About a year ago when I started blogging on The Rina Collective, one of my cousins mentioned podcasting as something I could try. At the time, I wasn’t really listening to podcasts, except for some that I heard through the Hip Hop community, like Drink Champs and The Joe Budden Podcast. It wasn’t until a few months later in December that one of my closest friends mentioned about podcasting to me. He told me that because of my passion for music, poetry, books, and wisdom, that my voice needs to be heard outside of the blog. YAY for friends who can see your strengths and abilities far better than you can. As a girl who grew up majority of her life as an introvert, I never thought podcasting would even be a possibility.
Growing up, I was always somewhat quiet and reserved, but it didn’t get worse until my father left my life. The trauma of abandonment and realization that a 10 year old will now only have guidance from one parent instead of two, was a lot, and at school and family gatherings, I did my very best to hide that pain for years. Because of that, my voice was taken away, and it wasn’t until high school that I began to learn about myself; my personality grew into something more than just a quiet girl with a smile. Spoken word was a huge accomplishment for me because performing poetry was the first time that I felt my voice had power, and I wouldn’t be interrupted. Poetry is the reason I can talk to you openly on this blog, and try my best to help with any advice I have.
After I started my new job this year and got settled into my new journey, I searched for podcasting classes in my local area. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, they have a public broadcasting non-profit called Cambridge Community Television, and I saw that they were hosting a 4-week podcasting class in May. My teacher was Christopher Hope, the co-founder of The Loop Lab, a non-profit organization with the mission to empower young Cambridge adults to enter STEM fields through audio engineering and music production. With his knowledge, I learned everything from the type of equipment used for podcasting, editing software and how to edit, how to find royalty free music, and the various platforms to host the podcast like Libsyn, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and even on WordPress. I was incredibly nervous on the first day of class because I was doubting myself, but I had to keep reassuring myself that my voice was important, and this would be one challenge that could change the course of my life moving forward.
By the end of the class, my classmates and I each produced a 5-minute podcast episode. Although I had the opportunity to use equipment and a studio at CCTV, I decided to record at home because it felt more authentic and comfortable. Just a month ago in April, I took a one day course on audio storytelling at GrubStreet, instructed by writer and host of the Las Cafecitas Podcast, Maria Murriel. With that course and the podcasting class combined, I tried my hardest to talk about a recent blog post without sounding like a robot. On the week of my birthday, it actually premiered on CCTV through their live stream on their website, and on television where any Cambridge resident could watch and listen. For those who didn’t get a chance to hear it, I present to you my final product below:
Episode 1: My Life After College | “The Rina Collective Podcast”
I still can’t believe that I not only hosted my own episode, but produced it as well. All the edits and preparation took about five hours, and I had no script. After listening to it again right now, I do see how my voice sounds like I was reading from something, but I think since I was re-recording so much after messing up so many one-takes, I started to memorize what I wanted to say. Plus, five minutes was so difficult for someone like me who usually rambles, and I edited out so much blank space and “umms.” Moving forward, trying to figure out my voice and sound more personable like I am in writing is something that I need to work on, audio wise. Other than that, it was incredibly fun to talk about my journey after graduating from college, and admire Prince in honor of his birthday.
I’m still figuring out what I want my future podcast to be called and the focus around it, but I want it to be centered around a topic that I love talking about, and hope that it will connect to an audience that will appreciate my take on it. I’m currently in this resourceful Facebook group called ‘WOC Podcasters’ a large community with women of color who initially all came together via Twitter when they applied for Spotify’s Sound-Up Bootcamp earlier this year. It’s a blessing to learn from women across the country on their own journeys with podcasting, developing their voices, and growing an audience. I’m also listening to more podcasts and radio shows, particularly Boston Come Through, Small Doses With Amanda Seales, and Therapy For Black Girls. I’m proud that I conquered my fear of speaking out loud without spoken word and writing, and I hope that I can create and premiere a podcast within the next few months.
If you are introverted or always called “quiet”, don’t let that define you, and don’t hide your brilliant personality forever. Who knows what opportunities may come at you, or what challenges that will get you to be more open. Don’t shut them out.