Top DJ Lauren Laverne has thrown her weight behind Sunderland’s City of Culture bid, arguing that her hometown doesn’t “get the credit it deserves”.
The BBC 6 Music presenter, speaking in an interview with Luxe magazine, spoke of her pride in her Wearside heritage and also mentioned some of the cultural offerings the area has for visitors.
Sunderland is one of the contenders for the 2021 UK City of Culture award, with the shortlist for the nomination due to be announced soon.
In the interview, Lauren, 38, who used to be in band Kenickie, said: “I’m not sure Sunderland always gets the credit it deserves but the city’s contribution is too great to erase.
“The city has given the world gospels, songs, glass, ships, stories... Maybe that’s why Lewis Carroll named Wonderland just after visiting.
“Perhaps we don’t shout about it enough - the 2021 bid is a good excuse to do that!
“The people of Sunderland are ‘tough, funny with soft hearts’.
“I think that’s the regional character.”
Lauren also spoke of her experiences of culture while growing up in the area.
“I’m from a big extended family and almost everyone in it was into music,” she added.
“Almost everyone sang or danced or just dressed like a pop star.
“It had always been that way - my Granda was one of 13 and was in a band with his brothers that sang in working men’s clubs.
“My Dad has always played guitar - he was a regular on the blues and folk scene and played gigs with Jimi Hendrix, Geno Washington and loads of the stalwarts of the 60s folk scene.
“So it was very natural for my brother and I to carry on with our own version of that.
“It was also wrapped up in my love of nightclubs and the North East’s ritualistic devotion to a good night out, which I think had a big influence on the way I feel about music.
“The power of culture and the way you can change your life by looking at it through a different lens were all lessons I learned from my family and their love of music.”
And despite now living in London, Lauren also said she tries to get back to her hometown as often as possible.
She said: “I love coming home.
“I always go for a run on the beach first and see friends and family.
“I also love checking out exhibitions at the Glass Centre, Winter Gardens and other local museums.
“I’ve seen some brilliant shows at The Empire and we always visit for big events like the Air Show and the Illuminations (I switched them on the other year, which was hilarious!)
“My kids like to go and say hello to Wallace the Lion and the walruses in Mowbray Park when we’re up, just like I did when I was little. “Of course the North East music scene is really vibrant, and it’s so lovely to get the chance to plug into that a bit whenever I can.”
The full interview with Lauren is in the latest Luxe magazine.
For more go to www.luxe-magazine.co.uk.