Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Melissa Hetu

When I first met Melissa Hetu I was fascinated by her fun and easy going personality and her super-cool job as television host for a music channel. Our mutual love for travel and delicious food made for an easy friendship and I was beyond proud when Melissa scored her latest gig earlier this year. Meet Melissa Hetu! Host for BRBR, a music-television show that airs on TFO across Canada and our hip + urban girl of the week:

Hanging with Metric
How did you end up with a job in television?

Even since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a music VJ. When it came time to pick my university program, it only made sense that I enroll in broadcast journalism (at Concordia University in Montreal). As expected, the road to getting a television gig wasn’t as easy as expected and took many twists and turns. After a failed VJ audition in Montreal upon graduation, I ended up leaving on tour for a year, managing different artists. I came home broke but soon landed a job as a publicist and radio tracker for a Montreal-based label called Indica Records. 

Meanwhile, I was freelancing for different music magazines and hosting a Canadian-content radio show but still couldn’t find work in tv. It was only after I moved to Toronto in 2009 and happened to be at the right place, at the right time that I finally got to realize my dream. Just two weeks after moving, I was recruited by AUX TV to host their weekly music news, interviews and performance show called AUX Weekly.  

How did you get your job as the host of BRBR?

It was super random actually. I did a little segment on disc golfing for a Radio-Canada television show two summers ago and a few hours after the piece aired, I got a message on Facebook from a producer at TFO asking me to meet up with him. At first, I was a little skeptical but he ended up being legit. He initially offered me a gig as a reporter and music-segment host for their current magazine show called RelieF. However when I was hired, he also informed me that they wanted to eventually create a music show. In January of last year, I was called in to create the show along with a few colleagues and the rest is history!

Who are your favourite bands & artists?

Honestly, my favourite artists change all the time. I’m exposed to so much music every day that I don’t keep favorites for very long.  That said, here are a few artists that I’m really into right now:


Peter Peter -
The Balconies -
Hannah Georgas -
The Weeknd -
Metz -


Sky Ferreira -
Phantogram -
Friends -
Yuksek -

Photo Credit: Aurelien Offner
What is your typical day like?

Every day is very different. Every Monday, I usually spend the day running around Toronto shooting the show in different locations. Tuesdays, I’m usually researching. Wednesdays, I usually spend the day writing lines for the show coming up. Thursdays and Fridays, I’m either out shooting interviews and performances or editing stuff I’ve already shot. In addition to all of that, I spend a lot of time traveling to different music festivals, showcases, events, functions, etc. I never get bored!

With Arianne Moffat
Tell us about some cool opportunities you've experienced because of your job!

Another one of my passions besides music is traveling. Through my job, I’ve had the chance to travel across North America, visit some of the coolest cities, attend really interesting events and meet some of the raddest people. Some of my favorite places I’ve visited over the years include: LA, NY, Memphis, Chicago, Nashville, Texas and New Mexico. Another really neat thing I get to do is host special events and present awards. This past summer I was asked to co-host the launch of the 2013 Pan Am games in Toronto. I’ve also had the chance to judge a handful of music contests and participate in other television shows.

What is a disadvantage of your job that maybe we don't think about?

I don’t have a regular schedule so it’s really hard to sign up for weekly classes or activities. It can also make it more difficult to see friends or attend family functions or even just events I’m interested in going to. Because I can work during the day, night or on the weekend, it’s hard to have a very balanced lifestyle. That said, it also keeps things exciting!

Is there anything you would have done differently in life or advise others about?

You know what, I really believe that I got to where I am today because of all the decisions I’ve made over the years, whether good or bad. Looking back, I don’t think I would do anything differently, as every failure has led to something positive in the end. I would definitely advise others, as cheesy as it sounds, to never give up. If there’s something you really want to accomplish in life, just go ahead and do it. Know that hard work will always pay off and if you want something badly enough, somehow life will work itself out and it will happen.
With Cadence Weapon
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto? 

Sadie’s Diner - It’s a great little vegan/veggie diner that has the best vegan club sandwich and best chocolate/peanut butter/banana smoothie in town. 

Cheesewerks – those who know me know how much I’m obsessed with cheese and everything cheese-related. Cheesewerks makes the best high-end grilled cheeses in the city. They’ve also got great local wines, beers and products. My favorite sandwich is the “Los Angeles”. 

The Horseshoe Tavern – I’ve spent countless nights at The Horseshoe Tavern. If you’re looking to discover great local talent, it’s definitely the place to be at. 

The County General – Great new spot to hang out, have a casual drink and eat delicious food. They’ve also got yummy brunches on the weekends. Plus, all the food is made in-house and comes from local producers. 

Terroni – My favorite Italian food in the city! They’ve got the best cheese platter. My favorite: the C’t Mang pizza (without the meat) and the Giuggiolosa salad. 

Wrongbar – A great live music venue located in Parkdale. They’ve got the best up and coming indie and electro bands from here and abroad. They also have great DJs. 

Mel's other passion - surfing!
Who inspires you?

My mom is my #1 inspiration. She’s such a strong and wise woman. I have utmost respect for everything she’s accomplished in her life and everything she’s had to overcome. She has the best attitude and always has the best advice as well.

What would you tell your 20 year-old self?

Don’t worry, everything will be ok. I tend to be a bit of a worry-wart. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself to take a deep breath and keep telling myself that everything will work itself out, because it always does.

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?

Try things! The more things you try, the more you’ll figure out exactly what you want to do in your lifetime. Sometimes things can get really confusing, you lose your sense of self and purpose but it’s really through trying things, putting yourself out there, taking risks, meeting new people and being open to different opportunities that you really get to where you want to be.

Twitter: @melsays

Looking for more inspiration? Meet some of our past Hip + Urban Girls of the Week

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