Catherine Grenfell joined 5FM as a producer in 2001 following several years in the live arena (she studied lighting, sound and stage management). She has worked with Mark Gillman, DJ Fresh and Warrick Stock (the Shady Lurker) as a producer on their shows as well as doing the Traffic. She also had her own live show on 5FM, with a live band and live studio audience.
In 2016, Catherine decided to leave 5FM and start a new adventure, freelancing as a radio and field producer and social media content director. Catherine was also involved as the Program Manager and Presenter on a new internet radio station called The Eye. Catherine was also a lecturer at Boston Media House for 5 years, where she taught Radio Theory. Teaching has become a huge passion in Catherine’s life and it is very important that she shares her knowledge and helps pave the way for new talent.
Catherine started as Head Producer at Audio Militia in 2018 (An all-encompassing Music Agency) and was recently promoted to Executive Producer and has found her happy place with this amazing team. Over the years, Catherine has had an extensive interviewing track record (from Piet Botha to Zachie Achmad, Kwesta, AKA, Charlize Theron, Pieter Dirk Uys, Pink, Arctic Monkeys, Violent Femmes, 3 Doors Down, Groove Armada, Staind, Metallica, Korn, Muse, Chris Cornell, Kaiser Chiefs, 30 seconds To Mars, Good Charlotte, and many more).
Her love of great music, both South African and international, has given her the opportunity to travel to different music festivals around South Africa and the World. Catherine has extended her love of music to DJ’ing and plays a wide variety of genres from Rock, Deep House, Electro House, Pop, Kwaito and Amapiano. Catherine has MC’d many festivals and corporate events, including SAMA’s, Oppikoppi, Mieliepop. Rocking The Daisies, Synergy, Lush Festival as well as School graduations and the IAB 2018 Digital Summit.
Catherine has been a judge for The South African Music Awards for the past 10 years has been a Loeries Awards & Ciclope Africa Awards judge. Alongside her music, Catherine’s adventurous spirit has seen her undertake many escapades, all in the name of great radio. This adventurous rock chick has bungee jumped off the world’s highest bungee bridge, shark-cage dived, abseiled and driven in an off road
rally car. On a more serious note, Catherine’s charity involvement is something she feels as passionate about as the music. As a mother, she’s no stranger to the challenges facing contemporary society and she has been involved in many charity initiatives.
She climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro for a charity organization called The Lonely Road Foundation. She has ridden the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Challenge twice, the first time for a close friend (Natalie’s Circle Of Love) and in 2013 for The Pink Drive. She has also swum the Midmar Mile 2013 with her son for The Pink Drive. She has a lot more charity work coming up for this year and hopes to change and influence people for the greater good. Catherine is also an Ambassador for The Children’s Radio Foundation and WWF SASSI. Catherine has also recently become involved in Operation Smile, which is an organization she holds very dear to her heart and wants to use her platform to make a difference in people’s lives.
Q&A with Catherine
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the entertainment and music industry.
I studied Theatre Technology at Tshwane Tech and specialised in lighting and sound. I then worked as the assistant technical manager at The Dome for a couple of years. In 2001, A friend of mine was working with 5FM breakfast show presenter, Mark Gillman, and put me forward as a producer. I got the job and then got to work with some incredible radio people for 15 years.3 years ago I started at a company called Audio Militia, where we compose music for ads, do sound design, final mix and music legalities and I work with incredible artists.
What are some of your career highlights?
- First female technical manager at The Dome.
- Working at 5FM as an executive producer and presenter on some of the biggest drive shows in the country and being given my own Live Music show.
- Teaching radio at Boston Media House and Academy of Sound Engineering.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro for charity.
- Flying overseas to interview artists and watch bands.
- Managing to keep 3 children alive, while being a single mom most of the way and having a high pressured career.
- Becoming Executive Producer and a shareholder within 2 years of being at Audio Militia.
- Doing a radio show in Ibiza
- Being a judge for the SA Music Awards for the last 12 years and recently a judge for the Loeries and Cyclope Africa Awards.
- Presenting awards at the SAMA’s and mc’ing at music festivals around SA.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 6am, take my daughter to school and start my day at Audio Militia with a team meetings discussing what our plans are. I work a lot with clients and music briefs as well as legalities of music and synch deals. I am also always on the look out for music trends, new artists and new business. I fetch my daughter after school and then finish work at 5pm, make dinner and try and have as much family time as possible. I either read or watch a movie or series and try and have a really good night’s rest.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
I think that bringing together like-minded creatives and artist is so important for the industry. Connections that are made across the entire continent, will make sure that work is being taken to another level.
How do you think we can attract foreign investment into the African entertainment industry?
I think this is actually already happening, where people are seriously noticing Africa and also different countries in Africa are working together. I think our time is now, and we are really showcasing our incredibly immense talent.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone wanting to get into the music industry?
You need to constantly check what is happening in the industry to see that you are on point, or that you yourself are starting a new trend, keeping things fresh. Make sure that you get constructive criticism about your work – and then apply it, this makes you constantly grow and your work just gets better. Make sure that you have a steady job, where you have constant income so that you can then work on your music, without having to worry about where you will sleep or what you will eat. Sadly this is a reality for musicians.
With FAME Week Africa being hosted in the Mother City, what do you love about Cape Town?
I love the international vibe to the city and its relaxing environment where you really can enjoy the beauty of nature and what the city and surrounds has to offer.
Anything else you want to add?
I am super excited to see the future of this industry throughout Africa and be a part of it.
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