GEA Art Ball Host Chris Hawkins on life-changing music

Ahead of The Good Estate Agency Charity Art Ball, we caught up with its brilliant host, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins, to find out what he’s looking forward to most about the evening, and just what music means to him. Here’s Chris in his own words.

The GEA Art Ball is an annual event that raises vital funds for Nordoff Robbins’ life-changing music therapy. Held this year on 16 November at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, the ball features an exhibition of the region’s biggest named artists, with entertainment from Manchester’s very own Alexander Stewart and striking eight-piece band Beat Syndicate, the world’s largest contemporary choir, Rock Choir, and DJ set by XS Manchester’s Clint Boon.

What are you most looking forward to about being a host at the GEA Art Ball?

The GEA Art Ball has been running for four years in Manchester in aid of Nordoff Robbins. Working on radio, I know of Nordoff Robbin’s vitally important music therapy and have previously been to their Pop Quiz, so it was a no brainer to be involved. The event raises an incredible amount for Nordoff Robbins in the North West and it is a terrific evening that celebrates local artists work and musicians. The event champions art in the name of fun.

Can you tell us a few words about what supporting the charity means to you?

As a father of an eight-year-old girl who loves music I can see from her what difference music makes to her life. Music therapy can better the lives of children and adults. I can’t stress enough how much music is a part of my life. From the moment we are born it affects our moods and the way you feel! Music makes a difference.

How has music changed your life?

Music has always been important to me, from nursery rhymes as a child to listening to the records my parents played. My first experience of pop music was on the radio, which inspired my working life. I feel lucky that I get to play music I love on the radio.

What was the first ever song you played on radio?

It was Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ when I was starting out as a DJ on BBC Radio Nottingham when I was a student there. It was part of the programme but I always have a soft spot for it because of this.

And please also name a song that has significance to you (they might be one and the same or definitely not the same!)

Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’. My daughter Sienna was born very premature in 2009. She was in the hospital for weeks and when we finally brought her home, I asked my wife to wait in the car with her whilst I ran into the house. I put this song on so our miracle baby could come into our home for the first time with this song playing in the background.

Find out more about the GEA Art Ball here