Welcome back to Part Two of our Get To Know Our Host episode where we are shining the spotlight on the one and only Claire Murigande.
Claire is given the role of the guest and takes her spot in the hot seat whilst our previous guest, Lucy Antrobus hosts this episode.
This time we find out some of the biggest challenges in building a podcast platform like Narratives of Purpose, the things that Claire has learned along the way and some of the anchors she turns to when seeking inspiration.
We would also like to take this time to thank you, dear listener, for supporting this podcast and tuning into these incredible stories of The Narratives of Purpose.
Hello, dear listeners, and welcome to the Narratives or Purpose Podcast. I'm your host today, Lucy Antrobus and I will be taking you on a tour of excavating our lovely soulful radio poetic voice behind the podcast Narratives of Purpose about Claire Murigande's 'why?', what is going on here, who she gets on the show, why she's got something to say. Today, my role is going to be simply to be an explorer. Understanding what are the mechanics behind the motivational factors of a recently Award nominated podcast host. We are in London today at the studio after The International podcast Women's Awards and off the back of that energy and that inspiration with those women, we're gonna see why Claire does what she does.
I'm actually also a scientist by background and I've done a lot of experimentation or developed what I call my 'social experimentation laboratories' with different people around the world. We were delivering on company goals, but meanwhile I had a meta layer of exploring these different human interaction dynamics and how we could empower unlock uplift, change the system from within whilst being supportive to the cultural context in which it took place, whether that was Korea, whether it was Mexico, that was Texas, whether that was Europe, or Africa, etc. So I'm going to explore a little bit this piece on self experimentation you've mentioned, has there been any self experimentation you've done? Whether it's meditation, whether it's rituals, or retreats, or trying different nutrition, which has been a total mess up and has totally gone wrong?
Wow, while you were asking the question, I was thinking of something that worked well, but I never thought of something that didn't work at all? Well, I think what worked pretty well was that I went for two weeks on a retreat. So originally, it was a yoga retreat, and I thought, "okay, cool. I'm gonna do yoga and everything" But it turns out it was more Ayurveda thing. So at least for me, the thing that worked, or at least the eye opener was about the food you eat, being mindful of what you eat. Not that I didn't know. But just being there and having everything at hand, everything is prepared, you have to think about, it also gave me a new awareness or consciousness of how you could actually integrate that into your everyday life. In this new season, I'll be also speaking to people who are actively working in sustainable food industries, because that kind of opened something up to me, sometimes, you know something, but if you haven't experimented with it, and you realise, "oh, but where does my food come from? And how can we do better things?" And basically, what happens on the other side of the world is also going to affect me. Yeah, so experimenting with that and going away on a retreat, which was the first time I did a retreat, by the way, two full weeks. I only had books, I didn't even take my phone. I told everyone, "Listen, you can reach me again in two weeks"
Fabulous. So powerful, simple there for taking time for yourself, and also the power of food. So Claire, I now want to explore a little bit about your origins and your origin story. Can you tell me a little bit about where you come from? I like to learn and explore what cultural identities you feel part of and why?
So basically, I was born in Burundi, in East Africa. And that's where I spent the first decade of my life. So there's obviously an influence there in terms of culture, the language, the food, the music. Although I have to say music is really international, I do remember one of my older brothers always playing either Michael Jackson or Bob Marley. So yeah, that's one part. And the rest is Western European, Switzerland, because since then, I've been living in Switzerland, up until today. But the interesting thing is that I grew up in the French speaking part of Switzerland, and I've spent now almost, not exactly, but it's almost 50/50 Even though it's more of the French speaking part, and the German speaking part, which is for a tiny country, I think it's always fascinating how much a different language influences the culture. There is a common culture, obviously. But still, the fact that you speak one language is not exactly in the way you approach life. So I have a mix of all those and being a third culture kid, I would say the majority of the people I know around me, have the same. Some have even lived in more countries than I have and on different continents. So it's my norm, if you will, I was being interviewed I think it was last year, on a podcast. And she was asking me, "yeah the guests you have on your show, there's a lot of diversity..." and I was like it's not even intentional, it's just the way it is. For me, at least it's the way it is. Because that's what I know. The fact that I speak more than... I always say that I speak five or six languages, I don’t know. But just the fact that your mind can easily switch and adapt, for me, I think it's an asset. I never thought or considered that I wouldn't find a place where I belong. Because I think it's, for me, much more richer to be able to, to not fit in because it's not always fit in, but at least to be comfortable in different situations, different cultures and then find your way through. And most of the time, some people are even surprised - when I speak in German, the first time they say, "oh, you speak German?" Yes, I speak German. So I think it's this multitude and there was this amazing interview, I was also listening