Tune in and listen to Angharad George-Carey’s journey to creating her own podcast, Daddy Issues. George-Carey, originally a writer and actor, has branched out into the world of podcasting and created a compelling look at overcoming the trauma surrounding fathers. Her podcast features a diverse array of guests who share their stories with candor and wit. George-Carey’s passion for her project has fueled her work, which is gaining in popularity and acclaim. Making a podcast isn’t easy and George-Carey recounts her struggles, successes, mistakes, and advice for anyone wanting to take those first steps as well.
Sam: Joining us today Angharad George-Carey, is an actor, writer and podcaster. Her Daddy Issues podcast features guests like GQ editor Dylan Jones and Sir Tim Waterston, the founder behind Waterstones Books, to renowned psychotherapist Julia Samuell and journalist and model Simran Randhawa. The Daddy Issues podcast has been featured in Vogue and the Financial Times. Angharad, we’re so happy to have you here with us today.
Angharad George-Carey: Thank you so much for having me.
Sam: So let’s start at the beginning. What inspired you to start the Daddy Issues podcast? What was the spark?
Angharad George-Carey: So I see this as two separate things that then became one. If that makes sense. So the first thing was, my motivation sort of came partly out of frustration. And that frustration was being an actor and finding it difficult to have someone else kind of dictate when I can or can’t work. And I think being someone with a lot of energy and a lot of sort of ideas. I was just constantly frustrated, which is why I started writing. That was another outlet that I could have that I had. I felt more power over. I produced this thing and then I gave it to someone else. And then I realized actually when I gave it to someone else, I was powerless over it. So I had a conversation with my younger brother and his gang. You know, I am constantly waiting. I’ve got so much to give and I can’t give in and, you know, being but self pitying. And he just said, well, why don’t you just start a podcast. He sort of said it really off the cuff, you know, casual sort of younger brother. I think he was even doing up a tie, like not even concentrating that much. And then I was like that is the best idea I’ve ever heard. So I sort of ran out thinking, what could it be about, what could it be about? This podcast that I’m going to start, that I’m in full control of – it’s mine. I can put it out into the ether and I’m in charge of the whole story that comes from it, because that’s also what I realized, you know, being an actor and a writer, is I’m a storyteller and I love telling stories and I love platforming other people’s stories. Anyways so that’s where the idea of a podcast came. So the subject matter, which is fatherlessness. So fatherlessness in many different ways, be that through death, divorce, abuse, neglect, abandonment, suicide, you know, anything really that someone has some sort of traumatic or absent relationship with their father. And looking at people who have channeled that because I was unable to, ironically, until this podcast, but someone who has channeled that into purpose, focus, success, so grown up fatherlessness, but managed to channel that energy into something positive for themselves. And so thinking, what can I do for my podcast, what can I do for my podcast? And having done therapy for eight months previous to that for the first time in my life – having spoken about a car accident that I had when I was seven years old in Sri Lanka, when my family and I were involved in a car accident where my dad was killed. And we’d never really spoken about it. We spoke about him. He was kept alive. But what happened and our memories of the accident and a complete life change from living in Hong Kong to suddenly living in North Wales with my grandmother and grandfather. Similar in a way to what you were telling me earlier is that absolute alien world where you can’t relate. And yeah, I went to therapy and I learned through eight months of speaking about my experience, how incredibly powerful and empowering and um, is it resoluting, resolution like when you get such—.
Angharad George-Carey: Yeah. So resolving and it kind of it made me understand who I was. Why was it the way it was? Why things that would have come from my experience and what manifested from that which before I felt so foggy. And then suddenly everything was clear because I could dissect myself and I could understand the different parts. I was puzzled. I suddenly was able to put it together rather than just be completely scattered. And that came from speaking. So I thought, what can I talk about, which firstly I know about and secondly, that needs to be spoken about? How can I help people with that idea, with what I’ve had over this past?
Sam: It’s also unusual in an English context, right? In a sense or in a British context, where emotions are sort of less openly talked about and particularly past traumas are less openly talked about.
Angharad George-Carey: Yes, definitely. And I was definitely from a family who communicate, we’re very emotional, and well, I’m very emotional. But we do communicate. We speak and we’re very close. But there’s a level as you’re saying, of, you know, how deep you go, and I’m definitely someone who’s very naturally in tune to my emotions and I think I’ve always felt them very strongly. So regardless of what time of my life that’s been, I’ve been someone who feels that emotion, whatever it is, incredibly strongly. So for me, it was very, very repressive not to be able to speak out about how I felt. And from a family where my mother’s mother was German and grew up in Nuremberg in Nazi Germany, and she didn’t speak about her trauma. And then, you know, obviously that pattern’s passed down. So it ended up not really working for me. So I kept getting these absolute huge, overwhelming bouts of grief in my early 20s. And it was in my late 20s – it was when I was 27 where I decided to really look at after actually a bad relationship with a boy. He wasn’t nasty to me, but just an unhealthy balance within that relationship. It made me think about what I need to know. Why? Why have I gone for someone who treated me X, Y, Z? What’s wrong with that? And what’s wrong with me? And actually, I didn’t speak about him once in any of the sessions. We spoke straightaway about my grief and it was all just from not one thing. But I actually came back to what you just said about speaking out. It’s been probably quite a weird experience for my mom and my siblings and I have four siblings, and I think that’s because they’ve always been near the I in any argument as well as a debate or, you know, I say what I feel, which can go one way or the other. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. But I think for them to have tools to relive, even though the podcast is not about me and it’s not about my story at all, I’m doing it because of that sort of history within me and an understanding that I can have with my guests. And also how important I saw this subject matter was for so many reasons that became way bigger than me and way bigger than my story and all this kind of stuff. But I remember sitting down with my mom having realized that I spoke about my daddy issues and fatherlessness so much.
