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  • Writer's pictureSarah Myles

HOW I GOT HERE: Jay Singleton

(How I Got Here Artwork)

Connect with this season’s guests:

Special thanks to: Alex Court, Graeme Woodcock, Heleen Kist, Kate Bullivant, Maria Passingham, Mark Loftus, Natasha S. Chowdory and Tin Hinson for providing question recordings.

Artwork by Jack Jewers-

RISE & SHINE is about giving everyone a voice within the podcast and radio industries regardless of income.

Find out more about RISE & SHINE through the website- and twitter-



Music: (description used on audio library) A playful blend of cheeky brass, retro grooves, funky licks. Plays underneath

Sound fx: Keyboard typing, internet dial up sounds

Voice 1: How would you go about getting into audio if you had to start all over again today

Voice 2: What are the things you have to learn after getting into the industry?

Voice 3: what's the one piece of advice you'd give to anyone starting out in audio?

Intro speaker: Getting your foot in the door of the audio industry can seem like a bit of a mystery cant it? Should you….. go to university?

Guest 1: and just sort of by chance, I got involved with my student radio station. Um, I had a friend who was part of it and that's where it all started

Intro speaker: Work in community radio?.

Guest 2: I think it's some of the most useful experience you can get

Intro speaker: Maybe start your own podcast?

Guest 3: I say “I'm not, well, I'm not with anybody. It's my own personal show.” And he goes with equal enthusiasm he goes, Oh yeah, sure.

Intro speaker: How I got here is a podcast from rise and shine, showcasing brilliant people from across, audio, radio, and podcasting

We’ll be hearing their stories.

Guest 4: I learned that I can do more than just specialist radio. I'm able to do mainstream sounds. I'm able to do that

Intro speaker: Tips

Guest 5: You know what, make an Excel spreadsheet. It's one of the best things I ever did for my contacts

Intro speaker: and words of wisdom.

Guest 6: If you wanted to, you could do all this yourself, but for me, you can gain so much from doing it with other people

Intro speaker: all about breaking into the audio industry.

Guest 7: Your time will come when you have loads of projects that somehow are all being released at the same time and you get to be that person.

So just don't let it freak you out too much.

Intro Speaker: So let’s get to this episode’s guest shall we?

Music: ends

Jay Singleton: My name is Jay pronouns he and him. I'm the digital content producer for a show and a company called we're in beta. I got into audio about six years ago, I was working a different job and I had a good friend of mine who began studying audio engineering and on the weekends.

And whenever I was off, we would go to his house and we'd record we'd record music. We'd invite musicians over we'd produce and REITs. And for a small, very short stint, I tried performing. A couple of years later, I would end up going to the same school that my friend went to study sound engineering. And when I was there, I really, really just fell in love with production sound was a big part of it because I'm a huge fan of music.

I've always been a huge fan of music and it runs through my family. I didn't play an instrument, but we all have been really huge fans of music. More than that. I was really in love with production. That a group of people go into a room and collaborate to create something that at the end of the day, it kind of like you play the song and it's not exactly tangible, but it's a great feeling to have made something from like a concept.

So I studied for two years. The first year I studied, I was in New York. And the first year I studied when I was in New York, I was also a freelance studio engineer. So I was going to studios, whether they were like official studios or somebody's basement studio, and we would make EPS and albums. And I wasn't quite in live sound yet.

I wouldn't get into live sound until I was in London, which I moved to for my second year of studying where I continued to freelance. Freelance studio work. I got into live performance, sound engineering towards the end of my studies in London. I was working on my dissertation and I was trying to figure out what we're going to do.

Um, everybody who was studying was pretty much doing music in some fashion and I was not a musician. I couldn't really make anything myself. So it was kind of a problem for me, but I'd been listening to podcasts for. Eight years at this point, and they've been a big part of my life. And I thought about it for a second.

That what I like in my job and my is the creativity and the opportunity to make something with sound. And also I really enjoyed it. Hearing people's stories and sharing people's stories. It wasn't like I wanted to be a host. I had no intention of being a host and having a platform, but I liked sharing a story and somebody regaling something to me. I liked the way other people who made podcasts, made me learn things and feel new things and gave me an opportunity to access different people's experiences.

So I decided that I was going to make a podcast myself, but I hadn't really figured out the works yet. A little while later, actually not much longer after a friend of mine, Sasha and I went to Milan for an audio engineers convention. I think it was called the AEs convention and we were there and we were in Milan and we're seeing these talks and speeches about equipment and like new technology and recording, frankly, that really wasn't where my interest was.

But then we saw another talk and it was this guy. He was. Older, very, very chill. And he had a room full of people there to listen to him. Talk about his favorite songs. He was the producer on songs with Luther Androse, then Paul McCartney and Kate Bush. And when he says, I want to talk about my favorite songs, people were really interested and he just plays these songs that never really made charts or anything that didn't really do well, but he had a really good time recording and making them, and this, this part did speak to me because it was the process of.

Of creating something and the enjoyment of creating stuff and sound. And I was like, this is exactly what I like. I liked this guy. So after this talk, I go to. Sasha. I go to Sasha and I kind of kind of vent to them. I say, Oh man, it'd be great. If I could talk to this guy, if this guy was my first interviewee and Sasha reads social situations differently than me.

So he just responds very matter of factly. It says, we'll ask him if he wants to be in your show. I said, Sasha, I don't have a show. And also, um, That's ridiculous. I don't, I didn't really have that many more excuses go. I go over there and I kind of wait in the queue from the finished talking to other people and he gets to me and I say, thank you.

Uh, that was really good talk. Then we stop. And I think at that point I was like, nah, I can still turn away from this. But he kind of just looks at me very intently waiting for me to say the next thing. So I, um, I say, would you be available for an interview? And he goes, Oh yeah, yeah, sure. Who were you with?

