Soundtrack Of My Life: Mo Gilligan

Comedian and recently-announced presenter of next year's Brit Awards

The first song I remember hearing

Bob Marley – ‘Get Up, Stand Up’

“It used to be my [favourite] song as a kid. My mum would normally play a lot of reggae on Sundays when she would be cooking. It was always Bob Marley, reggae was always on.”

The first song I fell in love with


Michael Jackson – ‘Bad’

“It was one of those songs where you’d play it at a party and I’d just start dancing. It brings back memories of going to my auntie’s house and being made to dance. As a kid, they’d be like: ‘Dance in the middle! We’ll give you a fiver!” I was always ready to dance for a bit of money, man.”

The first album I ever bought

Ludacris – ‘Word Of Mouf’

“I remember my mum gave me some money and I went into Virgin Megastores. He had this song called ‘Roll Out’ and I used to love the video, and I saw his new album there. My mum had no idea what music I was listening to. My sister was into R&B and old school garage and I started listening to a lot more rap and hip-hop during secondary school. When you’re young, what’s popular is what you’re gonna listen to. When I listen to it now, I’m like: ‘Oh man, this reminds me of being in year seven.’

The first gig I went to


Jay-Z and Kanye West, ‘Watch The Throne’ tour, 2012

“I started going to gigs quite late. We were right at the front. I remember giving Kanye a nod, he nodded back, and my friends went mad. It was amazing. I could probably write a book about how much I enjoyed the gig and what it meant to me. I had two tickets, so I went again on the Sunday, by myself. I got to experience it twice. It was better the first time but still amazing the second. I’ll never forget when Kanye said: ‘This is the best show you’re ever going to go to.’ Definitely the best gig, hands down.”

The song that reminds me of home

The Streets – ‘Has It Come To This?’

“That is such a UK sound. I remember listening to it on pirate radio. I didn’t really know about The Streets or Mike Skinner at that age, but for me, it’s one of the most UK tracks. Everything about it, the things he’s talking about. I think he’s originally from Birmingham, but it just feels like such a UK sound and such a garage song as well.”

The song I wish I’d written

Gloria Gaynor – ‘I Will Survive’

“I watched a documentary about this song, I just caught it on the off-chance on BBC4. They were giving out facts about how many times it’s probably been played and it made me think – if you wrote that song, your royalties would set you up for life. It never gets old. Whoever wrote that is laughing, boy.”

The song I do at karaoke

Oasis – ‘Wonderwall/ Nelly – ‘Hot In Herre’

“I do like a bit of karaoke. I’ve got two. ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis – I just know the first couple of verses, probably the first eight bars. The other one is Nelly, ‘Hot In Herre’. I know all the words to that and whenever it comes on, I’m like: ‘This is my song’. ‘Wonderwall’ goes down best because everyone else can get involved. It’s the epitome of a British song.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Vengaboys – ‘We Like To Party’

“I don’t even know the lyrics but, I always catch myself humming it every now and again around the house. The amount of times I’m just driving and it’s like ‘de-de-da-da-da-da-deeer-deeer’. And you know that other song that goes ‘ooh-ee-ooh-ah-aah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang’ [by Witch Doctor]? That is imprinted in my brain somewhere.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Axel F – ‘Crazy Frog’

“You know when you’re young and you’re like: ‘This is incredible, man, you can put this on your phone’. That reminds me of when music started to get a bit nuts in the noughties. It was one of them songs that sounded fun, then after a while it was torture.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’

“On my Spotify round-up that was my most played song of 2020. It’s a bit uplifting. I don’t want it to be too sad. I don’t want everyone crying. I’ve always said that at my funeral people have to wear bright colours and they have to have the biggest afterparty ever in my honour. That is a must. It has to be a massive party.”

‘Mo Gilligan and Friends: The Black British Takeover’ is on December 8 at The O2 Arena in London – tickets are available here.

You May Like