to one day that you don't speak about one potential, but multiple potential. And this is something I like to consider that everyone has multiple potentials. At least I'm really tapping into those at this moment. So there's a lot of influence. So there's East Africa, obviously, and there's Europe, I also want to emphasise that this is quite common, I don't have a very special background. There's a lot of people who have a similar background. And I think that's where in supporting others, it's also showing that my journey is my own, it is unique in that sense, but there are many people who have also a similar background. As highly educated as I am, as I said before, Third Culture children. And they either come from Africa, from South America, from Asia, and we kind of meet at a crossroads in either Europe, or in the US or Canada, it's not that special of a background, I would say. It's perhaps that you don't hear a lot about these people, or they probably use their voices in other ways, and this is the platform I am choosing. That's why the people I feature are... I realised at some point that there was a sort of, it might be unconscious, but I was leaning towards people who also have different migration backgrounds, right, I spoke to a lot people in Switzerland, who are just like me, either they come from Africa or somewhere else, or they come from South America, as well, Latin America, who had parents who were refugees, or they were refugees in the US, and then they came to Europe. If there was one thing that I would probably love for people to get out of my show is that basically human beings, at least in modern history, I would say, there's been a lot of migration, it can be due to crisis. But it can also just be normal economic opportunities. And then you move somewhere you meet someone, you have a family or you move with a family. And this is absolutely normal. And this is why inclusion is important, actually, is that so many people bring so many different experiences. And there's just so much to learn from that.
Fabulous. So that richness in that diversity, and the 'magic is in the mix' as I like to say. I would love to explore just briefly, you mentioned all these different cultures that form this melting pot of your background and how actually incredibly normal that is, and how many of the people that you have on your show, or your friends or people in your network community a lot of them may be of migrant origin, or they move they have a family. You also seem to move around in all these different circles in these different international cultural contexts with a lot of ease and grace. And with my experience in working with people of all sorts of different backgrounds, it can often be a struggle or a challenge to integrate to fit in to have that sense of belonging. And I feel like you're someone who shows up with quite a lot of ease and natural comfort of blending in lots of different environments. Do you have any advice for your listeners about what might be a way to either feel comfortable in their skin, irrespective of background or how to feel at home wherever they go?
It's very difficult because I think it's very individual. For me, at least the way I explain it is the fact that I like observing and I'm someone who thinks a lot before they say something, that's probably my advantage in that sense. It seems that I am doing everything with ease and grace. It might be that it's rather I am observing and trying to understand and then I look at how I can move around this environment. This is my approach, so to speak. Maybe it's been so integrated in me that I don't think about it anymore. So if I were to advise anything it's to find your network or your community. Try to see wherever you arrive, if there are people who can show you around or explain to you how things work. If you don't find that, for example, in your profession, or around your career, for example, if you're moving for economic reasons, or for a new job in your country. This is something I also learned with time is that being part of our network, a collective regroup is extremely, extremely useful, it helps a lot. And it makes things very easy. I think I was lucky that, for example, even moving to the German speaking part of Switzerland, the fact that I speak the language has helped a lot. And I can understand. So if you move to a country where you don't speak the language it is obviously very complicated. But I think, if you find a handful of people it's probably enough, or one person just to see and understand what is the new environment. I would say, observe and look and see how you can move around.
We've talked a little bit about the podcast and the 'why' about the podcast, the kinds of people you have on the podcast. That's all what the listeners get to hear about. Now, let's just take a little sneaky exploration behind the scenes. So we find ourselves now in this super cute studio, where we're recording on the River Thames, I believe we are, in this little part of London called Little Venice. But Claire, can you share with us a moment of something really funny, perhaps, or quite a memorable moment that happened behind the scenes when you're recording in the last two years?
I've done almost all the recordings in my bedroom with my laptop. And in the very beginning, I didn't even have a microphone, I had everything going through the laptop itself. And I remember recording the trailer, it's less than one minute, if I recall, around 50 seconds. And I was just holding my laptop, I was sitting on the bed. I didn't even have a desk in the room at that time. And I was holding my laptop in my two hands. To make sure that my voice or my mouth was projecting closer to the mic. And I must have tried like 2,3,4 times. At some point. I was like, "Okay, listen, I need to decide at some point, this is going to be enough. I can't make it perfect." And I just went for it. And I never listen to the trailer anymore. I just published it. And that was it. But yeah, usually it was in my bedroom the fact that everything was through zoom. It was the only place where it was silent enough.
