The Dotty Show: In Conversation with Ashley “Dotty” Charles

The author of Outraged and Lead Cultural Curator, Black Music, UK at Apple Music talks about hitting the high notes and not having to choose. We discuss musical memories, career highlights, plus, the holiday destination that inspired her book, Outraged.

“Dotty” Charles is back on our radios with two stellar
shows: The Dotty Show and The Agenda Radio. For the former, as
Apple Music’s Lead Cultural Curator, Black Music, UK, Dotty will be
sharing a daily celebration of Black Music from the UK and around the world.
Exploring the best in past, present and future Black music – from
hip-hop to R&B to dancehall to drill, and everything in between
– it’s one show we’re certain to be tuning in for on the

Here, we discuss musical memories, early starts, authorship and
career highlights to date, plus, the holiday destination that
inspired her first (widely acclaimed) book, Outraged.

Where are you from and how has your background shaped and
influenced you?

South London born and bred. It’s an incredible marriage of different cultures down here, which
instilled in me a huge amount of curiosity and intrigue. I’m
fascinated by sights and sounds which is probably a result of
growing up in areas like Brixton and Tooting which are so rich in

What’s your earliest music-related memory?

My parents playing lovers rock on the record player in the
living room. One of the first songs I learnt the words to was a
song called Silly Games by Janet Kay.

Most impressive place you’ve ever travelled to in the name of

I went to Tokyo, Japan to film a music series for the BBC. It’s
one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited because it
indulges all of your senses.

What’s been your most memorable adventure to date?

My wife and I spent our honeymoon on safari in Kenya which was
unlike anything we’d ever experienced before. Hanging out with
giraffes in Giraffe Manor and being up close with big cats in
Samburu. It was unforgettable.

Do you unplug or limit your phone usage while on holidays?

My wife would like me to but there is something about being in
new places that inspires me and gives me my best ideas. I’m often
typing them into my phone when we’re on a beach – but I’m learning
to switch off more.

Tell us about the process of writing your debut book, Outraged,
and what sparked the idea for the book?

Outraged was actually one of those ideas I came up with on holiday. We were on a family trip in
Thailand and I ended up on Twitter watching the latest online
dragging unfold. It sparked a curiosity in me about why we are so
incessantly outraged on social media. I ended up taking a two-year
deep-dive into human behaviour and moments of outrage to explore
the ways in which we can be more effective in protest and

What does the cover of Outraged say about you (if

The cover is more a reflection of society than it is of me. It
demonstrates how we lock ourselves away and shut things out when we
become outraged, often allowing conflict to replace

What’s your favourite subject to talk about?

The human experience and its complexity fascinates me. Whether
it’s why we behave in certain ways or why we fall in love with
certain songs.

Which medium do you prefer: digital, print or broadcast?

The brilliant thing about existing now is that we don’t have to

Tell us about your new role as Lead Cultural Curator, Black
Music, UK at Apple Music. What does the job entail?

This position is a really exciting opportunity to help steer
Apple Music’s cultural output into the Black music space, be it
events, playlists or incredible broadcasts. It’s all about handling
the culture with care and ensuring we are celebrating and
reflecting it with appreciation and authenticity.

What can you tell us about the new show you’ll be hosting on
Apple Music 1?

Apple Music 1 is the home of music curation and every day I will
be celebrating the very best in Black music from the UK and around
the world.

Top three career highlights to date…

  1. Launching a dedicated Black music show on Apple Music 1.
  2. Interviewing Oprah Winfrey.
  3. Winning the Radio Academy award for Best Breakfast Show while
    at BBC Radio 1Xtra.

You smashed BBC Radio 1Xtra’s listening figures while on the
breakfast show. What’s been the secret to your success?

Always put the audience first!

A master of early mornings, what tips/advice have you on early
starts and staying energised?

I’m not sure that I ever mastered early mornings but my best bit
of advice is pick your outfit the night before.

Advice for aspiring musicians and presenters…

Don’t emulate anything that already exists. Find your voice and
stay true to it.

The best career advice you’ve ever been given…

You have the same 24 hours in the day as Beyoncé, use it

Where do you go in London for inspiration?


What are you reading at the moment? What’s next on your reading

Currently reading Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age.

Your favourite apps…

Apple Music and Deliveroo!

Podcasts to download now…

The Receipts Podcast.

New artists/tracks to download…

Anything by Ari Lennox or SZA and 7am by Raheaven.

What’s next on the agenda?

Creating incredible content on Apple Music 1.

Where’s your next adventure?

I’d love to take my family to Hawaii for an adventure as soon as
we can.

One piece of travel advice…

Fit everything into hand luggage if you can. It’s the most
liberating way to travel.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

GoPro, ESPA cleanser, ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy, Burt’s
Bees lip balm, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and a silk durag.

Dotty’s Pocket Guide to London

The Lowdown

Dotty is Lead Cultural Curator, Black Music, UK at Apple Music.
Listen to The Dotty Show Monday-Thursday 3-5pm BST at and The Agenda Radio every
Friday at 2-3pm BST at

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