I’m Mary Anne Hobbs and this is my blog.. I post about things that fascinate me here.

Here’s a brief biography:

I host the Weekend Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast Saturdays and Sundays, 7am – 10am.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music

I left school at 16 and went to work in an egg packing factory for the princely sum of £39 per week. At 18 I ran away to London and lived on a bus in a carpark for a year with a rock band called Heretic, and published my own fanzine Krush.

At 19 I was hired as a freelance writer for Sounds music paper, and promptly bought a ticket to Hollywood where I lived in a garden shed for a year writing about the dark underbelly of the West Coast rock scene. On my return to the UK, NME invited me to work for them as News Editor and writing major features including Nirvana’s first cover story.

I’m probably best known for a multi-dimensional 14 year career at BBC Radio 1.. the Breezeblock which became BBC Radio 1 Experimental, and the Radio 1 Rock Show.

I worked on the soundtrack for Darren Aronofsky and Clint Mansell on their Oscar winning film ‘Black Swan’, and it was nominated for a Grammy.

I’ve toured the world as a live DJ for the last 7 years, playing to my biggest crowd of 15,000 people at Sonar festival in Barcelona. It’s one of the many international festivals at which I’ve also curated.

I worked for the academic year of 2010/11 as Media Development Coordinator at Sheffield University, mentoring 700 students involved with the Student Union’s Forge Media, re-configuring their Radio, TV, Online and Press department.

I was part of the original team that won a Licence for Xfm, and I returned in 2011 for a 14 month tenure, where I was nominated for ‘Best Specialist Show’ at the Sony and Arqiva Awards 2012, and made history by winning a Primetime platform for the underground electronic music I love.

I’ve also worked on many TV shows, including Passengers, John Peel’s Record Box, and a global biker-culture series for the BBC ‘Mary Anne’s Bikes’.

I can ride any motorcycle you care to park in front of me.

My 2012 TED Talk on ‘Passion’ is here:

http://www.twitter.com/maryannehobbs

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Anne-Hobbs/197022570377321

17 comments
  1. Hi Mary,

    did you study sound design?

    I’m a radio presenter, who also has a knack for sound design, but with no formal qualifications in the field.

  2. Hi Mary! Love your site!

    We are a Liverpool University based band called ‘The Loose Hearts’ and we have recently released our debut album ‘How We Are Now’
    Here is a soundcloud link to it

    https://soundcloud.com/the-loose-hearts/sets/the-loose-hearts-how-we-are

    Would love to hear what you think of our music and we hope you enjoy listening to it

    Here is the first track off the album, ‘Can’t You See’

    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon

    Luke
    The Loose Hearts

  3. Hi Ms. Hobbs…not sure how tasteless it is to do this, but as an emerging artist you tend to be a little shameless about promotion. I’m familiar with your show, and I really think you’d dig some of the tunes we just released.

    http://musicbydor.bandcamp.com/

    Electronica; lot’s of live drum and bass; very groove oriented; some ambient texture.

    We just wanted to share them with you, and hope you enjoy them. If something grabs your attention, let us know.

    Thanks for your time!

    – John, Dor

  4. Geoff said:

    just so cool, i have never meet anyone with so much passion,dont you look back now & tremble at the danger you took,what did your parents say when you went to london ?

  5. samuel said:

    mary anne, you are just lovely. im glad you reached your utopia. you’re a huge inspiration/ just thought you should “hear” it.
    <3 samuel

  6. samuel said:

    oh and your voice is adorable too. never stop talking please :)

  7. Hello,

    My name is Badescu Bogdan, “boki” for friends. I live in Timisoara, Romania and would like your opinion on some of my work and if posible some tips or contacts. It`s hard for me since i have no one tot turn to for help or advice regarding production and i`ve tought myself everything i know. Would appreciate immensely your imput. I have no help here, Thank you.

  8. Dear Mary Anne Hobbs, my name is Michael, I’m from the USA, 45 minute’s from NYC! I have Alway’s been a fan! Are their any event’s you’ll be Spinning at in the USA anytime soon?? I wanted to come see you Spin at Club Love, in NYC but I missed the chance. You can contack me through e mail, or Facebook. Also, were may I purchase your CD, and is their a way to have it autographed? Thank’s, sincerly, Michael Reves!

  9. German Garces said:

    Hadn’t heard from you since your R1 show and I am thrilled with your subbing for Gilles.

