Paul Mtirara was born in Johannesburg, called Switzerland home from an early age during the political unrest in this country. He stared his radio career at Tru FM in the Eastern Cape before moving to Metro FM. In addition to his radio work, Paul also holds an MBA from Milpark Business School.
Paul has been in the radio industry for almost 20 years and built a large following for his Sunday music show while he was at Metro FM. Paul and a few others pioneered the Soul Movement in South Africa over a decade ago. Soul has become synonymous with Sundays – both on air and in venues across the country.
He describes soul as any music that touches a nerve, and has a deep emotional response. If people are not coming to Paul for relationship advice, based on the connection they feel to the music he plays, then they’re relying on him to be a human Shazam App, wanting to know the name or the rest of the lyrics of the songs he plays!
Get to know Paul a little better...
The BEST piece of radio advice you've received?
I think the best piece of advice I got about radio is I think you have to listen to radio from a listeners point of view as opposed to a broadcasters point of view. I figure we think that we know everything in radio and that’s not the case. It’s normally listeners that govern how you do radio. They’re the director and we’re the cast. That’s what it is.
Do you have any pre-show Routines?
Every single Sunday I come through and have a cup of coffee or tea an hour before the show and just sit back and think. Then I open the window and get some nice Sandton fresh air when everyone’s left Sandton on a Sunday. It’s really a nice place to be at.
When not being soulful, what do you listen to?
I know this is going to sound a bit weird, I love classical music, I just don’t know who the artists are. You know sometimes just not listening to music at all is good so that’s why talk radio also helps as well. Talk radio and classic music kind of separates the two.
You have 10 minutes to live. Who do you call?
I think I’ll call my bank manager, I don’t know why, I think I’ll just call him. Just to tell him to keep the little I’ve got SAFE in case I come back or if I need a little extra in heaven.
If you could travel back in time - which era would you want to visit?
I think I’ll go back to the 70s and the reason why I would go back to the 70s is I would like to get see how the guys in the 70s wrote music. They wrote it with pen and paper unlike today its technology driven and everything is digital. Back in the day they just wrote it from a situation they saw and experienced. I’d go back to that era and just see the creative process of how they wrote music.
What's on your bucket list?
I’d love to host a TV show, I’m not TV friendly but I think I’d love to host a TV show one day.
The perks of being on radio?
Sometimes at the airport you get to jump queues and sometimes when the air hostess knows you, they get to put you in business class. The only non-snag to it, but it’s a good thing to do, is that when you do an event and if a couple is having a dispute or there’s something wrong at home, you’re the first person they’re going to call. We have this connection, that they think I’ve got, which I don’t necessarily have most times but they think I do, because of the songs we get to play.
What is your soul food?
Every single time I’ve been on air, especially the time slot I’ve been in – I’ve always had 12pm to 3pm – it’s always been cooking. There’s always been a connection to cooking and I think when you cook there’s some part of your soul that you put into the dish, so there’s always been a connection to cooking, every single Sunday for the last 14/15 years I’ve been on air, it’s always been food.
Your most recent surprise...
In February when Thabisile [Mbete, the 702 Station Manager] gave me a call and she told me I’m starting the next Sunday... that was my most recent surprise!
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmtirara
Watch Paul answer the questions below...
Access Paul's weekly Best of Soulful Sundays playlist below...