Riverside native Brooke Reese blends music and pop culture on Apple Music Hits’ ‘Pop Hits Radio’ – Press Enterprise

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For nearly six years, radio personality Brooke Reese has been hosting music chart countdowns from around the world and interviewing some of the biggest stars in music on “The Chart Show,” which lands on the streaming service Apple Music 1 Monday-Thursday.

Though she certainly wasn’t expecting a global pandemic to put a stop to physically being in-studio and forcing her to switch over to FaceTime interviews from her West Hollywood home, she does see a couple of bright spots to the otherwise devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Reese, who was born and raised in Riverside, grew up going to the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre and is happy to see more people heading out to drive-in movie theaters throughout Southern California to safely enjoy some form of socialization and entertainment.

“Obviously, the pandemic has been so hard and scary, but a silver lining is that families and friends have really had to hit pause on their lives and reconnect with one another,” Reese said during a recent phone interview. “I think going to drive-ins and spending time with family, making those memories and going out, actually having the human connection and interaction has been important.”

When she’s not at a drive-in or daydreaming about the chicken flautas from Olivia’s Mexican Restaurant near her childhood home, Reese is studying global music charts and recording chats with artists like Monsta X, Kelly Clarkson, Charlie Puth, Ava Max, Aly & AJ, Gabby Barrett and Kane Brown for “The Chart Show.”

She’s made the best out of a challenging situation and said she’s grateful for the opportunity to continue to entertain and grow her global audience since the program is so musically diverse and can now be heard in over 165 countries.

“It’s so much fun, and my knowledge for music has grown immensely,” she said. “It’s about artists here in the U.S. having big moments, but also artists breaking around the world, so you’ve got J-pop music, K-pop music, hip-hop and so much Latin music. That’s the way people listen to music now with streaming. ‘The Chart Show’ is kind of like making your own playlist with music from around the world and everything just kind of melts together. It’s fun to see what people are listening to and what they’re connecting with on a personal level.”

Earlier this month, Reese launched a brand-new show, “Pop Hits Radio,” on Apple Music Hits, which airs on Saturdays and Sundays. The show gives Reese the freedom to run wild with ideas for a curated playlist each week. They’re crafted more like a soundtrack to specific periods of time between the 1990s and 2010s and also incorporate fashion, television shows and other pop-culture tidbits.

“I feel like everybody right now is looking for something to brighten up their world a little bit,” she said. “People are already diving into TV shows and their favorite albums and songs. My favorite thing about music is that it makes memories and holds memories for you. So when you hear something it can instantly take you back to a moment or specific state of mind.”

For example, on March 8 aka International Women’s Day, Reese dedicated the playlist to “The Ladies of 2012” and included nods to Rihanna, Pink, Kelly Clarkson before diving into the inescapable hit of that year, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

“It’s about making somebody feel like I’m letting them in and we’re having a conversation and enjoying this hour of music together,” she said. “It should feel like you’re with a friend and you’re maybe driving around in your car and you put on a song and you’re like, ‘Hey remember when this song came out?’ The idea behind this show is to make people feel included and to bring up those things you might not remember like what was in the theater that year, what was on TV and this is what you were wearing and here are the things you had in your closet.”

Reese attended Arlington High School and graduated from Cal Baptist University. She cut her teeth in radio early on working at U-FM 92.7 in Palm Springs and KGGI-FM 99.1 in Riverside. Aside from being an avid music lover and drive-in movie fan, she was also once part of a bowling league. A casual bowler now, she said it’s fun to let people assume she’s not any good at it before stepping up to the line with some skills.

“My average now is about 175, which is pretty good,” she said. “Before the pandemic, I’d go bowl at Lucky Strike when it’s like really hot in L.A. They have this great happy hour and you just go and hang out with your friends and it’s so fun … I miss that.”

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