In two years Roman Kemp has gone from cleaning equipment at his local gym to becoming the digital presenter of The Xtra Factor. We caught up with the Capital FM DJ to talk all things X Factor, interviewing Jennifer Lawrence and his career highlights.
Roman Kemp is no stranger to the world of showbiz; son of Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp and Wham! star Shirlie Holliman, he’s quite the talent having dabbled in modelling – he’s featured in campaigns for Topman and ASOS – signing to Universal Records at the age of 15 and working with Adidas before he was headhunted by Capital FM following the success of his YouTube channel, Pitch Invasion TV. At 23 he’s built a solid career and is rapidly becoming one of the most well-known names in the entertainment industry.
Joining The Xtra Factor
It was an incredible feeling, it’s funny because two years ago I spoke to my friends and they said: “where do you want to be in five years?” And I said ‘Xtra Factor’. So I’m already three years ahead of time! I instantly felt at home. It’s a show I’ve always watched so in some way I already knew everyone and I knew how the show worked. There’s always that ‘new kid at school’ feeling but that quickly passes. I never really get nervous with work, it’s just pure excitement and gratitude for the position that I’m in.
Working with The X Factor Crew
On my first day at X Factor I was awkwardly stood in the dressing room watching Dermot and all the judges chat and have banter between one another, and I just stood to the side, but then one by one they all came over and introduced themselves and knew my name! It was the strangest thing ever that Simon and Dermot knew who I was. Everyone is just so incredibly cool and welcoming.
Dermot is the best person I’ve ever worked with, and someone that I look up to. I’m like a sponge around him, and he’s always looking to help me, whether that be letting me watch how he prepares scripts or standing with him off camera. It’s incredible to see someone so professional.
I’d go as far as saying it’s the best working relationship I’ve ever had with Rylan and Matt, we all really trust each other on screen. They are so good at what they do, I just bounce off them constantly. We all hang out before and after each show. Matt’s an incredible magician and creator of crazy games so we’re never bored and Rylan is Rylan; there’s never a dull moment. We’re like a weird little family. They’re my TV mum and dad.
Filming Judges’ Houses
It was so tough, probably more than it was watching on TV. So many emotions in such a short space of time, you really see how much this means to the contestants. It was a strange experience but amazing.
Starting at Capital FM
It was actually a happy accident. I was brought in by Richard Park and Rich Steele to do some outside broadcasts for the Capital Breakfast Show, after doing a couple they asked me to do a show demo just for fun. Then all of a sudden I was pulled into a meeting and offered a show; it all happened very quickly.
Finding the Balance Between Radio and TV
I was doing TV bits before I started at Capital, but what Capital has done is shown me my true personality, who I really am as a broadcaster. So the two (radio & TV) compliment one another so well. Capital being live every day means that the word LIVE is just a regular thing. I’ve now got myself into a position where I work seven days a week 10am-10pm, it’s tough. I’m building a career for myself and I’m just constantly wanting to learn, whether that’s from working with different producers/directors to being placed in certain situations; it’s all so helpful to my learning process.
Roman’s Career Highlights
My first live show on Capital and my first live show for The Xtra Factor. I will always remember those moments. Every day I feel like I’m in some weird dream, it’s a fun job. I’ve gone through an incredible past two years that started with me cleaning equipment in my local gym to me having the number one commercial radio show in the UK and working with Simon Cowell.
Embarrassing On-Air Moments
My job is to embarrass myself in front of beautiful and incredibly talented people every day. It’s a strange day if I’m not making a fool out of myself. It’s always difficult to pinpoint a moment but having to interview Jennifer Lawrence and show her a tattoo (it was fake) of her face on my chest was a low point. Whenever I have a crush on someone it’s difficult embarrassing myself!
Everything that’s coming out of LA at the moment is amazing, I wear lots of Mr Completely, 424 and MISBHV. They’re leading the movement of design in my opinion. Creators like Virgil Abloh & Jerry Lorenzo are basically dictating what is cool, but they also are leading of movement of customisation to clothing which I love. Most of my shopping is done online; I live on farfetch.com.
Key Winter Wardrobe Pieces
Big half-zip overcoats. They look so great, I’ve seen some of the new designs from Fear of God, Yeezy and 424 and they just look amazing. I wear Vans every day and winter means it’s time for a warmer version so the high tops come out a lot. Long draping knitted jumpers are great for winter too, I just copped an amazing piece from MISBHV that I’m obsessed with.