Leona Graham was that annoying kid at school who had the biggest music collection, always raving about the latest Bon Jovi 7" or brandishing the mix tape she'd been up till midnight compiling.
Absolute Classic Rock Party
Four hours of your favourite classic rock tracks, every Saturday from 7pm with Leona Graham.
'I never really listened to a lot of radio when I was in my teens, I was always more interested in building my own collection of rock albums, mostly on cassettes back then,' she says 'I've got some absolute gems but they hiss too much to play on my shows!'
Amazingly though, radio presenting had never featured as part of Leona's career plan, until she signed up to study drama at Warwick university and walked into the student union on her first day:
'There was a live broadcast from the uni radio station, playing out in the bar and completely out of the blue I thought, 'that's it! I want to do that!'
Her first job after uni was with a pirate radio station, where she honed her skills on the desk and went on to present shows all over the UK. From overnight shows in Birmingham to the first female fronted breakfast show in Brighton and Top Shop's in store radio before finally finding her home at One Golden Square in April 2000.
'I went out celebrating, the night before my debut show, so my memories of that first day here are a bit hazy! I was so excited to have joined, especially as I'd been going to the V Festival since '97, and that year I presented live from the Chelmsford site, it was an incredible buzz, and still a real highlight of working here'As well as her shows every weekend on Absolute Radio, Leona can be found on our sister channel Absolute Classic Rock from 10.00am on weekdays and from 7pm on Sundays. A true rock chick at heart, she was a die hard rock fan in her teens and loves compiling the playlist for her show based on her personal collection:
'The first gig I went to was AC/DC, and I once queued for a day outside the 100 club in London to see Metallica. I was a huge Black Sabbath fan, so when I met Ozzy Osbourne a couple of years ago, that was very cool'
Most recently she's featured as the main voice of Virgin TV's movie trailers and hosts an in-flight classic rock show for Etihad Airways.(find out more about her voiceover work at
leonagraham.com). And although she's not up till the wee small hours making mix tapes any more, she's just as excited about music as she was at school, and making a very successful living out of it.
"Right now I am into One Night Only Kooks, Panic at the Disco, and the Wombats".
There's no such thing as time out for Leona either, who makes the most of her time outside the studio..."I've taken up sea kayaking and surfing". Plus Leona is in the property business, currently renovating her house and two flats in London.