So if you were home concocted, was there ever a time when with one of these home concoctions or recordings there was a total, excuse my language, a big &%$! up?
Yes. I forgot to press record once! So if you know Zoom, basically you can record the conversation and then every person who is speaking has their own track. But then after six months, I thought okay, this is good, I've learned how you do it, I can edit my own stuff, but I want to focus on something else. So I had someone help me to edit and produce and he was like, "yeah, yeah, sure. What computer are you using? Okay, you have a Mac - great!. So what you do is you can use Zoom, so we'll have the guests audio. But for you to make it sound even cooler. You can use the integrated software, which is GarageBand, for music and so on. And I remember that I had a super cool conversation. And I didn't press the record button on the GarageBand side. And I was like, "Oh God", and I realised that even after the recording, I stopped and I spoke with the guest again. So yeah, this is cool. We had a great conversation for like 10/15 minutes, and after I was like, "Okay, great. Now I'm gonna send everything to Tom." And I thought - Oh, I didn't press record on GarageBand!
Shoot, and how did you recover in that situation?
Well we had to make do with what we had. So we had the Zoom audio and we just passed it on there.
You managed to still keep the audio. Okay, so you didn't have to rerecord with their guest?
No, but when I did the very first recording, I tried to do it on my phone, because I was using this hosting platform. And this friend of mine said "Yeah, it's easy to record on that platform. By the way, they even have an app, which is much better, because you send it to your guests, they press a link, they don't have their laptop and so on." I was like "Okay, perfect, cool!" I recorded everything. But in the end, I couldn't hear my voice. I could hear the guest perfectly. So what I did was I went back on the platform, I recorded my questions on top, it does look like it's a conversation. But in fact, the audio that you hear from me is the piece that I recorded afterwards.
So that was a little cheeky sneak peek, some little hacks of how you've pivoted back in situations behind the scenes where it's not quite worked out. You thought you'd press record and you hadn't. And then on the subsequent occasion, you got the recording, but they just couldn't hear your voice!
And that's interesting, because in the end, that's why, I was telling you when I was recording the trailer, it will never be perfect anyway. And it just needs to be good enough, right? Good enough, at least that people hear you. I mean obviously, this is not the episode that's going to win an award. Let's be honest, right? Because it's not the best audio quality. But still, you can bring your message across. For me, it was always important to hear the guest because once I had that first experience, I knew that whatever happened with me, I could record on top, even though it doesn't seem good. But yeah, it just needs to be good enough at some point. Just don't just look for absolute perfection. And then if you're lucky enough to be part of an amazing collective of women podcasters, like the Skylark, which is based here in London, then when you're visiting Lucy in London, you might just be able to record in an amazing studio, like where we are here on the boat!
We've explored what's happened behind the scenes, things which maybe went wrong. Now I'm sort of curious to find a moment that went really right. But actually, rather than whilst you're in the recording studio, I would love to know if there's been a serendipity or just a moment of simple beauty that's happened to you, as a result of doing your podcast, whether it's, something's happened as a knock on effect of recording one of your podcasts an opportunity that's come into your light, or for one of your podcast guests, or whether simply you've just received a really beautiful, beautiful piece of feedback that helps you connect with your why, and the impact on one of your listeners, or of listening to your podcast?
Well, I've had a lot of good feedback that I've heard directly. And I always encourage people to write it down so that others can read about it, which is not always easy. But I do now have some great reviews written. So when you go online and get the podcast, you'll see all those reviews, which is always heartwarming and great to see what impact you have. Because I always think that it's not me who's having an impact with basically the people I'm talking about. And I kind of extract myself from that, which in the end is a combination. And this is something I learned as well, so it's not only "Lucy came on the show, and she spoke about Refugee Voices," but it's, "Oh, you allowed me to discover Lucy and I love the way you were asking the questions." And sometimes I'm so into it that I don't even realise it. So we just released one of our newsletters. And it's very rare, but I've already had two occasions where people reply to the newsletter saying, "congratulations, this is amazing." So I had that for the first year of the podcast, and someone that I know who's actually also one of the guests. She said, "Oh, wow, that's great. One year, congratulations. It's amazing what you're doing, keep on doing it!" right. And then now, September 2022, right before launching season four, I had someone as well reply and say, "this is incredible. I wish you all the best for the awards," which by the way didn't get anything but just the fact of being shortlisted, among other big names. It's already incredible. And just having someone who listens to the podcast reply and say, "Hey, I wish you all the best for the awards. I hope you bring something back from London. And by the way, you should be proud of yourself, because you're inspiring a lot of people" That came absolutely out of the blue for me, I was not expecting that. It was a proud moment I have to say.
