The story of Angela Yee’s career seems folkloric, a mythical New York tale of being in the right place at the right time.
Yee, never pursued a career in radio, but has become a sought-after radio personality, most recently being hired as a host of Power 105’s new morning show “The Breakfast Club.” It’s one success story driven by chance but solidified by talent and hustle.
Shortly after graduating from Wesleyan University, the Brooklyn native, who initially wanted to be a writer, took a job as the assistant to the CEO of Wu-Tang Corporation. That gig allowed her to cultivate priceless relationships with music insiders. Yee eventually moved on as a consultant for various companies, then took on the management role for rapper GZA from Wu-Tang Clan.
In 2004, Yee contacted Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, who she had met during Wu-Tang years. She asked him about a marketing gig at Sirius Satellite Radio. Rosenberg instead offered her an audition as a co-host on Shade 45’s morning show on Sirius, the hip-hop station he manages with Eminem.
“Absolutely no training. I never did radio a day in my life” says Yee.
She laughed when asked how her first day on the went: “Terrible! I was super nervous. They kinda just put me in here like – lets go! I think I over prepared myself. I had all this stuff written out and I was reading off of it, and I sounded like I was reading off of it. It was just, very not natural.”
She says it took about three weeks and several adjustments before she felt comfortable. “It required me doing a lot of research. I went home and listened to the show, and it’s horrible to hear when you’re not used to hearing your voice on the radio. There’s definitely a rhythm you have to pick up. There can never silence or dead air so you’re constantly having to talk about something even if in your head you’re like ‘I don’t even know what I’m saying right now. But you have to still be interesting.”
Yee spent the next six years honing her skills. From having no experience to becoming a must-stop on the ceaseless promotional parade of celebrities hawking whatever, Yee has cultivated a distinct niche and following. Her interviews consistently circulate in the blogosphere. She has interviewed hip hop moguls like Jay-Z and Eminem, comedic geniuses like Steve Carrell, video vixens like Rosa Acosta and the perennial tabloid fixture and actress Lindsay Lohan to name a few.
Out of the hundreds she has interviewed, she credits Jay-Z as one of her first great interviews. Yee interviewed the rap superstar when he had become the President of Def Jam Recordings in 2004. The interview itself took place after hours and lasted longer than Yee expected.
“I’m coming out of the bathroom and I see Jay-Z and he’s like ‘what are you doing up here?’ I said, ‘I’m about to interview you.’ He’s like, ‘You better come correct,’ but he was being funny. That was a memorable thing because that was my first big interview where you walk out and you’re like wow that interview was incredible.”
Yee has elevated herself beyond the microphone. She has become a popular fixture on urban blogs for her interviews. More than 81,000 people follow her on twitter. She helps manage new signed Roc Nation rapper Jay Electronica.
“I think I put myself in a position where I have all kinds of opportunities available to me, if God forbid something doesn’t work out, at least I have other options.”
by Lindsay Good
writer for NBC New York