Kia Johnson has been all over our TVs and Radios for many years and has become a household name after her work on shows like Expresso Morning Show, Metro Fm, SAFM and Radio 2000. She also played an active part in the Vote for Table Mountain Campaign to get Table Mountain selected as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. If that doesn't make her an honorary Cape Tonian, we don't know what will!
Q: What has been your top 3 experiences on the Radio in South Africa?
A: A few years back, I was asked to interview international Chef, Gordon Ramsay, during his visit in South Africa. Upon his arrival, he was quite guarded, and this limited access for everyone to interact with him. Despite that and my love for a good challenge, I was willing to work hard and put in a lot of effort to achieve my end goal. My first step was to double-up my scheduled interviews by offering my services to another company and working from the early morning straight into the night for a few days, just to make sure my face was seen. Eventually, my feet were in so much pain from the long hours of producing and presenting, however the hard work and perseverance finally got me the approval I needed. When I eventually met Chef Ramsay, I was so nervous but thankfully, I managed to pull myself together and conduct a wonderful interview.
My second experience is more generalised as it encompasses all the amazing musicians I have encountered over time through interviews and events. One key opportunity I had was engaging with hip-hop and house music DJ, Nick Holder, who has produced collaborations with a number of South African artists. I was humbled by his down-to-earth nature, despite being the popular musician that he is. Needless to say, we have a blend of many beautiful, cultural diversities which reflect in our music, and most of my interviews with many local talents showcased that. My ultimate moments were always the appreciation and gratitude I received from local musicians for the nationwide opportunity to present their music on-air.
Lastly, I interviewed English actor and comedian, John Cleese. Through producing and presenting my own content on radio, I have found that when you embark on international interviews you don’t really expect to get a response immediately. However, this wasn’t the case with John and for some odd reason, I thought he would be stern and somewhat rude. But halfway through the interview, I packed up laughing. He was such a pleasant guest and also, very funny.
Q: What are your 3 best experiences in Cape Town as a city?
A: I have travelled locally and internationally but have to admit I’m a complete sucker when it comes to Cape Town. One of my fondest memories was growing up in my hometown, Bellville. I loved writing poetry and would always take the opportunity to enjoy a sunset view of Table Mountain by climbing up on the side wall of our house, sitting on what I turned into my own personalised ‘couch’, writing and enjoying the last rays of sunshine for the day.
My second experience is quite a recent one. Although I love a fancy hotel or bed and breakfast, most times I want to disconnect from the crazy hustle I encounter every day. My husband and I were on the search for a ‘getting close to nature’ type of getaway and stumbled across a place called Beaverlac, located in the Groot Winterhoek mountains in Porterville. We weren’t really prepared and only found out two days prior to arriving that there’s no internet and no mobile phone connection. For a few seconds my heart panicked, but upon our arrival, it only took me a few hours to enjoy the break from the busy schedule of the city life. We hiked, we slept (I work early morning hours this is a rare luxury) and then my husband proposed! It was the perfect setting, the perfect moment and definitely a place I would love to visit again.
Another wonderful moment I’ve had is a gorgeous spa treatment from the Mangwanani Boutique Spa in the Southern Sun: The Cullinan which is located in the Cape Town City Centre. The ladies spoilt me so much! I indulged in a back massage, a manicure and pedicure while sipping on bubbly. Some well-deserved ‘me time.’
Q: If you had to tell a tourist to go for one activity on his last day in Cape Town, which one would it be?
A: Shark cage diving! It’s the ultimate experience; getting up-close and personal with a shark is quite the thrill!
Q: What is your advice to upcoming kids looking to make a career on Radio?
A: Being authentic and not imitating others, whether locally or internationally, is one of the greatest advantages you can have in order to be one step ahead of the rest. For instance, I have a loud laugh and voice, however, I’d often be told to be quiet. I even considered it until one day I realised ‘being quiet’ is not who I am. Furthermore, whenever I met fans, their first words would be, ‘wow I love your laugh’ or ‘I love your voice.’ I feel very blessed when I have these moments.
You should also be prepared to work hard and think on your feet. The industry has become quite saturated over the past few years, so by being yourself, being true to your personality and putting in what you want to get out – that will definitely help you along the way.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
A: Well, I was a nerd and an introvert growing up. You would always find me buried in my world of books. But the one advantage I always had was being able to deliver well-spoken and well-written speeches in class. Later I became quite a chatterbox (which I still am) and found myself entering the world of media. I thought to be a master of ceremonies was the same as delivering a speech, but I was wrong. It’s a completely different responsibility and energy, my nerves would always get the best of me. I would stand on a stage with my hand trembling while holding the mic and my notes and the worst is, my throat would get really dry. It’s something I still experience but not as intense.
Q: What's the one thing you'd like to achieve in 2018?
A: I think as humans we need to stop allowing ourselves to become engulfed and consumed by just about anything. There are many crisis situations that need more of our time and most of these can be resolved if we all stand together, change our thinking and embrace positive change. So, I am hoping to join those who are trying to help others with the mechanisms to do so. 2018 should be a year to celebrate and finally embrace unity.
Q: What is your biggest passion in life?
A: My family ☺