An exploration of Nick Grimshaw, his career and his Influence on Pop music during his time at BBC Radio 1.
By Sarah Potter
Nick Grimshaw is now a household name amongst younger generations who grew through their teenage years listening to his dulcet tones on the radio. His rise to fame amongst celebrity spheres is one, admired by most millennials and Gen Z alike, and therefore as a commemorative overview as he steps down from the Radio 1 airwaves, we must start at the beginning.
Nick began his radio endeavours whilst attending the University of Liverpool in the early 2000s, studying Communications and Media. This is where he became involved with the student radio station ICON Radio which is still running today, under the name Liverpool Guild Student Media.
Despite failing his final year and graduating with an associate’s degree from the university, Nick went on to host various smaller shows before, just a few years later in 2009 going on to broadcast his breakout late night show on Radio 1 with Annie Mac. This is where he featured a nightly segment entitled “1000 Albums Everyone Says You Should Listen to but We Only Have Time to Play One Track So Here It Is”, which funnily enough was a running joke of his surrounding the idea of how long he would be on the Radio 1 airwaves. Now, 14 years later it would be safe to say if continued, he would definitely have finished the list.
The Radio 1 Breakfast Show was taken over by Grimshaw from the previous host Chris Moyles in September 2012, and was his reigning show right up until May 2018, spanning six years of waking the youth of the country up, with quirky interactive listener phone call games and an active Twitter feed, Grimshaw’s show took the nation’s obsession with social media and used it to invite generations that had previously thought of radio as old school, into the present social spheres.
From there Nick took over the drivetime slot from Gregg James and continued this role until his recent departure from the radio channel in August 2021, his last show airing on the 12th of August.
Nick Grimshaw’s influence however did not stop at the end of his radio shows, spanning outwards into fashion, celebrity, TV, and LGBT+ advocacy too.
His coming out in 2012, was a breakthrough moment in his career as this led to further recognition from sources outside of the radio sphere, namely, he was awarded the 8th position in The Independent on Sunday’s list of 101 most influential LGBT people in Britain that year. He has always been vocal about this aspect of his identity which carries through to his personal advocacy for change for homeless LGBT youth, where he is an ambassador for The Albert Kennedy Trust (Akt).
In terms of fashion, many millennials can point in the direction of Grimshaw for their possibly questionable choices in the early 2010s, often seen sporting funky cardigans and spray-on skinny jeans, Grimshaw also launched his own clothing range with the very popular Topman in 2015, which he described as his “dream wardrobe”. This influence was confirmed by GQ, who crowned Grimshaw as Best-dressed Man of 2014 in their British magazine. Although his fashion links go further back, as in the early days of his career he presented BBC’s Switch show with the timelessly fashionable Alexa Chung, confirming his status as not only a radio personality but also a celebrity from the start.
Since leaving Radio 1, Grimshaw has yet to confirm what he will pursue in the future however it has been rumoured he wants to engage in more television appearances. Given his stratospheric rise to fame from roots in Oldham, he will be sure to be a success whatever he decides to pursue.