Something about the word ‘podcast’ sounds kinda exciting.
Chilling in a studio, Madonna headset on, immersed in debate with an army of listeners.
Only, it doesn’t quite look like that…
Grace and I are in such intimate proximity our noses are touching, eyeballs so close we can count each other’s eyelashes.
Lucky for us, we’re good mates.
Rewind to when the story starts back in 2013, we became accidental CEOs when our hobby The Self-Esteem Team spiralled gloriously out of control. What began as something we did alongside our day jobs soon surpassed those jobs to become our full-time baby, with mental health education virtually unheard of then as demand for our classes snowballed.
Waving the wellbeing flag has been a huge learning curve, for both the company and us as people. In particular, we began to notice the older we got the more we tried to hide our age to stay relatable to the students we teach. Yet this went against everything we were championing, telling people to be their most authentic selves while squashing who we were in the process. And truth is, we lost ourselves a little. So, rather than evolve SET into something it’s not (or supress us into something we’re not), we decided to launch sister brand Grace + Nadz – a safe haven to talk all things mental health, scars inside and out, relationships, and adulting in a way we can’t necessarily do in an education environment.
And, that’s when the idea for a podcast was born. What better way to connect with a new audience than by inviting them into our world to eavesdrop on our conversations? The only problem was that we didn’t know much about the process. How do you start a podcast? Who do you turn to? Where do you go? After a lot of asking around and bugging people, we were able to put together a list of the equipment we needed.
First up, we needed a laptop.
Technically that’s second, a ghostly quiet room is key. You can choose to book a recording room, but we went with the easier (and cheaper) option of Grace’s room.
Then, two microphones.
(I thought we could just hit record on the voice memos app! Shows how much I know!)
Fortunately, with Grace’s background in music, the basic equipment is knocking around in a sea of clothes and shoes (she used to be a foot model = lots of freebies) in her room.
Well, one mic at least.
And at a cool £300+, we agree to share.
It’s not until I turn up at Grace’s house that I realise quite what this means in terms of being kissing distance apart and told to ‘basically brush your lips on the mic when speaking’.
We use Shure’s SM7B model, which looks fancy written down, though I’m told is the standard radio mic – popular for picking up a lot of ‘bottom end’. In laymen’s terms, it captures bass tones and midrange which prevents the squeaky sound most people hear when they listen to their voice back.
Next, we need software to record and edit the audio in. We choose Logic Pro, with Grace having used this to produce some of her tracks before. I nod in clueless agreement.
Finally, the retro-looking holy grail. What we refer to as ‘the red box’, otherwise known as an audio interface box. This lil’ guy expands and improves the sonic capabilities of a computer. Full transparency, I had to Google that. The model we use is Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo.
After blagging it with equipment comes the fun part. Picking topics!
We get as far as agreeing on a pilot to introduce who we are, before hitting a scary and unexpected wall – we hadn’t prepped for the oversharing.
While we’ve been relatively open about our pasts, we’re also both quite private people. Given we work in classrooms, we’ve previously managed to give the censored versions without much thought. Though the reality is for an older audience, skirting over issues just isn’t that interesting. Listeners want a piece of you. And to practice what we preach in being our ‘most authentic selves’, we want to give a piece of us.
So, we figure out ways of breaking down barriers that will still allow us to stay in a space where we feel comfy, creating five further episodes for series one:
*The Time(s) I Lost My Mind – all about our personal journeys with mental health
*No… I Don’t Wanna Get Naked! – exploring our tussle with the body positivity world
*Happy Ever After? – delving into whether our relationship status defines us
*Who Even Am I? ¬– attempting to scrutinise our struggles with identity
*Puberty Round 2: Weighing It Up – trying to understand our bodies all over again, age 30+
And that’s when we dive, headfirst into the overshare.
Aside from the occasional tech issue (having to wait for local gardeners to stop blowing leaves through Ghostbuster-esque contraptions as we keep picking up their sound) and figuring out how we want our jingle to sound, opening up is the most challenging part.
But we do it. Wine-free! And after the edit (tip, don’t do it the night before launch unless you fancy a 2am-er figuring it all out), the podcast is ready to be unleashed into the world. We upload through hosting site Anchor, which is meant to distribute to lots of different places, though as of yet it’s only playing on Spotify… so we’re still figuring it out as we go.
Much like our mental health.
Check out the Grace + Nadz podcast here.