MUSWELL HILL PEOPLE
TREVOR NELSON One's R&B chart show. Late on Sunday evening: you're moving to the essential grooves in R&B, Hip Hop and Swing. Trevor Nelson is the DJ at the helm on these national network shows. That's when he's not on telly, fronting MTV's The Lick. And then Music Magazine recently voted him the fifth most influential man in the music business.
"I've lived in Muswell Hill for just six months but the funny thing is that my introduction to music was when I lived in Haringey in the 70s for a few months. All I did that summer was listen to records.
"For about four years before that, the only record I listened to was the Jackson Five's greatest hits. I knew all the words and I can still see the warped vinyl now.
"The road I live on is quite busy but everything is within easy reach. I can walk to the local shops and restaurants. When I lived in Forest Gate I went everywhere by car. I can't wait until the summer to hit Alexandra Park with my wife and son."
His son, Miles, is named after the jazz trumpet supremo. "He was born just after Miles Davies died." explains Trevor, "I only got to see him in concert once but I can appreciate the greatness of the man."
Trevor is a 70s man, dedicated to Stevie Wonder, Steven Bishop, Ricky Lee Jones and American Jazz Funk. "I'm working with Sony at the moment to produce a two CD compilation titled The Incredible Sounds of Trevor Nelson. I get to choose the records myself this time - unlike 100% Pure Grooves."
After his heady summer in Haringey, Trevor became focused on music. "I've been independent for as long as I can remember and as soon as I could get a job, I bought records," he says.
"Moving to Muswell Hill was a nightmare, I did have 10,000 records, I had to exercise some quality control and sold 3,000 before moving. Some records I had never listened to but I did come across records I'd bought when I was 14, disintegrating - I wanted to cry. CDs are the future but I will keep my vinyls. Obviously, some are classics."
Trevor has done practically everything in the industry, from wholesale and retail to A&R (artiste & repertoire) and promotion. "When I was younger, my sound system was called the Mad Hatters, we used to play some freaky soul sounds. I used to hang out with people like Jazzy B and - as you know - he went on to develop Soul II Soul. Being the DJ meant you didn't have to ask the girls to dance!"
Before KISS FM became legitimate, there was a chance that the station would go under, when one of its original backers pulled out. "So, Steve Jackson, Judge Jules, Tim Westwood and other DJs ended up playing out of my bedroom on the 19th floor of a tower block on the Cathall Estate in Leyton."
"To keep KISS FM going we had to find £2,000," continues Trevor, "Ten of us put in £200. Little did I realise, that three years later I would be sitting in board meetings with Richard Branson's solicitor and other senior big wigs, talking about the future of the station."
Trevor has been at Radio One for three years, working his way up from the graveyard shift to the more prominent slots he does now. "My dad wanted me to become an accountant but he did phone me after my first show to congratulate me - he gave me nine out of ten."
His boyish looks hide a very smart man. Trevor is acutely aware of music trends and the new appeal of new music like D'Angelo, Maxwell and his find/protégé Lynden David Hall. "Lauryn Hill is the woman of the moment. She's a singer, songwriter, producer, director and mother. That thing is a song that has crossed all age boundaries and the sexes. I interviewed her recently and I have to say, I was impressed."
To have longevity in this business, Trevor maintains that you need to be a specialist. " As a DJ, you'll only be as popular as the music in fashion," he says. If you want an R&B specialist, Trevor is your man.
"After all the work we've had done on the house, my family may be in Muswell Hill for some time - that's despite the fact that nearly everyone nearby supports Arsenal or Tottenham. And I'm a Chelsea fan!"