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Anisa Khalifa

New Voices '22

Tell us about yourself:

I'm a self-taught audio producer that started in independent podcasting and transitioned from working in audio as a hobby to doing it full-time as a career. I have lived in many places, but I now call North Carolina home. To all my work, I bring the perspective I've gained by immersing myself in different languages and cultures–as well as the healthy skepticism I've earned by living my life as an outsider.

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

As the world exploded in mourning for the death of the iconic Queen Elizabeth II, I wrote this essay about the impact of British colonialism on my family in five different countries, the real legacy of the Crown, and my hopes for the future.

What draws you to storytelling?

A story can cross even the highest and most well-guarded walls. To me, the best ones teach us about worlds beyond our understanding without preaching, or transport us to places of healing and possibility. Being a part of that process, whether as the one telling the story or the one receiving it, is magical.

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

All these amazing people I am meeting! As an independent female producer of color, the audio world has been pretty lonely so far, not having gone to school for this and having a very small network of colleagues. It's great to expand my circle of audio nerds and talk to other people who are in the same place in their careers–and also benefit from the precious experience of those who've already walked this road.

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

As I dig into a local story on the death penalty and jury selection, I've been loving the first season of WNYC's podcast about the Supreme Court, More Perfect.

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

My notebook and pen! I love digital workflows and collaborative docs as much as the next producer, but when I have an idea stuck in my head and I need to make it make sense, putting it on paper is the only way to get things flowing. That brain-to-pen connection is still irreplaceable for me.

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

I want to see more independent, smaller projects get the love they deserve, especially those which have underrepresented stories and perspectives to share.

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

Shereen Marisol Meraji, former host of Code Switch and now teaching journalism at UC Berkeley. I love her critical but compassionate approach to interviews and the skillful and fearless way she brings her whole self to the work. I also love what the crew does over at Throughline because connecting the past to the present is what I've been doing my entire educational and professional career, before and since I started in audio.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I come from a community that's had a fraught relationship with the media–so much of our time has been spent pushing back against false and damaging narratives about who we are that had real, violent consequences for us. It's a strange, empowering and sobering feeling to be on the other side of what once seemed like an impenetrable gate. I'm looking forward to telling more stories like these, that highlight the truths I've known and lived, and helping others do the same.