You rarely hear about this part, but starting a career in something you’re really passionate about is a double- edged sword. You can care too much. Those minor details that you’d leave behind without an afterthought during temp work through college become gargantuan issues that glue themselves to the back of your mind while you attempt to relax on evenings. Ironically, these can cloud the motive that had you following this path in the first place.
In music, this can be a particularly troublesome dilemma. They say don’t mix business with pleasure, but Ebro Darden would disagree. Since the beginning of his career in 1990, the outspoken radio personality has gone from a 15-year-old working at Sacramento’s KSFM to programme director of the world’s most influential hip-hop radio station, New York city’s HOT 97, and has had to constantly rediscover his love for music along the way.
Now at 41-years-old, his latest role - one of three main anchors for Apple Music’s worldwide radio station, Beats 1 - has him grinning from ear to ear with excitement, glowing when he talks about it. One year in already, and alongside Zane Lowe and London’s Julie Adenuga, he’s enjoying life as a music fan first, radio anchor second.
On paper, working for the station certainly hasn’t made life easier for Ebro. His exhausting daily schedule has him waking up at 4:30AM to prepare for his HOT 97 breakfast show. He works at the station until midday and then takes a nap before hitting the Beats 1 studio at 3PM. There, he prepares to broadcast to 100 countries at 6PM before heading home to spend some time with his family. He also tries to carve out some free time to listen to music for pleasure - something he says he could never pencil into the schedule, “that would be like planning sex with your wife!” This usually ends up happening while he’s hitting the gym, cycling around the neighbourhood or driving his daughter around at weekends.