lot of Sri Lankans are too fearful of : defying their parents chosen career path for themselves, and deciding to go into an industry that could have been make or break for me. But fortunately, they were the most supportive parents anyone could ever ask for, and they still are to this day.
Where do you see SL English radio heading?
The thing about Sri Lankan radio is that you REALLY have to try hard to stand out because the average listener is spoilt for choice when it comes to which radio station he wants to tune in to, especially for a tiny nation like ours. Radio is an entirely different beast since the Advent of digital media. If radio learns to use the new wave of media outlets to their advantage then the future is secure, if not, it’s back to the drawing board and the unemployment line for a lot of us!
Why do you feel Local Musicians do not get enough airtime on Local English radio?
Honestly? I feel like a lot of local musicians are of the impression that their music would have a far wider reach if they released their material on other digital platforms, which is a fair assumption, but the opportunities that come about by getting airtime on local radio are just as enterprising. Perhaps it’s just a case of getting that message across to local musicians, with more vigour.
What are some of your most defining moments in life?
Chronologically, the birth of my two brothers was the first major event that changed my outlook on life and really helped me appreciate and value family life more. Leaving my Middle Eastern upbringing and settling down here also came with a bit of a culture shock that took some time getting used to. And the day I found out that I’m cut out for a successful career in media also stood out for me.
What has been your favorite travel destination and why?
My trip to Kenya about ten years ago was, hands down, the best week of travel I’ve had in my life. I fell in love with the country, and I can’t wait to return, even though my dream holiday would be South Africa. Locally, Nuwara Eliya and Ella are two places I can never get enough of, honestly, I could even see myself settling down there when I’m old and frail!
Tell me about your family?
Mom’s the boss. There’s four men in the house with me, my Dad and my two brothers. So Mom’s the Queen, what she says is what goes. She’s made a lot of sacrifices to put smiles on our faces, and on a side note, one conversation with her is enough to tell you where I get my potty mouth from! My Dad is the most hardworking person you will ever meet, he’s compromised a lot of his happiness to make sure our futures are bright. He comes from a sporting background, and my brothers seem set to take that legacy forward. I guess that makes me the black sheep!
What type of work environment do you prefer?
One where ideas are flowing, regardless of hierarchy. I always encourage the sharing and cultivating of ideas because all it takes is just a few good ideas coming together to create success. As long as no one feels stifled or discouraged from sharing their thoughts and ideas, the it’s a good, thriving work environment.
Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
I can’t place my finger on any one person in particular, but every single message of encouragement from people far and wide have all gone a long way in making me believe that I was cut out for this. Even you, Danu, when doing our show together tell me that I can hang with the best, so no one person in particular really, just everyone, from family, to colleagues to strangers thousands of miles away, a lot of people have had an impact on me.
if you could change one awful event in world history, what would you pick?
Is chasing the British from our island back in '48 considered awful these days?! On a serious note though, the most recent attacks on Easter Sunday spring to mind, although any number of attacks that disturbed the peace stretching back to '83 can easily be the answer to this question.
If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?
Haha, probably that I used my big fat mouth to incite some sort of disagreement! I’m sure the first thing they’d say upon seeing me would be “So, Kevin, what did you say/do THIS time?”
What if you could spend your life never sleeping? What would you do with the extra hours in each day?
I have always wanted to be a musician, so I’d probably spend all those late night hours inside a recording studio making my own material while simultaneously keeping the neighbors up!
if you had to spend 100 days on a desert island all alone? What three things would you take with you and why?
Clothes – because, duh.
My phone – with unlimited battery, just so I can listen to music.
Peles Autobiography – such a good read, that.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?
I’m your typical guy that doesn’t really care too much about my wardrobe, but I did buy a couple of t shirts of my favorite band off of eBay a few years ago. Still hold on to them even though they’re faded to the point where the name of the band is barely visible!
What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Travel! Oh gosh I’d love to see every corner of the world if time and money permitted. I’m a huge fan of experiencing different cultures and seeing different sights. I’m your typical tourist, complete with fanny pack and Panama hat!
What would your perfect room look like?
Well, neat, for starters! I’d love to have one of those rooms that’s filled with posters and vinyl records of my favorite artists, although my partner might have something to say about that!
How often do you play sports?
Believe it or not – you probably don’t, after taking one good look at me – I used to play cricket, football and basketball during my school days, and even a few years into my professional life. I like a fun kick about on the beach or a six a side whenever time permits though, especially with my drunk uncles during family gatherings. Those never end well!
What fictional place would you most like to go?
Jurassic Park! The end of the world not withstanding, a theme park filled with dinosaurs is an idea that has captivated me since 1993, so I’d love to see those magnificent beasts up close.
What job would you be terrible at?
Driving instructor, without a doubt. I have patience issues when it comes to teaching people how to drive. There are friends of mine who hadn’t spoken with me for months because of me trying to teach them how to drive. We’ve learned to stay away from such things since then.
What skill would you like to master?
Guitar. I can sing, and play the drums, so if I just knew how to play the guitar, I could get on with recording my own stuff without having to rely on anyone else. Also, if you ever see me in a public place, you might see me shadowboxing or practicing my cover drive, so martial arts and batting are two things that I would love to master.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Honestly? I’d have to go with parenthood. Ever since my brothers were born, fatherhood is the journey that I’ve been anticipating the most, I’m a bit of a softie in that way, so yeah, I’ll pick parenthood as the adventure I’m most looking forward to.