Angela Yee: ‘If You Aren’t In Love With What You Do, Then How Can You Give 110%?’
Originally published on The Industry Cosign January 28, 2015
Being the only female of your crew gives you the opportunity to stand out and be recognized in a light others in your group may not get. This is especially relevant in Hip-Hop. Look at Eve (Ruff Ryders), Lil Kim (Junior Mafia) and The Lady of Rage (Death Row) as examples. The great thing about being the only woman is that, she wasn’t put on because of her gender, but, more likely, because she was just as talented, or even more talented, than her male counterparts.
Enter Miss Breakfast Club, Angela Yee, of Power 105 (New York) and Revolt TV. She not only holds her own with the likes of her counterparts, DJ Envy and Charlemagne Tha God, she can be a little feisty at times, yet holding it down, not only for the female persuasion, but, for herself when it comes to her views and opinions. One can appreciate what she brings to the daily morning show.
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The Industry Cosign, after months, maybe even years, of trying to track down the Brooklyn resident, was able to get her to stop long enough to grant an interview and we are grateful! Yee discusses how she became involved in the industry, what drives her to continue and what advice she’d give to anyone in need of some.
You’ve been involved in the music industry for a number of years, what led you down the path to be a radio personality?
My background is in marketing, and I previously worked for clothing lines, for Nile Rodgers’ distribution label, and Eminem’s clothing line Shady LTD. I was trying to figure out what my next move would be because I was feeling stagnant and like I needed a change. While I was online searching for job openings, I came across a listing for the marketing department at Sirius Satellite Radio. I remembered there had recently been a Shade 45 launch party so I called Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, to see if he would refer me so I could get an interview. Paul suggested that I audition for the female sidekick role on the morning show, and I agreed. Next thing I knew, I got a call from the VP of Programming to come in and meet, and I was on the air 2 weeks later.
Growing up, what did you originally want to do as a career, if it isn’t what you are doing now and when did you realize you’d have a career in the industry?
Ever since I was in kindergarten I wanted to be a writer. I would go to the library and read all day, and write short stories. I always knew I would be an English major in college, and I still write whenever I have a lot going on in my head. It’s very therapeutic.
Being a part of a team, how do you handle expressing views that may not necessarily agree with your partners and how do you prevent looking disagreeable in a situation that may not be to your liking?
I think it’s important that we have differing viewpoints. As the only woman, there are so many instances where I look at situations from another angle. I have no problem taking a stand and arguing for what I believe in. Usually it’s not who’s right or wrong but who’s the loudest though!
What is the most exciting thing about being part of The Breakfast Club?
Every day is different for us. I have no idea what is going to happen during an interview, who has a great story from the day before, and when we discuss the latest news, I never know what’s going to come out of anyone’s mouth. I also always appreciate the funny feedback we get on social media.
As an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to anyone who approaches you about doing their own business? What do you feel is one of the most important traits to have in order to be successful?
Whatever you decide to do, you have to be so passionate about it. It can never just be about money. Starting a business takes commitment and struggle, and knowing that there will be hurdles and obstacles to overcome. If you aren’t in love with what you do then how can you give 110%?
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you? And when you find you may not have any motivation, how do you get motivated?
I realize that I’m very fortunate to love my career and to make a nice living from it. It motivates me that there are children and teenagers that look at me and see that they can be successful too. I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn and then moved to South Orange, NJ when I was 15. I went to college and busted my ass to make it to the number one market in radio. All the relationships I cultivated helped me get to this point, whether I knew it consciously or not. It’s so important to treat people respectfully because you never know who will be that person to put in a good word, or shut you down. And the same way the support motivates me, I also know that there are people who would love to see me fail. But I work too hard for that to happen.
You are actually a celebrity. When you realized that you were, what went through your mind? When did you know exactly that people viewed you in a different light because of your celebrity status?
When I think of celebrity, I definitely think of people like Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, etc. I feel like people still always see me out and about, by myself or with the Breakfast Club, or with my friends. The only difference is now I get a head nod sometimes or people may ask for a picture. I haven’t seen myself as a celebrity.
This industry is a known haven for side hustles. What else do you do besides radio? Is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?
I work with a lot of up and coming artists, and consult for them on the side. Obviously we host events, and I have endorsements with various brands. I’ve been working with Echelon hair which is fun because I get to experiment with different looks. I also work with Shea Moisture and I love their products so it’s a natural synergy.
As a woman in radio, do you feel there needs to be any changes based on what you’ve seen and experienced over the years?
I think there are still conservative views on what a woman can and can’t say. I know my male counterparts can get away with a lot more than I can. It also bothers me that women aren’t as supportive of each other in general. When I first started I was warned that as a woman I would get judged more harshly and that other women would be extremely critical of everything I do. You have to trust yourself and shake off the negativity.
Tell us something about you that we don’t know and may be surprised about.
I’m scared to death of birds. Ever since I saw the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds” when I was very young, I can’t stand being around them. If a bird flies in my direction, I go crazy.
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