And so podcasters, I mean we heard from the podcasting community, there's not very much money in it. People do it for the passion. There's a lot of amazing women who are getting into podcasts, from all the different co-host attendees nominations across mental health, relationships, wellness, social impact leadership, all the things, all the ages, all the different types of women's, colours, shapes, sizes, the whole shebang, podcasting, it's kind of a vocation, isn't it? It's not really a job, but a vocation experience. So why do you do it?
Because you have something to say. Either on your own it can be a solo show. I know some people who just talk, or you notice a gap that you want to fill like what I'm doing with the guests that I have. I think it's just because you have something to say. That was one of the quotes by the way, I think on the awards. But there was also one of the winners who said "create the content you want to see." And for me it's the same as the well known quote, "Be the change you want to see." So if you see something is missing, and you can do it, then just do it. Just go for it!
Claire as a parting message for your listeners over the years about your why, why you do the podcast, why do you think it's worth you raising your voice, using your influence, them raising their voices... is there a concluding message you want your listeners to part with?
Stay curious and open. I mean, it can be that you want to use your voice, maybe you just want to use your words differently and write. But the thing is, I think I have much more influence, or at least much more impact when I use my voice. So this is my choice. But it can be that someone else is rather more into writing - just stay curious and use what you want to use, to the best of your ability to be the change or bring the change about that you want to see. It's not always easy, I have to say. But again, I think the power of the collective, there's so many people doing so many things that when you start, you attract the people around you. And that's how you continue to move forward. At least that's my experience so far.
As somebody who's clearly tapped into different contexts and different inspirations in your different mediums, Claire, when you need to go and top yourself up, get some inspiration, get some wisdom from the outside world that you can't find in yourself in that moment or in your intimate community. Where do you go? And I'd also love to know, which podcasts might you recommend to your listeners if they want to mix it up?
It's mostly music where I find inspiration, music and radio for some reason I'm very auditory. My most heightened sense is listening. So I love to listen to radio shows and podcasts as well.
What's a song that you've been listening to recently, you just can't get enough of?
What you've been playing at home. I mean, since you're hosting me, the music you’ve been playing has been mostly in my head recently.
I've been listening to Steve Monite’s ‘Only You’, I think it's Nigerian disco from the 80s. We have been bopping to that and if you need a tune on a Friday evening 5pm to sort of disconnect and settle into the weekend after an aggressive working week, then that can help. Catch The Soul on Fire or The Body Grooving.
But in terms of podcasts, I discovered quite a few recently, there's one that's called Our Body Politic, it's from an African American journalist. And I really like her angle because she's really tackling current issues, but really with the angle of saying, "women of colour also have their say, and this is their perspective". So I've learned a lot about the system in the US and about a perspective from the inside. And it's really amazing. I think it's a weekly show. There is another one, it's a music podcast, which is quite interesting. It is two DJs, they're based in Canada, they just put on their set, and just share the new sounds that they discover most of the time, the sounds you don't even know about. And they play their own sounds. And at some point, they also have some artists coming in and have some interviews. And I really found the concept pretty cool that it's a music podcast, right? It's not only an interview or someone speaking, then you get to dance and to choose the vibes you want. These are two amongst so many, many, many more that I listen to I just don't even know where to start. But I listen to a lot of them and it can be topics like politics, whatever, I'm always curious to learn new things.
So thank you, Claire, so much for this time together, I felt really privileged to have the opportunity to dive into your story a little bit. Thanks so much to all the listeners and do share comments, feedback, requests of the next kind of conversations that you want to see appearing on this channel. Love y'all.
That's it dear listeners, it is the end of Part Two of this special episode marking the two year anniversary of Narratives of Purpose, with Lucy Antrobus putting me in the hot seat. Since the beginning, I have had many people ask me to share why I created this podcast and to share about my personal journey as well. So I hope it was worthwhile waiting two years after launching this platform. As always, if you love what you hear and want to support our podcast, there is a lot you can do. One thing is to share this episode with your network and your friends. The other thing is to give us a review on Apple podcasts and leave us a five star rating on Spotify. We would also love to count you in our Narratives of Purpose Community of Amplifiers. So do connect with us through our social handles. You will find us on Instagram narrativesofpurpose_podcast, as well as LinkedIn at Narratives of Purpose Podcast. And you can also join our monthly newsletter through our website at narratives-of-purpose.podcastpage.io. You will find the link in the show notes. The next episode will be in the new year 2023. Until then, take care of yourself stay well stay inspired