    Anyway, where does one get the Vessel track? It is incredibly sick!

    Wanted to share the song from James Blake which I recorded live in the Coachella youtube channel this year: http://jangarces.com/blake.mp3

    I have listened to your 3 hour show like 4 times already!

    Thanks!

    • very many thanks for your kind words.. i appreciate them very much m/a..x

  10. hey, how’s it going? been working on this project – the dead albatross music prize – your new alternative to the mercurys.

    we’re currently assembling a team of our favourite ears in the land, and it’d be ace if you were up for joining us. for submissions and judging in the future, but also for a vote this year if you’re up for it. so we’d be looking for your top 5 from the shortlisted 20 here – http://www.deadalbatross.com/

    no worries at all if you can’t or you’re not up for it, but we’d love to have you on board if you like the sound of it.

    thanks very much, look forward to hearing from you :)
    paul

    • Hello Paul.. thanks for your message :) i was actually a Mercury judge this year and I pushed very hard for James Blake to win.. so i was delighted to see him victorious..i feel that it’s a richly deserved and timely win which will hopefully provide a gateway for a lot of really fascinating new musical discovery.. I love a lot of the music on your list too.. m/a..x

  11. C. said:

    Thank you Mary Anne.

    The many years of great new music you’ve shared have had big impacts on many people. Allow me to share just one avalanche of events that came from listening to the Breezeblock.

    It’s early 2002. February 26th in fact. Having stumbled onto episode 1 of Blue Jam 5 years earlier I was still continuing to hear music Chris Morris used crop up occasionally and think ‘aaaaah that’s where the background song to that wonderfully crazy monologue came from’. That was my thought at the start of that night’s Breezeblock as you played Time from Sly & The Family Stone. I instantly knew this would be a classic show.

    Then after that and the second track you announce the good news/bad news that DJ Shadow was unable to get his mix done, a nice email apology from him with an excerpt about plate spinning. The upshot is some guy called Chilly Gonzales was going to fill in.

    You had introduced me the previous year to Peaches, with the assistance of Grab My Shaft and then her headline set in October 2001 I think. This night, hearing Gonzales and finding out there was some Kitty Yo show on at 93 feet east, I think I emailed you to try and find out more and you gave me some details. I just had to go. There was Taylor Savvy, Laub and Peaches and a couple more but no Gonzales at that night. Peaches was the main reason but I would never have gone but for you (and for DJ Shadow dropping out last minute). Did you just have him hanging around? Maybe I don’t want to know any mundanity after all this time, the how’s are not important.

    This was a time when I was starting to make some online friends in London and would take the train down to visit them on some weekends. The Kitty Yo night was a couple of weeks later in March and one of my newish friends was kind enough to go and buy a ticket for me since you had to get them in person, online was sold out or something. I was actually almost decided on coming down to visit King of the Boots an event under a newsagents on Charlotte Street where Bootlegers like Osymyso and Freelance Hellraiser would throw down their crazy new mash-ups, that was the night before the Kitty-yo night so having them together was what cemented me going down.

    That night drinking mojitos as Stroke of Genius blended into new unheard bootlegs was amazing on it’s own, so everything else was already going to be a bonus. I stayed at a cheap hotel, then wandered around London the next (sunny) day. My train back was at 6am or whenever they started, it was a cheap ticket that could only be used on that train though. I trusted myself to wind up somewhere somehow until then or at worst I’d wait outside Euston for a few hours.

    Before that I headed down to Liverpool St Station from which I’d drawn directions to 93 ft East. I was all set, I had a disposable camera with about half the shots left, I figured I’d get some good pics. The night went along nicely, as each act came on I got a little closer to the stage. By the time Peaches was on I was being half crushed against it but clearly I was in the best position. Took some pics but made sure I saved one shot because there’s always a moment when you would have needed it.

    It was everything I’d hoped and more. Raw, powerful, dirty, funny, soulful, energetic, surprising. I spent about 1/3 of it lying on the stage itself, such was the force of the crowd. Afterwards I started heading out, but I had nowhere to go of course. It was only 2am, so I headed back in looking to go backstage and maybe say hello. A kindly security guy pointed me the right way and I joined a bunch of fellow fans backstage. We hung out a bit and I got to say my hello’s to Peaches and Taylor Savvy. **Apologies for the length but even now I am being as concise as I can and missing out large chunks**

    Time came when 93 ft east kicked everyone out and so the call was to carry on back at the hotel. Everyone who wasn’t supposed to be there was ordered out by security. I hung out, writing some notes about the night in a notepad for my own benefit so I think a few of them thought I was a reporter. I was accepted into the group and went back with them to the hotel. I offered to carry the wooden hula hoops Cobra Killer had used in their mid-peaches set cameo. So with them over my shoulder I waited as Peaches stopped to grab a flyer for something off the wall outside 93 ft east.

