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Meet Latifa Tee, the New Host of Mix Up

We caught up with the Sydney DJ and new host of mix up on triple j.

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Juggling a law degree with a career as a radio host and DJ sounds daunting but Sydney’s Latifa Tee has been making it look easy. The Sydney-based jack-of-all-trades has graduated from her slot hosting Monday Arvos on FBi radio, being handed the keys to the nationally broadcast Mix Up program on triple j.

Picking up from a stellar five year run from Andy Garvey, who curated mixes spanning all corners of the underground, Latifa’s background as a DJ and radio host have primed her to carry the Mix Up torch as its new host and curator. Latifa brings with her a passion for hip hop and a keen eye on the local scene. Ahead of her first show this Saturday, we caught up with Latifa Tee to find out what makes her tick and what we can expect from the new Mix Up.

Hey Latifa, congrats on the new gig! What’s the most exciting thing about being the new host of Mix Up?
Thank you! I’m beyond stoked to have been given the keys to the Mix Up kingdom, it’s such an honour. There’s so much to be excited about. I’m excited to invite my favourite DJs to feature on the show (@peggygou, hmu). But I’m also just really keen to support amazing up and coming local DJs and use Mix Up as a platform to represent the amazingly diverse talents and sounds emerging from the Australian and global dance music scenes. As someone who’s been a guest on Mix Up before, I know how much of a big deal it is to be invited on and I’m eager to share that opportunity with hardworking DJs who are continually innovating in the dance music scene.

What is something new you’re hoping to bring to the show?
I mean honestly, Andy Garvey has done an amazing job programming and presenting the show for the last five years. I’m keen to continue her legacy of showcasing emerging talents and sharing underground scenes and sounds with the country.

I’ll definitely be throwing my flair on it, though – I’m a sucker for all things UKG and hip hop, but I’m also a music nerd who loves finding new sounds and scenes. I’m also really committed to diversity. Dance music has forever been innovated and led by BIPOC artists and DJs and I’m determined to use the Mix Up platform to reflect this.

Do you have a favourite Mix Up from the last year or so?
My favourites from the last year or so have been C.FRIM, UNIIQU3, salute, Half Queen and Adechoon. Jax Jones’ residency was also lots of fun!

I know you’re a big fan of hip hop and R&B, who are some local artists that you’ve got on your playlist lately?
So many on my radar rn! For R&B, I’m loving CD and Pania out of Naarm who’ve released a silky smooth number called ‘Catcha Grip. I also love Becca Hatch (she’s got a new jungle track dropping next week that I’m SO keen for), Mason Dane and Milan Ring.

For hip hop, Mulalo, Nerve, Kobie Dee, 1300, and Nooky are at the top of my list. I’m also eager for A.GIRL to release more rap, her lyricism and flow is KILLER. If you haven’t seen her Bars of Steel, suss it here.

How did you get started in radio? Do you have any advice for other young people who want to get into it?
I started out presenting a weekly radio show at my university radio, SURG FM, in 2017. I was bored at uni and desperate to do something creative in my life and radio was the perfect outlet to share my love of music. I’d literally leave my law tutorials early to get to my show on time haha.

In 2018, I applied to be a presenter at FBi Radio and cut my teeth on the 1am-6am all-nighter shift. It’s a gruelling slot, but such an amazing learning experience. In my three years of presenting at FBi, I’ve been the host of Weekend Lunch, Garage Sale, and Monday Arvos. It’s been a dream working there and community radio will always hold a special place in my heart.

My advice to anyone looking to get into radio is to seek out your local community radio station or uni station and put yourself forward. The best way to get good at radio is literally by just doing it. And if you’re nervous to start solo, find a friend who loves music or shares similar interests and go on the journey with them!

 You also make a bit of music yourself; do you plan to release more? Where does making music sit for you amongst your other passions?
I do! A lot of people who’ve come to know me through DJing don’t actually know that I’ve been making music since I was 15. Like, I got signed to management in LA when I was still in high school and would take trips to the US in my school holidays to record songs, which I later released on my debut album in Japan at 17. It was pretty crazy for teenage Latifa to process.

Now, I’m an independent artist working on finding my sound, which I think is a fusion of RnB and UKG. Making music is definitely one of my biggest passions and I’m eager to learn how to produce next year once I finish law school.

Can you hint at some of the guests you’ve got planned for the show?
Ooh, can’t say too much right now! But I’ve got one of my favourite local producers and DJs lined up for my first show and I’m stoked. The mixes from all 4 DJs are hype and I’m PUMPED. 

What have been some things getting you through the lockdowns in Sydney?
April (my American blue staffy), frozen dumplings, my grandma’s peanut butter cookies and unironically blaring ‘Happiness’ by Alexis Jordan at full volume. Certified serotonin boosters.

Finally, as we inch closer to the end of 2021, which albums are in the running for your album of the year?Genesis Owusu’s Smiling With No Teeth, Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert & Tkay Maidza’s Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3.

Follow Latifa Tee here for more and check out Mix Up here (Saturdays 9pm-1am).

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