Updated: Apr 6, 2019
Photos of Jill Power by Riley Paul
Jill Power is a 21 year-old Music student at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL, Canada.
Outside of her studies, you can find Jill at CHMR-FM – Memorial University’s campus radio station – hosting her weekly Morning Show/podcast, Chill with Jill. On her show, Jill finds great pleasure in promoting independent artists and business owners, especially those within our community. Some guest appearances include, but are not limited to: Tom Power, Heather Barrett, Travis Price, Basia Bulat, and Peter Mansbridge. As a result of her work on CHMR-FM, Jill quickly caught the attention of CBC Radio, where she has been working as an Associate Producer since May 2017.
Jill’s passion for broadcasting however is not limited to radio waves. Her essay, “Why We Need Efficiency Committees,” was recently featured as a full-page article in The Telegram, and has been published in The Democracy Cookbook (2017) – a collection of essays calling for democratic reform in our province. You may also remember Jill from her national television debut in an A&W commercial (2016).
JILL POWER's Q and A by Blaine Schlechter
Congratulations on your new segment on CBC – Power of Your Voice. That’s so exciting. Tell us about the interview segment and what listeners can expect when they tune in?
I’m a music student…I’m still in school studying voice at Memorial (University) with Edward Mark Murphy and basically what we’re doing is we go up to unsuspecting people in the street; preferably those without a musical background but we don’t really know until we chat with them, but must people I’ve spoken with have not had a musical background and we give them a quick voice lesson; a quick crash course on how to sing. People are really scared when they see me coming with a mike. People have been good sports about it, but there’s also people who kind of run the other way, which is to be expected. We give them a quick 5 minute crash course in how to sing and then at the end everyone sings a piece of a song, then we put together all of the clips of people singing the song and then we fade into the actual song. So it’s a really fun segment; its upbeat, it’s satirical, it’s just a fun experience for viewers and for people involved.
Photos by Riley Paul @rjp301
I would be terrified if you came up to me…I would talk to you, but I would be terrified. How did this segment become a reality and what does it mean to you?
It means so much to me. CBC has always been the dream job for me, and back in 2017 I was lucky enough to be hired on as a casual employee there. I started working as an Associate Producer with some of the local shows here in Newfoundland; On The Go primarily is the one that I’ve been working with, it’s their afternoon/evening drive home show, and that comes on Radio 1 across Newfoundland and Labrador. So I was happy to jump on board with them and contribute and I’ve been working there usually in the school year. I’m quite busy with classes and stuff so I don’t get to do as much as I’d like but in the summer I’m pretty much there full time. I get to meet people and pitch my ideas, some stick to the wall…some don’t, but it’s a really great experience and the advice that I’m getting from people there and the things I’m learning there are just invaluable. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better experience and we have a really great team here in Newfoundland as well. I’m always sad to leave at the end of the summer when that time comes around so what I did was basically said ‘hey, what can I do to continue getting work here during the school year even though I’m still a student’? We sat down and came up with a few ideas and then Power of Your Voice came up to kind of do a streeter because, people tell me I’m funny. I don’t try to be funny but people do tell me that I’m funny so we wanted to kind of do something that spoke to my humorous character and my musical background and that’s when Power of Your Voice came up. We kind of threw up a few ideas for that and basically it came together as it did and the rest is history.
If you’re going to get hands on experience, CBC is definitely the place to do it.
Oh it’s amazing. The people there are super knowledgeable and I can’t speak for the rest of the country because I’ve only worked at CBC NL, but everyone is so willing to help out new people and their just really a fabulous group.
Based on my experience here with CBC in Calgary, that feeling is across the board I think. How, and I guess when, did you decide to pursue this career path?
