Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s podcast deal with Spotify for Archewell Audio was confirmed a couple of weeks ago. Sussex + Spotify launched today and in the first episode, Harry and Meghan ask dozens of special guests to record audio diaries with their thoughts on what they learned this year, how they stayed connected, and what their hopes are. These guests include but are not limited to: James Corden, José Andrés, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams, Elton John, Tyler Perry, George the Poet, and Naomi Osaka.
With her background in acting, there was no doubt that Meghan would be an effective podcaster. She has a terrific voice and she knows how to make effective use of it. Harry was the question mark and in this first episode, he’s surprisingly relaxed. Even though many parts of the show are obviously scripted, he doesn’t sound like he’s reading off a page any more than Meghan does. Clearly he’s been working on it – as he should, as she should, as anyone getting to podcast should. Practise reading out loud, practise different reads with emphasis on different words to sound things out, practise pausing, practise at different speeds. It seems counterintuitive but often with voice work, the more you rehearse, the more natural the reads become.
So the Sussexes sound good. But what about everything else? This is a slick production – the technical quality is there for sure, the editing is solid, tight, for this format, where we were hearing from other people, with Sussex commentary sprinkled in between, they may have interjected once or twice too many times for my editorial preference but overall, it’s a smooth first ride as they kick off this new project. In terms of the content though…
It depends on personal taste. Harry and Meghan are all about uplifting people, celebrating those who are giving back, who have put community before self, and so the tone of the episode of course has to meet that mission. Which is, as the Sussexes often are, super earnest. For me, since I’m a f-cking asshole, earnest is not really my flavour. The corny factor gets pretty potent at times during the half hour, especially when Harry starts humming towards the end when they share a song to close off the show: “This Little Light of Mine”, which was performed at their wedding. Obviously the Kingdom Choir’s rendition of the song itself is gorgeous and perfect; I’m just talking about Harry’s humming. Like I said, what’s too sweet for me may be just right for you. And what’s too salty for you may be just right for me. It happens near the end, and then the real star shows up.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor can be heard giggling and enunciating at the very end, delightly wishing everyone a Happy New Year! It’s a moment so pure, so f-cking adorable, no one will be able to resist it. Click here to listen.