How Jaguar Persevered Through Career Setbacks and Came Out on Top

Sep 13, 2022

John Cameron

3 min read

Ever since she began hosting the U.K. radio show “BBC Music Introducing” in February 2020, Jaguar has become a key disruptor in the world of dance music. In addition to breaking the careers of countless electronic musicians of color, she’s spearheaded initiatives like Future1000 and Progressing Gender Representation in U.K. Dance Music that benefit women, non-binary, and trans artists.

At a glance, it might appear as though her career trajectory has only ever moved upwards. The reality is much different. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that Jaguar Bingham faced discouragement that would have driven the average person to fall back into a less competitive industry.

Bingham grew up on Alderney in the Channel Islands and began attending raves organized in old, German bunkers. Her love for dance music deepened when she attended university in Leeds, where she gained her first experience in the broadcast media presenting a show on the student radio station.

2014 marked a major turning point. Bingham landed an internship with BBC Radio 1, making her even more sure of her career path in broadcast media. In two months she helped with Annie Mac’s radio show and at 1Xtra, the BBC’s Black music-focused station. “The Radio 1 internship was a huge turning-point in my life,” Bingham told DJ Mag in 2021. “It made me realize I had to pursue radio, and that I wanted to go back to the BBC one day as a presenter.”

Then came the obstacles. In 2017 Jaguar Bingham worked on some pilot shows for BBC Radio 1, but none of them ended up going anywhere. She recounts feeling “crushed,” and this was only compounded by the ultra-competitive entertainment market of London, where she had relocated.

“So many people will tell you no, or say, you’re not ready, it’s not for me, they’ll tell you to give up,” Bingham said. “And although it stings, it never made me want to stop.”

Bingham remained persistent, and eventually her luck started to change. That year, she was mentored by The Blessed Madonna as part of the Smirnoff Equalizing Music initiative, which aimed to double the number of female-identifying headliners at major music festivals in three years. According to Bingham, this marked “a huge turning point that helped me rebuild my confidence.”

Jaguar Bingham spent the next two and a half years hosting a show on Reprezent Radio, where she continued to hone her skills as a presenter. Then, in February 2020, came the biggest opportunity of her career. She became the new host of “BBC Music Introducing,” immediately seizing the opportunity to help level the playing field for artists belonging to marginalized communities. The years since have been nothing short of a monumental rise for the DJ and presenter.

Whether in music or another industry, anyone climbing their way up the ladder can take heed from the perseverance of Jaguar. Don’t let any setbacks discourage you. Everyone faces ups and downs on the path to their destination, but you’ll get where you’re going as long as you never give up.

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