This unsung antidote to lockdown blues could help your kids keep calm

Arielle Free, who presents the early weekend breakfast show on Radio One, has been using music to help keep the nation entertained and healthy during lockdown.

Speaking on the Yahoo video series, Up Close And Socially Distant, Arielle, who began presenting the show in September 2019, said that her audience had changed from ravers and gym-goers to key workers.

“Those people who have been working through the night – it's, like tripled,” she told host Kate Thornton.

“We have our delivery people and those are trying to get essentials to the supermarkets. A lot of hospitals and wards as well have had us on.”

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“There's been a shift in terms of the early morning crew. I really feel quite honoured to actually be able to broadcast at that time, because it definitely feels that people need that point of conversation and need that company at that time in the morning.”

As well as entertaining our key workers, Arielle is also helping families shake off the stresses of lockdown and home-schooling by hosting Kid’s Kitchen Raves on Instagram and Facebook.

“My favourite thing that my friend's kids love doing is we put on big dance numbers on really fast speeds and then just like let them have a shimmy,” Arielle told Kate.

“I thought, right, I'm going to go live in the mix for an hour, and I'm not just going to play dance songs, I’m going to try and get in some family faves in there.”

Arielle said she’s already found her big hit among this age group – a remix of Baby Shark.

“I found this amazing remix of Baby Shark, which is like my number one requested tune,” she laughed. “The first time I did it, thousands of people watched it across Instagram and Facebook. And they're like, “When's the next one?’”

She continued: “I've kind of taken on this role of being like the slightly dishevelled, more erratic Joe Wicks! You never know, I might drop the Baby Shark remix at the next festival I get to DJ. I think it might go down well.” 

Arielle is also going to be doing a virtual prom on 5th June to help those children who are missing their real-life send off. It all came about after Arielle did a feature with NewsBeat about how to throw your own virtual prom.

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She told Kate: “A few schools got in touch and said, “Would you be up for just doing a live DJ set?’ I'm going to do a set on Friday 5th June. That's when a lot of proms were meant to be happening.

“Hopefully, I'll be able to stream at a number of places that people can actually put it loud in the speakers as well.”

While Arielle said she was inspired to host a virtual get together due to her niece being in Year 6 and missing her prom, the DJ said it was also a chance for her to indulge her own prom fantasies!

“I never got to go to my own prom,” she said. “So, I'm getting a prom dress on while I DJ – basically get that moment that I never got to have when I was younger. It's kind of like a bit of self-satisfaction getting involved in this prom as well!” 

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The Scottish DJ says that as well as her rave tunes helping to lift spirits, she hopes people can also show a little bit of compassion to one another during these hard times.

“A lot of people have lost their jobs, a lot of people are going to be hit quite hard financially,” she said. “A lot of us hide what we're going through, so I think it is just that thing of if someone lashes out at you or is a bit nasty to me, maybe being like, ‘OK, maybe they're having a bit of a rubbish day’.

“I know that's not always necessarily going to ring true for a lot of situations, but that's the kind of way I see it.”

Check out the next Kid’s Kitchen Rave on Facebook @ariellefreepresenter and Instagram @ariellefree. Arielle’s virtual prom DJ set will also take place on 5th June. Rave anytime, anywhere, with Arielle’s solo rave Kitchen Mix. For advice on how to support your children’s mental health, visit https://www.place2be.org.uk/

 

Up Close And Socially Distant is hosted by Kate Thornton and features weekly video catch-ups with people who are all doing whatever they can to help those around them get through lockdown.

This week Kate speaks to presenter and broadcaster Vick Hope about her work helping refugees in her local area, nationwide and overseas, to Oasis food bank and debt advice centre manager Rebekah Gibson, and to BBC Radio One DJ Arielle Free on how she’s been helping families shake off the stresses of lockdown and home-schooling by hosting Kid’s Kitchen Raves.