You can’t think about Hot 97 without thinking about TT Torrez. The Bronx-bred industry professional was first introduced to the radio during her freshman year of college and later started her journey at New York City’s number one urban music station in October 2014. Torrez has been pushing the envelope, exemplifying hardwork, and climbed the ladder as a well-respected multimedia personality and music director for Hot 97. Now, she has been appointed with the well-deserved title of Vice President of Artist and Label Relations, making her the first woman of color to hold this position at Hot 97.
“I would say I’ve been preparing for this position my entire career,” the 20-year radio industry veteran told ESSENCE. As she continued to express her excitement, she reflected on a key piece of advice she received from a mentor of hers – the importance of building and fostering relationships. No matter the position, whether it be the janitor, intern, or CEO, Torrez always makes it a point to treat people with the same respect across the board. “I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. I’ve worked behind the scenes too and, in some capacity, with the labels and artists. I always worked in front as a talent as well so I’ve always been able to balance both worlds,” she continued.
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Torrez described her new position as VP of Artist/Talent Relations as “the perfect marriage” because she had already been doing the required duties and responsibilities throughout her career. “I’ve always pushed the envelope for women of color. My mother is Black [and] my father is Puerto Rican. I was raised by my mother, so I saw firsthand how hard it was for my mother as a Black woman raising eight kids on her own,” Torrez confided, who further described growing up in a “tough” environment. “We didn’t know where our next meals were coming from, but my mom always made a way. Where she may not have been the perfect mother to some, she was the perfect mother to me. She showed me what hustle and drive were all about. Because of her, it’s what pushed me to have that same hustle and tenacity and to always put passion behind whatever it is that I put my hands on.”
Humbly yet confidently, Torrez expressed how honored she felt to “be an example to women of color who want to have a leadership role and a seat at the table,” she said. She always strived for – and achieved – excellence in everything she sought after in her career but Torrez finds it most important that she’s setting the tone for those coming after her. “I keep my head down, I stay focused and I put the work in and everything that comes to me will come in time and that’s kind of how I’ve always operated. This was just God’s divine time.”
She advised young women of color in the radio industry to “not allow anyone to silence your voice” and “be your own advocate.” Torrez shared that one lesson that she learned earl in her career is that noone will have your own back like you do. “Nobody’s going to advocate more for you than you. When there is opportunity for you to take on responsibilities, not take on responsibilities, demand more pay or whatever, step up to the plate, raise your hand and show that you can do the work. Allow yourself opportunity to grow, make mistakes and learn from them,” Torrez urged to ESSENCE.