And I say, I'm not, well, I'm not with anybody. It's my own personal show. And he goes with equal enthusiasm and goes, Oh yeah, sure. And he goes, you have anything to write my number and address down with. So I pull a napkin out. And he writes his number, his address, his email, and says, I'll be back in London.

And about two weeks we can interview then just, you know, contact me then. So I go by Sasha and we are in Milan for a few more days. So when we get back to London, I am now scrambling to make a show because I have contacted him. I've. And we arranged for a day and I don't quite have a show yet. So I get to preparing the show where I started thinking of, of like a premise for this interview.

I hear something and I do the whole LibSyn thing. I get the infrastructure for a podcast ready. I'm pretty confident with recording. And then I just spend days. Kind of working, like figuring out what I'm going to ask him, a person who I've spoken to for a minute, maybe, and listened to every interview he's ever done.

I've read every, any long posts he's made to like, understand something about his past and his history and try to figure out some good questions to ask when he was playing the songs that he really enjoyed every time he would stop the song. And he would just like, tell a story about recording it. So it's the day of the interview and I go up to Welwyn garden city and.

It's a bit of, it's actually a bit of a Trek and I get there and we'll meet him in his home studio, sit across from him. And we have this interview and I mean, I'm a novice as nice as it gets, but I'd say the interview was pretty good. I mean, I dunno, I, I have questions and there were good stories that came from it.

And I did do the whole origin story thing, but the last I'd say it was a pretty good interview and I went home. The whole time. I just was like, why did this person accept interviewing with me? I have nothing to give them. There's no platform. Like he doesn't know who I am. He's literally met me for one minute, inviting me to his house, why I did that interview.

And then I did a few more for a series for a series that I made around audio engineers. And then. Then my partner said, she's part of this forum. And somebody was looking for an audio producer to consult with about making a podcast. And I go for it. I say, sure. I'll, I'll talk to her. And we speak in about a week later, she becomes my first client, I guess this is like the point where you become professional, but like somebody paid me to do it.

And for some reason they paid me to do it. Then I did a documentary where I got to speak. Speak to a bunch of other producers. It was a documentary about his digital audio and opportunity to create equality. And who can publish, is it a level playing field for sure. Who gets to be the people telling the stories in the course of doing this documentary, I got to speak to a lot of great producers.

And then my studies were over and I'm in London and I do need a visa to stay. So I go applying for jobs. Of course, I applied to like the big companies and I get turned away a lot because I was looking for a full-time job. And then I applied to their startup and they said, yeah, we wanted to do a podcast and would hire you full time to do it.

And they did. And they, they wanted me to take control of the production. We made a narrative show, and this is the third, fourth time. I don't know why people are accepting me as the person they're going to hire, but you know, they do. And ever since then, I've grown with that startup and continued publishing and we've taken on clients as a company and I've.

Produced for them as well. It's been great and I want to grow more and continue to make more interesting and better stuff and challenge myself. But that's how I got into the audio industry.

Why Audio?

Jay Singleton: I came to audio originally through my experiences as a sound engineer. And I wanted to share stories and I already knew something about audio.

So that's pretty much why audio. I mean, I guess if I picked up a camera first, I'd have been in film. It's just what I knew how to do when I got to the point where when to tell stories,

How would you go about getting into audio if you had to start all over again today?

Jay Singleton: Well, in retrospect, I feel like the way I came into audio. Really good. I ain't like the way I came to the audio bar. One thing, because I never worked with anyone or for anyone, except for clients, production felt like a very solitary work for me.

So if I were to go back, I'd make more of an effort to connect with other producers early on and just stay connected because. When I was doing music, one of the parts that I enjoyed the most was the collaboration. And I think in order to keep going and stay motivated and stay creative having other producers and other creative people around you is really important.

So if I were to go back, I would connect with people more.

Tell us a secret about breaking into the audio industry

Jay Singleton: Say yes to things and figure out a way to do it. I still wonder why my first client hired me. I still wonder why anybody agreed to do interviews with me at first, but they did. And through those experiences I learned, and even if there'll be listened to it, uh, gained experience, which I think prepared me for other opportunities as they came along.

So in short, I'd say, don't wait for somebody to give you permission to create.

What's the best mistake you've ever made?

Jay Singleton: The best mistake I've ever made, I guess, was booking a guest for a show that I didn't have yet.

What are the things you have to learn often getting into the industry? When you get into the audio industry, you've kind of learned to bond, great collaborators, just be with, be with people who make you better and you learn from, and you challenge each other.

Tell us about the person in the audio industry who helped you most when building your career?

Jay Singleton: I had a friend who I stayed with and she's a few years older than me and she was doing a career change. She was a waiter before we studied together, she was doing a one 80 career change. And after we graduated maybe a year and a half later, she was in Iceland, recording an orchestra in a lighthouse. And when I, when I heard this, I'm just like, how, but how do you, how do you get from being a full-time waiter like that?

That's, that's where your bills are being paid. So it's not like she had the free time to just do this to being in another country, recording some experimental album. She told me, basically, you have to ask for what you want. You have to say yes to the opportunities that you think you can learn from, even if they make you uncomfortable.

I know that sounds very simple and it sounded simple when she said it to me as well, but it was just sort of a matter of. Triage or something like deciding what you're going to do and just being very intentional about the things that you take on, but also being open and curious to take on interesting things that you think you could possibly learn something from.

And I think saying yes to stuff has been a big benefit for me and she doesn't work in audio production. She's working podcasting, but she is a sound engineer, touring sound in June.

What's the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone starting out in audio?

Jay Singleton:The one piece of advice I'd give to anyone starting out in audio is to make stuff that's it makes stuff. Show people say yes to stuff. Say yes to opportunities. .


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