Angela Yee is probably one of the coolest radio host today; not only does she do radio but she also owns several brands; including a juice business and a podcast. She’s most notably the co-host of The Breakfast Club, but wears many hats and does it well.
This past week I had the chance to hear from Angela in Philadelphia where she talked a bit more about her career as a radio host and how she got started in media.
Yee, who hosts the hit syndicated show with DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God wasn’t always in front of the mic. In fact, prior to radio, she was in corporate marketing – working behind the scenes for years working with media giants like Eminem, Wu-Tang, Paul Rosenberg and more.
When she was just starting off her career she hustled for internships like crazy, she worked late, she was humble, she was gracious and she worked constantly.
One day she was laid off from her marketing job. At the time she was doing marketing and she remembers thinking, ‘what’s next?’ There must be something more.
She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next, but she remembers being so down about her life at the time. ‘I had no job. I was waking every morning with no where to go. I remember feeling so lame and I wondered if this was it for me. I was waking up and felt really bad about myself.
I felt so terrible to the point where I was like, ‘okay, I need to do something about this,’ so I thought I’d take a risk and try something new.
After losing her job she saw an opening in Sirius’s marketing department and asked Rosenberg, her former boss and Em’s manager, if he could get an interview for her.
While asking, he recommended she apply to the morning show. He let her know they were looking for a woman to host the show and he recommended she give it a shot.
She did and went for it.
“I had to regroup,” she said.
This was my time to take a risk. To start something new. I secretly really wanted to be in radio but didn’t tell anyone so when I started my first radio gig, I didn’t tell anyone.
I kept it a secret. I didn’t want people to judge me.
I didn’t want to tell anyone, someone heard me one day and said, ‘hey I think I heard you on the radio, and I didn’t say anything, I just said, ‘maybe.’
But I knew, whether people liked it or not, it was important for me to do what makes me happy.
“You’re so much happier when you’re doing something you love, even if it doesn’t pay off financially at first. I do feel like one of the biggest mistakes I made [early on] was putting money over happiness.”
Also, when I decided this is what I wanted, ‘I wasn’t going out. I was going home and working on my craft.
What did you want to be Growing Up?
“Ever since I was a little kid, I said I’m going to be a writer and I always thought that, but things change,” she said. “The fact of the matter is that we get so many influences along the way and what you become will begin to take shape as you grow .”
You will make mistakes and that’s okay.
“I made a lot of mistakes growing up,” she said. “I look at mistakes like I learned something from this, I’ll never do this again and now I know what to do going forward. It’s really important to own up and improve on mistakes.
Even though Yee appears to be at the top of her game today, she stressed that her success happened in part because of her missteps.
It’s okay to make mistakes. it will happen.
What do you tell the haters and negative voices?
People hate you because they love you, honestly. People hate because they want what you have, because they see something in you that they wish they could see in themselves.
When I first started in radio, everyone would say ‘watch out, xy is coming to take your place,’ but that’s not true. There can be more than one of us and you’re made more powerful by helping those people who others are saying are your competition. We can all help each other. You’re more powerful when you are working with other women
Work with other people and don’t be afraid to network and put yourself out there. He who is willing to put himself out there will win. You need to continue to challenge yourself. Never be complacent.
On Working in Media
It’s important to represent yourself. Your team matters, and the people you surround yourself with matters.
The people working for me would never curse someone out, they just wouldn’t. They represent me and I make sure that they treat people kindly. It’s important to have good people around you. It will only help you in the long run. Your team matters.
When you are kind and humble, everyone will hire you. I know that the people I met while hustling and working, I know that they would still hire me to this day because I worked hard and was nice. The internships I had helped me so much.
On being a woman in Radio:
Sometimes it’s hard to get your voice heard. If someone sys something as a man, they agree with it. I’ve had friends who I’ll meet with or offer to help and sometimes people automatically assume that you want something more; like they’ll say, ‘I see the chemistry,’ but in reality you’re just hustling and doing your thing. It’s important to stay true to yourself and what you believe.
Betting on Yourself
Your mentality is everything, you have to believe in yourself and the vision you have for yourself, you have to, have to, have to. You’ve got to bet on yousrself, you’ve got to invest in yourself and make it happen.
Commitment, prioritzing and networking are so important. “Nobody can do it alone,” Yee says. “We should never think “This is me, by myself, on an island, trying to make a business work. You’ll drive yourself crazy.” We all need help.
It is necessary to invest in yourself. “We’re scared sometimes to take a risk and go out and there and spend our own money to start a business, but we really have to do that,” she says. “We really have to gamble on ourselves because that’s when great things can happen.”
Bet on Yourself.
You have to work really hard. sometimes you see other people doing their thing and it can intimidate you but you have to stay focused on your own path and do what’s right for you.
I did so many internships during college. I worked so hard. Work hard, but also, surround yourself with the right people. Who you surround yourself by matters so much.
“When you want something bad enough, you need to put in the work and keep it going until you make it happen,” Yee says.
If you’re not familiar with the BreakFast Club, check it out below….
P.S. Here is a radio segment from the Breakfast Club I highly recommend where the hosts discuss mental health, depression and Taraji P. Henson’s new foundation, named after her father.