The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the latest celebrity couple joining the lucrative industry of content creation and have just released their first official podcast on Spotify for free.
The podcast by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is part of a multi-year partnership the once-royals have signed with Spotify under their new production company, Archewell Audio.
Talking about their podcast, Meghan and Harry mention in a joint statement:
“What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction. With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
Their partnership with Spotify comes just months after they signed another major deal with Netflix, which will now see Meghan and Harry turn into Hollywood producers who will be paid to commission feature films, scripted shows, documentaries, docu-series, and children’s programming exclusively for the streaming giant.
With their first series just recently launched, Harry and Meghan are going to be producing and presenting a range of podcasts for 2021, and they’re already on to a great start with the release of their first standalone holiday special created as a joint effort with Spotify-owned Gimlet. Gimlet Media, Inc. is a digital media company and podcast network, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, which was acquired by Spotify in 2019 for a whopping $230 million.
In the introductory episode, Megan says, “One of the things that my husband and I have always talked about is our passion for meeting people and hearing their stories. And no matter what the story, they usually offer you an understanding of where someone else is coming from, and in some way, remind you of a story about yourself.”
Adds Harry, “And that what this project is all about. To bring forward different perspectives, and voices, that perhaps you’ve never heard before, and find our common ground. Because when that happens, change really is possible.”
The 2020 Archewell Audio Holiday Special is a collection of inspiration, reflection, and perspective from guests around the world who share bite-sized insights into how they handled the tumultuous year. Curated throughout the month of December, guests speak openly about the power of compassion, and toast to a hopeful new year.
Featuring “people that inspire us, people we admire,” says the couple, we hear from former Georgia House Minority leader Stacey Abrams, the legendary Sir Elton John, tennis champion and former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka, late show host James Corden, chef José Andrés and founder of World Central Kitchen, professor and podcaster Brené Brown, writer and anti-racism activist Rachel Cargle, actor Tyler Perry, author Deepak Chopra, Notes on a Nervous Planet author Matt Haig, poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer, teen climate and food activist Christina Adane, and spoken word artist George the Poet.
Having all their guests to record audio diaries for the episode rather than Zoom calls, Harry explains, “We were curious to hear what they’d reflect on when they had a moment to themselves… without navigating the sometimes awkward dance of a video chat.”
Democracy advocate Stacey Abrams, who was singlehandedly responsible for fighting voter suppression in the US state of Georgia, speaks of her year both at home and on the frontlines of progress. “I gave myself permission to watch all the television I wanted, to read when I should have been working and to make mistakes, but most of all, I gave myself permission to be sad, so I could find joy on the other side,” she says.
“I love the state of Georgia and this year was a year when that love was tested. Where the darkest moments like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery of Glynn County and Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta, they were met with silence and sometimes with anger. But they were also met with the persistence of young voices who were in the streets demanding change. But they also demanded change at the ballot box. That’s something I’d always hoped for, for Georgia. But to know that it was real, to see it in action, was just transformative.”Stacey Abrams
Sir Elton John shared on his story of being on tour when the UK implemented their first official lockdown.
“Well, we were in the middle of a tour and then Covid started and we came back to England in May. And it was very strange because we were going full pelt and then all of a sudden we ground to a halt. I’m 73 years old and I’m a semi-diabetic, so I’m in a risky area there. I have an underlying condition, as they say.
You know, I’m a recovering alcoholic, so I have an AA meeting from this house every Sunday. I connect with my friends who I’ve known for about 30 years in the program, and that’s great. And if it hadn’t been for Zoom, I don’t know what I’d have done, I really don’t — without Zoom, it’s been, it’s been a lifesaver.”Elton John
It’s an undeniably moving holiday episode that’s sure to cause a few sniffles, especially Hussain Manawer’s spoken poetry near the end. Meghan and Harry end their special by toasting to our hopes going forward, and listeners will be delighted to hear Archie’s laughing wish of “Happy New Year” as the podcast’s closing note.
Find the full half-hour holiday special here:
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