It’s funny actually; I kind of stumbled into it by accident. When I first started…I graduated high school in 2015, came to University…I was planning on doing music education and then I quickly kind of realized, ‘hmmm…this isn’t the career for me’. I don’t really have a whole lot of patience for teaching (laughs), so I decided I wanted to start looking elsewhere and see what else I could do. I saw that our college radio station, CHMR, was looking for morning show hosts. A few people said to me ‘Jill, I think you might be good for that…you have a good voice, you’re upbeat, you’re fun’ and I thought I had nothing to lose so I sent them an email and they really took me under their wing, they showed me the ropes. My first few episodes were questionable (laughs), but it’s a really great place to figure things out and it’s really the best place to make your mistakes because the listener base is not huge and people understand that you’re still learning so it’s a very accepting place. There’s a lot of diversity there in terms of shows, we’ve got a Jamaican show, Caribbean music, we’ve got Japanese hour…just all kinds of different stuff, so it’s a really great place to try new things and to see what works and what doesn’t. So I fell into that and started having people on the show because a lot of St John’s natives who went on to become successful in the field of broadcasting and radio actually got their start there. Like Tom Power from CBC started there, Mike Campbell, who is Mark Critch’s brother, he started there. A lot of the local radio hosts got their start there. So I started a segment called Alumni of the Month, where I would bring back these people and chat with them about ‘what did you do here at the station’ and kind of hear their story and hear their journey as to how they got to where they are basically. Through that I started meeting people and I met some people at CBC and it was really great for networking for me and I kind of got my name out there a little bit through that. St Johns is a city, but it’s basically a big town and everyone knows everyone, so when you know a few people, you kind of know everybody and that’s kind of what happened. I just made some connections, did some networking and ended up landing a job at CBC somehow.
Good for you for taking the leap, you never know what the future holds so take the opportunities as they come up right?
Absolutely. One thing that it taught me was to say yes to everything. There were some things that I was like ‘that seems kind of scary’ but I’ve really had a lot of great opportunities there to promote my work and stuff…so always say yes.
I have to ask, you got to interview a Canadian cultural icon and one of my personal favorite’s…Rick Mercer. How was that whole experience for you?
Oh my goodness…it was terrifying but it was so, so, so exciting. Rick is, honestly, one of my biggest idols and he is an icon, like you said. I had been trying for quite some time; I’ve been sending emails trying to get him on the show, but he was really busy with wrapping up his own show and doing his book tour and things like that. It took a while, but my philosophy is that there is only so often that people can say no, and if you send enough emails…eventually someone will say yes to you (laughs), so just keep harassing people to come on your show. I sent him an email and said ‘hey, I’m putting together a birthday special for my podcast, Chill with Jill, would you please come on my show? Your one of idols, I really look up to you, I’d love to chat with you’ and within a few hours I got an email back saying ‘sure, let’s set a time’ and I was blown away, it was so unreal. I had been trying for so long and I guess it was kind of just right place at the right time. We set a time and we took the phone interview and it was phenomenal.
What made you more nervous…interviewing one of your idols, or singing the National anthem at a hockey game?
I would say interviewing one of my idols because you want to impress them; you want to show them ‘hey, I know what I’m doing. I’m not like an immature college kid at a radio station’…even though I am, but you don’t want to make it seem like that, so that was really scary. And with singing the anthem at the hockey game it was scary because that was a new experience for me, but when you’re in music school you kind of get used to performing and you learn very quickly to throw your nerves out the window and just push through it.
And always say yes! So after Rick Mercer…who would your next dream interview be with, who’s getting all the Jill emails now?
Lights, hands down. A lot of my idols are actually local, so like Rick Mercer, Mark Critch, Tom Power…who I’m not related to by the way, those are all people that I really look up to. But Lights is someone who I’ve followed since 2008. I think she’s just an incredible girl boss. She does her comics and her music and I just really look up to Lights, she’s amazing.
In addition to listening to you on the air, readers can find more info about Jill at jillpower.ca and of course all the regular social media channels. Jill, thank you so much for chatting with me.
Thank you for having me.
Jill Power by Maddie Mills Photo
Jill Powers Live Soundcloud Interview
Jill Power's Instagram