Zane Lowe reveals a family intervention in NZ kickstarted his award-winning career

Zane Lowe.
Zane Lowe. Photo credit: Getty Images

Internationally renowned New Zealand broadcaster Zane Lowe says his family had to stage an intervention to make him leave New Zealand and pursue his award-winning career abroad.

Speaking on the latest episode of Time to Walk, the Apple Fitness+ audio service, Lowe revealed he'd had doubts about moving overseas in 1997 despite feeling "a bit uninspired" and that his career in Aotearoa was "bottoming out a bit".

Lowe had been presenting on local music station Max TV and played with bands Urban Disturbance and Breaks Co-Op when he started to feel disillusioned with his career path.

However, an email from a fellow New Zealander who had moved to the UK and was running MTV Europe spurred him into considering a move abroad, but severe doubts set in before he was due to leave.

"That's when New Zealand really set in for me. Like, 'What more could there possibly be other than what is here?' And I said, 'I don't know if I'm going to do it'," said Lowe.

"That's when my family privately got together and decided that they were going to stage what could be only be described as, kind of, a lifestyle intervention where they just decided that I should go.

"They did that thing that only families and those closest to you can do and recognised something that you just are too scared to recognise yourself. And I was really, really freaking out. I had the ticket booked, but I was by no means going. I wasn't 100 percent certain."

Lowe said his mum suggested a walk on the local beach to help clear his mind, but initially it didn't help.

"I still really clearly remember that feeling of when we got out of the car and I put my feet on the sand and I felt connected in that moment to home, and I just didn't know why I was leaving. I couldn't think of a good enough answer," he said.

"At the end of that walk, my mum picked up a small rock and gave it to me and said, 'Carry this with you, and when you have those moments of real fear or doubt or anxiety or it's really tough and you've got no money. All that's going to happen. Just pick up the rock, and that's home.'"

Lowe said, for him, the "whole world opened up, really, from that walk".

He relocated to the UK in 1997 and began working on MTV UK from 1998. Subsequently he worked on radio station XFM before joining BBC Radio 1 in 2003, where his evening show ran until 2015.

In March 2015, Lowe left Radio 1 to launch a new station with Apple. He has become a highly acclaimed radio host and renowned interviewer with notable interviewees including Metallica, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne, Adele, Harry Styles, The Who, Taylor Swift, Damon Albarn, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Santana, Barbra Streisland, Dave Grohl, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Rick Rubin, AC/DC and Billie Eillish.

Time to Walk is a podcast-like audio feature that comes as part of Apple's paid Fitness+ subscription service, which is available in 21 countries around the world including New Zealand, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and Brazil. 

The audio is designed to help people walk more often and features famous people sharing stories, photos and music, with previous guests including Prince William, Malala Yousafzai, Rebel Wilson, Shawn Mendes and Stephen Fry.