    That meant everyone else had gotten ahead and it was just us. The hotel was none other than the one by Liverpool Street Station so I was pretty much backtracing my route, only this time I was having a chat with Peaches along the way. It was crazy, but then it got epically cinematic. There was a part of the pavement we were walking along that has some raised path alongside and from above the call came out “Hey Peaches?!”

    We stopped and looked around, a couple of guys were waving a flyer. It turns out they had Chilly Gonzales booked for a gig in a few weeks. As we finished talking and turned to carry one there was one more “Hey Peaches?!” but this time the follow up was “Do you want an orange?”

    Why this guy had an orange with him at approaching 3am I don’t know, but his realisation he did and that he should totally offer it to Peaches was met with a “Sure!” from the lady herself. He was a good 20 yards away and up above, in the semi-dark of London by night, but with no hesitation he pulled his arm back and launched the orange towards us. Had I been a film camera I would have been in the ideal place, the orange was thrown to perfection and Peaches just reached up one hand, caught it in the motion of turning to start walking, saying “Thanks!” as we continued our walk.

    Then Peaches offered me some of the orange. My head was spinning, the simple sharing of some fruit yes, but that was the moment when you’ve jumped out of a plane and you really realise what you’re doing. How did I end up walking along at night having a chat with Peaches as she shares an orange with me on the way back to her hotel?

    At the hotel we knock on the door of the room and it’s swung open to the grin of Taylor Savvy. Cobra Killer and a few others are there too, wine is ordered, I try and explain what Pop Idol is and time flies by. That final picture I was saving a spot for on the disposable camera was Peaches posing on her bed like it was for a magazine cover.

    I didn’t feel tired, and things actually went on so long I eventually had to leave to make it in time for the train. That night, as you can tell, lives on vividly in my memory and due regard is always paid to you and the Breezeblock.

    A footnote is that over the Summer of 2002 and into 2003 the online community and friends I had in London grew to the point where I’d be heading down almost every other week. On my walkman I had a C-90 with Get a Move On by Mr Scruff, followed by the Gonzales set on one side and a Radio One live session by Herbert on the other. Getting off the train I’d start Scruff, arriving at London Marylebone and then walk along and up through Regent’s Park as the Gonzales set played. The sun beating down, a beautiful afternoon, wonderful music, crazy singing over the top of it. By the time I reached Camden I was in another world. Listening to it again will always take me back there now.

    So thank you Mary Anne :)

    C.

  12. pnk bch said:

    Mary Anne, we’ve never met, but I enjoy your show immensely … you play songs that I love and keep up with. I wish more people paid attention to the beauty around us. I wanted to tip my hat to your ongoing great work.

    I also wanted to share some beauty I’ve been creating over the past few years in Colorado and now Atlanta.
    If you have a moment in your day for some beauty, I’ve created homemade sounds and video that are very interesting to me.

    http://www.pnkbch.tumblr.com

    ps ‘come down to us’ is super
    makes me feel like I’m window shopping in NYC for Christmas
    with my guardian angel.

  13. Hi Mary,

    My name is Alexander & I am the editor/co-founder of Tusk Journal – an online and print journal celebrating the best of contemporary culture in the North West of England. I’m not sure if you managed to pick up a copy of Vol.0, our free debut in print released back in December, but I hope you did. In May’14 we’ll be releasing Vol.1, covering our four main fields of interest – music, fashion, lifestyle, culture (with a specific focus on Manchester & Liverpool) and would love to run an interview with you. My email address is a attached to this comment & would love to discuss some ideas with you in the near future. In Vol.0 we worked closely with the likes of SWAYS Records, Everything Everything and Victoria Warehouse – to work with you in Vol.1 would be a dream.

    Thanks Mary Anne,

    Alexander

  14. Cristina said:

    Mary Ann, I was listening to your Kate Bush show and you have the most lovely voice!

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