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a photo of Adetola Abdulkadir

Adetola Abdulkadir

New Voices '21

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a bioinformatic scientist and podcast producer. I work on genomic analyses for various studies and labs. Back in 2019 I took my background in STEM and applied it to my interest in fiction to co-create OBSIDIAN Podcast, an anthology audio drama based in Afrofuturism, alongside my friend Safiyah Cheatam. I fell in love with writing and directing for audio fiction. My interest in the podcast medium has continued to grow over the years. Now I’m producing another show for Kaytura Felix, non-fiction this time, that I’m excited to release later this year! Be on the lookout for “Griottes Beat”.

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

I typically point to an episode of OBSIDIAN that I wrote, “Sunset, Sunrise”. The episode follows a man stranded on an island alongside a community of biomechanical creatures only he can speak to. I think parenting is a generationally learned practice. Both trauma and joy can be inherited through our parents. I sought to explore that in a non-traditional manner via the main character of the episode, Seda. I can’t explain too much as it would ruin the twist, but I enjoyed asking the question “Who is allowed to be a parent?”. The episode was also an opportunity for me to inject my Nigerian background into my fiction in a fun way. And I think it turned out pretty well!

What draws you to storytelling?

Fiction or not, stories have an impact on how we view one another. We engage with them because by our very nature we are an information seeking communal species. I’ve always wanted to take part in that flow of imagination and information. Octavia Butler and James Baldwin are large inspirations for the way they conveyed very real issues through the lens of fiction. I think a good story manages to challenge readers to see their world differently.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

I really respect the accessibility of the podcast medium. I believe it’s one of the most important and defining traits of the medium. The New Voices Scholar program provides access to a lot of valuable resources that make production more accessible as well. And the opportunity to have a mentor with experience in the field is amazing!

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

October is Fela Kuti’s birthday month so I’ve been playing a lot of my favorite songs by him, like “Water No Get Enemy”. I've also been listening to Rob Rosenthal’s “How Sound” podcast, which analyzes podcast episodes to explain why they work so well. It's a great resource for anyone trying to become a better producer. 

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

A dry-erase board! I’m a visual communicator. I like to storyboard, draw out processes, and fill in timelines. So typically my first step in a project is to pick up a marker and begin writing the components of a story. Having a large idea mapped out in front of you makes the story feel more approachable and realistic.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

One of the reasons I began OBSIDIAN was the lack of black voices in audio drama podcasts. I’m a fan of the genre, but I heard people with a voice like my own far too little. Representation in that regard is lacking. I’d like to see more black authors get their stories greenlit and I’d like to see more black voice actors get a role beyond magical side character #2.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

”Serial” got me into podcasts and “The Truth” got me into audio drama. Homecoming blew me away and its well-deserved TV adaption did the same. However, in the end I’m still trying to catch the magic of the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast. This radio adaptation of H.G. Well’s novel was so convincing that it frightened the entire country. Talk about immersive!

Anything else you'd like to add?

Send me a dm on Twitter if you ever want to chat! I’m always down to talk about movies if you’re looking for an ice breaker. @undercverbrothr