Pop culture with a touch of shade: An interview with Claudia & Metz from LemonShade podcast
Only 22 percent of all podcasts are hosted but women, and the number is even smaller for women of color. Claudia and Metz, founders of LemonShade podcast, are filling that gap with their brilliant podcast where they discuss anything from pop culture, self care, mental health, and what it means to be Black in the UK. They embody the spirit of what black women friendship entails.
Check ot our interview with them on how they started their podcast, being authentic, and making your voice louder.
When did you all officially launch LemonShade Podcast?
Metz: The initial conversation was in September 2017 when we were in Amsterdam for Claudia's birthday. She wanted to make content for her, by her and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to get involved.
Claudia: Yes, it was something I thought about for a very long time and with Metz also wanting to create her own content too, a podcast seemed like the perfect platform
Metz: We spent two months preparing, doing research, getting the right equipment and putting thought into what we wanted to achieve, since we had no idea how to do a podcast! In the past 5 months, we have remained committed, seen our listener numbers grow as well as our Instagram which we also spend just as much time on and it has been so rewarding.
How did you come up with the name of your podcast?
Claudia & Metz: We had been brainstorming ideas for some time and nothing felt right. We are in a group chat with our friends that was named Lemonshade and we both had a moment and realised that the spirit of our friendship banter lived within that name, and it is also the spirit of how we navigate ourselves in this crazy world, always looking on the bright side with a sprinkle of shadiness and love.
How long does it take you all approximately to record each episode?
Claudia & Metz: We usually meet up on a Sunday afternoon. We spend 45 minutes going through topline topics we want to cover but don't get into detail so that when we record our conversation is organic and real. The show usually runs from an hour to an hour and a half and then the final edit process takes another hour, so basically that is our Sunday afternoon booked solid.
Where are you based?
Metz is from Toronto but we are based in London which is Claudia's home town.
Considering the fierce competition in the podcast world and the plethora of podcasts available, what makes your work stand out from the crowd?
Claudia & Metz: We have a unique friendship, being from different countries and on paper different upbringings but once we became close friends we realised we had a lot in common. Our podcast stands out because we can bring our different flavours to the same subjects we are passionate about. We are 30 somethings, women of colour working in successful careers in one of the most competitive cities in the world, and we deal with all the excitement and bullsh*t that comes with that. We hope that the authenticity of our stories and the unique situation of our friendship is what draws in our listeners. Our goal was to create content that we would want to listen to and when others do it gives us that validation.
Are you all totally self-employed through Lemonshade Podcast? If so, how long did it take you to get there? If not, do you have plans to make that transition?
Metz: We are not full time Lemonshade employees. Personally, I love my career and the experience it brings me, so the goal would not be to be a full-time podcaster, but to continue growing in other areas and always having the podcast as a platform to inspire ourselves well as our listeners to be smart successful women of colour.
Claudia: I agree. Starting the podcast has had a huge effect on how I navigate my career, especially when we recount stories from our full-time day jobs, a lot of our content is driven by our everyday experiences in the work place so I feel that we can’t choose one over the other and hope to maintain our careers and the podcast
Words have a lot of power, and I love how candid you all are on the podcast. How do you all maintain integrity in this industry? How important is it for you to be inclusive and factual in your work?
Metz: Even though we bring some shade in Lemonshade, it is never the intention to be malicious. It is about being honest and finding the comedy in stories we see each week and speaking our personal truth on how these stories affect us in our personal experience.
Claudia: It is so important that we are our whole selves and speak about subjects from our unique perspective, we always want to be authentic. We don’t always hear subjects being discussed from a perspective that we can relate to so in being true to who we are we know that there are listeners out there that will hear themselves in us.
What’s the scariest part about being an entrepreneur?
Claudia: Not knowing how your content is being received. It’s our ‘baby’ so naturally we are protective and so far we have only had positive feedback which is amazing. The idea that you may need to defend your content is scary, but we stand behind what we create.
Metz: It’s a constant reminder to always believe in yourself and what you are doing, even if you are not seeing instant tangible results.
