Interview: Nelly on Being a DJ, His New Album and Playing in Branson

Categories: Interviews, Nelly

nelly_kiener_plaza.jpg
Erin Kinsella
Starting yesterday, one of the city's most recognizable voices can be heard over the airwaves daily. Nelly is taking over as host for the afternoon-drive timeslot (from 3 to 7 p.m.) at Hot 104.1. The switch will only be a temporary arrangement, while regular host Staci Static is on maternity leave.

Nelly seemed to fit right in on his first day: He immediately took to introducing music and answering phone calls all while smiling and cracking jokes. "See that? I need a raise already! I got people calling in from err'where," he remarked after a fan called in from out-of-state. Although this is a new experience for the Grammy-winning artist, he's not on his own: He has the assistance of on-air personality Janee, who is producing the show.
Shortly after his first broadcast went live, I had a brief opportunity to ask him a few questions in the studio. Here's what I found out:

Calvin Cox: How long do you expect to fill in for Staci?
Nelly: Based on scheduling and how everything looks now, we'll probably be able to fit in about three or four weeks.

Do you plan on making any changes to the format or playlists while you're here
I'm definitely going to [laughs] - I was going to say "make him pull his hair out," but [the programming manager] Mickey's already bald. But I'll see what he lets me do, and I'll try to reach out to certain people and get certain interviews that other people may not be able to get. Just try to do something different, I guess.

Is there anyone specific you have in mind as far as interviews?
I don't know - who you got in mind? [Laughs] I don't know, I'm just going to reach out to people. The worst they can do is tell me no. [Editor's note: According to an industry newsletter email sent to me, Ludacris and Kanye West are reportedly calling in today.]

What would you like to accomplish as a DJ?
We just want to drum up some interest, and make it as entertaining as possible. I'm not a big fan of controversy, but I like to get people talking - so that's what you can expect.

Will you debut any Nelly or St. Lunatics music during your time on the air?
Yeah, I think that's definitely in the works. We're definitely going to try to get some exclusives out; some songs we've had that you may not have heard, or maybe songs from an upcoming album...

Speaking of upcoming albums, is the release date set for Nelly 5.0?
5.0 is due out on November 16. As of right now, the St. Lunatics album City Free is scheduled for the same day. So, you know, we're trying to make a big day out of it. November 16!

If I can go slightly off-the-subject: How do you feel about being the first rap act to perform in Branson?
I love all my fans and everyone that's supported me down there, but if they didn't want me there it was okay with me; I don't want to go where I'm not wanted. But the promoter went through a lot to break new ground, and to have me be the first rapper so I was all for it. It's cool, I'm just happy we got everything resolved.

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