Meet Jay Parades. He’s unlike any other radio presenter in the country. Why? Because not only does a represent his genre, he represents an entire community. And as the only Latin Christian music show in the UK, he takes his job very seriously.
So seriously, in fact that he’s flying to the other side of the world this week to represent the UK scene in Miami. It’s a journey that he’s made a few times since his debut at the Expolit – Miami’s huge Latin music convention, in 2013. Last year, it saw him help his station Premier Gospel pick up an award for Best Online Radio Station. This time, he’s ready for his biggest presence there yet.
So how do you go about becoming the only Latin show in the country? Well, like many of his colleagues at Premier Gospel, Jay leads a Clark Kent/Superman lifestyle. By day, he runs his own cleaning company but by night he’s the biggest proponent of Latin rhythms in the UK.
He’ll be the first to admit, he wasn’t butter smooth when asked to do a live demo on the first time meeting Premier Gospel radio boss and recording artist Muyiwa Olarewaju. Going from broadcasting his own internet radio in his bedroom to standing in front of a UK gospel icon was quite a leap. But his love for the music he plays saw him through his audition.
“When I first met Muyiwa, I was intimidated,” Jay recalls. “He asked me to do some links just after [Premier Gospel Drive presenter] Lady T had done her show and I didn’t know what to do. I was stumbling. But now, to be the only Latin Christian radio show in the UK, I think I’ve done quite well. We’re attracting a lot of people from the Latin community, especially people from Miami, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and people in the USA.”
And it’s the US where Jay will make his home for the next week. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Expolit is where the great and the good from the Latin Christian music industry from all over the world convene. Each day of the four-day event sees 10,000 people pour through its doors. Among them are music fans, media, businesses, pastors, and of course artists. And it’s the artists that Jay is most interested in reaching out to.
Throughout Expolit, Jay and his small team of four people interviews a jaw-dropping 150 people a day. It’s a mix of musical legends and up-and-coming singers who pass by Jay’s stand to talk. Until last year, Jay was the only representative from a European radio station at the event. A common question he received: Are there any Latin people in the UK to listen to your show? In truth, it’s his success in Miami that has helped him to gain traction back in London. But it isn’t without hard work.
“Every day at the event, we start working at nine in the morning and finish at seven in the evening non-stop,” he says. “I remember when I went the first time I almost fainted because I was there by myself. The only other people with me were my brother in law and my friend who were helping behind the scenes. So it was just me talking for four days non-stop. That’s when I knew I had to build a team.”
Jay now works with a team of local media personnel who help lighten the load when it comes to getting through a mountain of radio and video interviews.
For the people
When we interviewed Jay at a Central London café, we had to ask him whether he felt there was a lot of responsibility attached to being the only show of its type in the UK.
“It’s hard and I do feel the pressure on my shoulders, which I’m more than happy to take. I feel like if I don’t do it, no one else will. No one is interested in going through what I go through to make it happen. Some people try to set up Latin shows in the UK but in a few months, they’re shut. That’s why I thank Premier for believing in me. It’s a dream come true.”
Jay is proud of his station and always shouts about Premier Gospel when he’s in Miami, particularly its flagship shows Gospel Breakfast and Drive. But more than that, he wants to galvanise the Latin community both sides of the Atlantic with his music. It’s why there’s so much stock in his weekly show the Latin Selection, which airs on Premier Gospel every Friday night.
“Sometimes I think I don’t want to do this, especially on a Friday after a long day at work. But once I get to the studio, I play the music and start dancing.”
The infectious Latin tracks don’t just motivate the listeners to the Latin Selection, they also inspire its presenter. Which is why he always comes back for more.
You can hear the Latin Selection with Jay Paredes every Friday at 9pm on Premier Gospel.