What is something about working in the podcast business and being a black female entrepreneurs that you didn’t expect?
Metz: I didn't expect the love and support that we have had from America. It has been a blessing to have had other podcasts and blogs reach out and show support and it affirms that we are stronger and better together. As black women, when we get together and support each other, we can do great things.
Claudia: I didn’t expect listeners/followers to reach out to us as often as they do to tell us that something we said touched them or something that they saw really resonated with them, the fact that they take the time to let us know is extremely touching.
Who inspires you and why? Is it hard finding other black women in this business to mentor you? How important is it to have a mentor in this business?
Metz: I am inspired by hard working, smart and successful black women like Oprah, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, Beyoncé and Bozoma Saint John. These women are all big names, and I haven't been able to find black women locally to mentor me in my field of adverting & media. While I haven't had the opportunity, I think it is so important and in my privileged position I put myself out there to be the mentor that I personally did not have as a young person trying to make it in the business world.
Claudia: Metz and I look up to a lot of the same people who inspire us every day and I also feel like we inspire each other.
What advice would you give to black women and women of color about being an entrepreneur? And about starting their own podcast?
Metz: Do your research, be prepared and believe in yourself. That goes for any business and making your own podcast. It is important to have integrity in what you are doing and knowing yourself and the brand you want to represent to the world.
Claudia: Network with other content creators like yourself, there is a whole community of creatives who understand what you are doing and who you can learn from and vice versa.
Podcasting has shifted from a largely white demographic in recent years. Why do you think that is? Or have black and brown folks always been listening and no one was talking about it?
Metz: Podcasting, on the whole, has become so popular, so I think that the popularity has transcended races. I think that POC love to be entertained just like anyone else and this platform allows us to make and share our own content in a way that is easier than others.
Claudia: I think this is true, POC voices have become louder and more prevalent in most forms of media and entertainment in recent years which has inspired a lot of others. The podcast world is a lot more accessible for creatives who are creating their own content for the first time also, making it easier to break into.
What do your mornings look like?
Metz: I had a new year’s resolution two years ago to be a morning person, and it has changed my life massively. I am up by 6am, doing my morning ritual which is meditation, journaling and taking my time making breakfast and starting my day so I beat the morning commute rush (which in London is pure insanity). I get to work before 8:30am so I can focus on important tasks before the day ramps up and I get pulled in different directions for the rest of the day.
Claudia: I really value my mornings and use that time to think about what kind of day I am going to have, I am a big believer in intentions becoming actions. I am lucky that my mornings don’t start too early, so I have the time to chill out and start my day as I mean to go on. I also journal and usually listen to a podcast during my morning commute which is a god send when you are running the gauntlet that is public transport in London.
What are your thoughts on failure or taking risks?
Metz: I am a massive believer in taking risks and following your intuition because if I hadn't, I wouldn't be where I am now, and I am very happy to be here! I think that risks should be calculated and thought through. Plan for the worst and then live in the moment. If you don't get your desired outcome, re-visit, tweak and keep trying. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.
Claudia: I agree, you have to take risks to succeed and also to hit hurdles and learn when a risk doesn’t work out in your favour, allowing you to do things different the next time.
I don’t believe that failures really exist, they are just lessons. There are plenty of people who try at something and don’t quite get to where they want to be the first time and as Metz said, they regroup and try again and succeed in the end, even if they had to try over and over again for years. There is only failure in giving up.
What is your greatest entrepreneurial achievement to date? What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Claudia: It’s easy to second guess yourself and procrastinate when it comes to creating something of your own, so creating the podcast is my biggest achievement. Each new episode we create is an achievement and we celebrate that! I hope that Lemonshade opens up even more opportunities for us to collaborate with other creative and entrepreneurial POCs, it’s so important.
Metz: I consider my life an achievement, being able to live my dream in London, working in an exciting field and working on this show. Every day is a blessing, even though it is non-stop work, but the ambition will never end. I want to be able to keep growing so that our message of self-confidence, self-love and calling out bullsh*t will keep inspiring others.