After a brief go at drama school and a stint working in fashion in her early 20s, Gemma is now a multi-award winning broadcaster, published author, production company founder, magpie, life enthusiast who has almost a decade at the BBC under her belt. She has won awards for making documentaries on subjects such as young people in violent relationships. She has been the presenter of The Surgery Show on BBC Radio 1, co-produced and presented internet entertainment show, The Fox Problem. Over the years, Gemma has hosted many regular radio shows including The Breakfast Show with Trevor Nelson, her own afternoon show on BBC 1Xtra then went on to host Weekend Breakfast, then The Early Breakfast Show. As well as presenting shows, one-off’s and specials at BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 6Music and BBC World Service all the while, including travelling to Mali with Damon Albarn’s ‘Africa Express’ and winning a Rose D’or for her interview with Grace Jones. She is also founder of boutique production company – Boom Shakalaka Productions. She likes to write, explore the planet, trek mountains and DJ garage classics.
2017 saw the release of Gemma’s first book – ‘Open, a toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be’ published by Pan Macmillan.
(2015) Silver Award Winner for Best Music Special at the New York’s Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs for BBC 6Music’s – Mali Music presented by Gemma Cairney & produced by Jax Coombes.
(2014) A Women to Watch Under 30 Award at Red Magazine’s Women Of The Year Awards.
(2014) SONY GOLD for Best Documentary for Tempted by Teacher. Presented By Gemma Cairney & produced by Markthree Media for BBC Radio 1.
(2013) SONY GOLD for Best Documentary for Bruising Silence presented by Gemma Cairney & produced by Snappin’ Turtle Productions for BBC Radio 1.