Soundtrack Of My Life: Julie Adenuga

TV and radio presenter, north London legend

The first song I remember hearing

Elton John and Tim Rice, from The Lion King – ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’

“When I was growing up, we used to have a person come round with videotapes in their boot and that was the rental service. We had The Lion King and Hercules. In Disney [films], they always do this thing where there’s an elongated note at the end of the song and it goes into the next scene. It goes from this really euphoric happy moment to the baddie. [In The Lion King], Simba holds this note, the camera zooms out and there’s a big flash of fire. Then you’re in the cave with the hyenas. Me and my brother used to practice holding the ‘kiiiiing!’ note for as long as possible and whoever won was the winner of that day.”

The first song I fell in love with


Bob Marley – ‘Bad Card’

“My mum and dad were huge reggae fans when I was growing up. We used to listen to Beres Hammond, John Holt, Bob Marley and the Wailers on vinyl, and I remember my mum singing this song. Bob Marley was like a prophet, having listened to his music more I can understand why he meant so much to my parents. Just the way he used to speak about being beaten down by society or by governments and having his own way of thinking and being a leader.”

The first album that I ever bought

Eminem – ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’

“I learned all the words to every single song on that album. He was getting more and more popular in terms of being this guy with a chainsaw and he’d made a song about murdering his wife, so my mum and dad decided they wanted to know what the fuss was about. They asked me for the album and I remember giving it over to them thinking: ‘This is the last time I’m ever gonna have this album’. But when they’d [listened to it], they said: ‘It’s fine, I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s actually quite good’. I couldn’t believe it!”

The first gig I went to


Justin Timberlake – MEN Arena in Manchester, 2003

“It was 2003, I was 15 years old, and I was wearing a swimming costume and some River Island jeans. When we came out I was just high [on] life – and in love with Justin Timberlake. Then his car came out and everyone was screaming. So I ran underneath this security guard’s arm, threw my hand in the window to grab Justin Timberlake’s hand. He looked mortified, ripped his hand away from mine and I held my hand out as if I’d touched some magic gold. I found a picture of me in school, and on the back it says, ‘Hi Justin, this is a picture of me on a hot day in school, it’s a special gift to you, I hope you enjoy it’. I think I actually planned to give him this picture, thinking that I was going to see him again.”

The song that reminds me of home

Ofori Amponsah – ‘Otoolege’

“My parents listened to a lot of highlife which is Ghanaian music. It’s almost more like a time than a genre of music and this specific track is sung completely in Twi, which is one of the Ghanaian languages. I don’t have a clue what he’s saying, but every single member of my family absolutely loves it. This is the closer of every family event, the last song of the night when it’s about five o’clock in the morning. It’s become our family anthem.”

The song I wish I’d written

Adele – ‘Hometown Glory’

“I remember sitting in my bedroom in Palmers Green, London, and I remember listening to ‘Hometown Glory’ and I just started crying because I thought: ‘I’m never gonna be able to write a song this good. I’m so annoyed!’ It made me so sad that I put the pen and paper down and just stopped trying.”

The song I do at karaoke

Justin Timberlake – ‘Senorita’ 

“Purely because, at the end, he’s got a call and response section – it allows for some crowd participation. If there is a stage, I get off the stage and go into the crowd and put the mic next to someone. I really fancy myself as a bit of a pop star but I just don’t have any songs!”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Mahalia – ‘Jealous’ feat. Rico Nasty

“It features Rico Nasty, and it was co-written with Miraa May, both women that I think are absolutely fucking amazing. I wish we were allowed outside before this song was released because I would have been hearing it in every single club everywhere, and I’m really sad about it because it’s a brilliant tune.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Vengaboys – ‘We Like To Party! (The Vengabus)’

“It was so uncool but no one cared. I wouldn’t even call it a guilty pleasure, it’s just like, ‘Why did we like it?’ I don’t know, it got stuck in our heads.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Tekno – ‘Pana’

“It doesn’t matter where I am, it doesn’t matter what is happening, it’s the only song I know that always makes me feel exactly the same. It just brings the exact same amount of joy and happiness and euphoria to my world. Even though I can’t be at my funeral, which is annoying, I know that everybody who knows me will be happy to hear it because they know it makes me smile.”

‘Catfish UK’, presented by Julie Adenuga and Oobah Butler, starts on MTV at 9pm on 21 April

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