By Aaron Wagner
Podcasts are hot right now. They’re all around us. Heck, we have three shows ourselves.
But there’s a new podcast that is shaking up the podcast world in country music and that is Make It Up As We Go.
Rising actress and artist Scarlett Burke is the mastermind behind the scripted podcast as she is one of the co-creators, directors, and actually stars in the podcast. The podcast is scripted, think something along the lines of your favorite Netflix shows, only it’s in audio format.
Scarlett stars as the lead character, Charlotte Sayles, an aspiring singer-songwriter who sets out to chase her dreams in Nashville, navigating the world that is Nashville songwriting which becomes a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings on a daily basis. The podcast pulls back the curtains a bit to give listeners a glimpse into the songwriting scene.
Miranda Lambert helped produce Make It Up As We Go and makes her fair share of cameos in various episodes along with other country music names including Bobby Bones and Lindsay Ell. Add it names like Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton to the cast and you can see why this podcast is quickly becoming a hit.
The podcast features original songs that are weaved into naturally to the storyline, but as Scarlett shares with us, the storyline was created to match the various songs of the soundtrack.
We were fortunate enough to chat with Scarlett Burke about this endeavor and what this podcast has meant to her.
Raised On It: Where did the idea for a scripted podcast come from?
Scarlett: “I had a six song EP that I recorded at Village Studios in LA with producer Jared Gutstadt and it was really something that I recorded for myself and I didn’t know what was going to happen with it. Jared had been working with producer T Bone Burnett on a similar podcast project (Bear and a Banjo) and suggested turning the songs into a soundtrack for a podcast. So the stories are based on the songs, when usually it’s the other way around.”
Raised On It: At what point in the process did you realized you had something really cool?
Scarlett: “Once I read the first draft of the script for season one, I knew we had something special. I mean, the way the writers did their research and interviewed myself and Nicolle Galyon and really studied the world of songwriting and made this about the songwriter’s perspective. My biggest thing is that I wanted it to be edgy and from the songwriter’s world and I knew we had something very special just after I read the first episode.”
Raised On It: What has the reception been like so far from country fans and people in the industry especially since you really pulled back the curtain on the songwriting world?
Scarlett: “I think trying to explain what it was before it came out was pretty confusing. And then once you hear it, it’s very understanding as to, you know, what we were trying to accomplish and that’s making the listener feel like they’re in the room as the song is being written or they’re with the writer as they’re having this moment in life that inspires the music that you hear on country radio. So, you know, I think the listeners haven’t really had that opportunity before and knowing what’s going on in the songwriter’s world, I think has really captured our audience.”
Scarlett: “It worked with Songland and that show did really well as we were creating this, so I said to Jared, ‘I think that’s a really good sign. I think this is the world that people are really interested about.’”
Raised On It: Does the season finale leave listeners with closure or on a cliffhanger?
Scarlett: “You’ll just have to tune in!”
Raised On It: Are you saying there’s a second season coming?
Scarlett: “We have actually started conversations for pre-production so, it sounds like it’s in discussion.”
Raised On It: What has this project meant for your career and the creative endeavors you want to do?
Scarlett: “Working on this project creatively, I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s been the best acting class on the directors side of it because you get to see how every actor’s process and watch them get into the character and into the scene. So it’s really been such an honor being able to work with this cast because they’re also incredibly talented.”
Scarlett: “Music has always been a very important part of my life. I started playing guitar when I was 12. I started taking acting classes in Amarillo around the same age and sort of just balanced the two. I always had both things going. Usually I was performing at a bar, playing lives to blow off steam from a bad audition and it was just a fun creative outlet. I truly thought that music was always going to be something that I would do for fun. Now that it is my career, it’s just as fun as it was before. So I feel like I’m in the right place.”
Listen to Make It Up As We Go on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.