And I suddenly realized, you know, what about my mom who’s done everything? And she’s never– she hasn’t, you know, she had five children under the age of ten when my dad died and she didn’t ever go on dates. Or, you know, she chose to sort of devote herself to us. And it made me sort of think I don’t want her to feel forgotten in this, because the only reason why I’m here is because of her.
And she’s been a pillar of strength. She’s rooted me in the way that I’ve been able to feel like I can even have this opportunity to to do this. And the strength is from her. So that was important to talk to them actually and see how they felt. But especially my mom. And they’ve all been unbelievably supportive because I’ve also, yeah, it’s not about them or me but I guess–
Sam: About the broader topic of the mission.
Angharad George-Carey: Exactly.
Sam: So lots of entrepreneurs have an idea such as you did. But then there’s the struggle to put together the pieces of how to make that idea a reality. So tell us a little bit about, you have this idea you wanted to explore this set of issues. How did you get it off the ground? How did you find your first set of guests? I mean, this was something that hadn’t really been done in the way that you’ve been doing it.
Angharad George-Carey: So a lot, I think, actually, coming from being an actor where you have to hustle the whole time anyway. But the beauty of being an entrepreneur is that.
Sam: You have to hustle all the time anyway.
Yeah. But also, I also kind of realize that I am much more an entrepreneur in a way than an actor, you know, I actually do think they hold hands and in some cases. But the product wasn’t me anymore. It was something much more important to me.
Sam: Was that liberating?
Angharad George-Carey: So liberating. And I felt so much more comfortable in order to, I mean, I felt so much more comfortable sending cold emails. I felt much more comfortable calling people up. There was like a new level of confidence, calling up and asking people for favors and shamelessly in inverted commas, you know, talking about my podcast, because as an actor, for me, it felt so kind of like uncomfortable like, I don’t know, hi can I meet you and talk about myself? Can you give me a job? I don’t know ughh! But whereas something separate to me and something actually in my eyes, much, much bigger, much more important was this podcast that I was just so passionate about. And I suddenly saw this huge gap in the world of this subject not being spoken about. And I got it off the ground, to answer your question by firstly, I think feeling totally shameless about it. So, you know. Really not finding any problem in asking people for favors. And I think that’s really important in terms of I had no money to start a podcast as lets people get investors for businesses. That wasn’t the case in podcasting or isn’t the case really in podcasting unless you’re with a company or something doing it. So a lot of favors had to be asked. So doing that, being a bit shameless and also I did the domino effect with my guests. So I started off. I knew that if I wanted to get guests who drew in listeners as well as going on the sort of success route where, you know, finding people who had, for example, a name that people might be drawn to, to listen to the podcast and share it about the podcast. Then I maybe had to start somewhere where someone had a bit of a platform. So I have a friend called Sharmadean Reid, who’s my first episode. And Lord Malloch-Brown, who’s called Mark Malloch Brown. He’s my dad’s best friend, or was my Dad’s best friend. Sharmadean already had sort of, she’s a huge entrepreneur. She’s got this thing called Beauty Stack and started WAH Nails, and she’s only 34. She’s amazing. And she had already said that she’d like to be a part of the podcast when I told her about the idea. She actually was one who came up with Daddy Issues, which obviously-
Sam: That’s a fantastic name.
Angharad George-Carey: It’s a brilliant name. So all on Sharmadean. And then I was walking in Soho and I thought, well, who else can I get? And who is a completely– I didn’t even really think about trying to make everyone as different as they are on the podcast. But I suddenly was like, does Mark, was Mark’s dad, I swear there’s something, there was an absence there. And this just came to me genuinely. I have no recollection of ever being in a conversation where this happened. And I don’t say like the universe gave me this message, but there was something about that where I was just literally Mark came so crystal clear in my head and I text Mum and I said, Mum, did Mark’s dad, was his Dad around when he was younger? And she said, no, no, he died when he was 13 years old. I was like, oh my God. Sounds so awful when you’re celebrating that someone’s lost their dad. I was like, oh? And it took me a while to email him because I knew that he’s also, you know, in his 60s or early 60s. Don’t want to say he’s the wrong age and he’s listening to this going I’m not 60. But if he’s my dad’s age and he’s probably about 64 and I knew that it would be difficult for him to turn me down because I’m his best friend’s daughter who’s doing something like this. And, you know, his best friend is no longer here and that’s why she’s doing it. And so I want to be very sensitive over not making him feel pressured to talk about something so hugely personal to him and something that he might not ever have addressed. And he has a public platform. So therefore, would he want to talk about this and have it out there? And so I wrote an email eventually having done my episode with Sharmadean. And I was amazed and unbelievably moved when he said that he would do it.
Sam: So you do these first couple of episodes. How did you grow your listening audience? And how did you grow, you know, how did you sort of build the business model around?
Angharad George-Carey: Yeah. I think audience wise, a lot of it was down to– so my younger guests like Simran and Sharmadean have social platforms. So that helped because their followers or fans or admirers would then listen in and then word would be passed around. And really very much a lot of my platform was built through social media because that’s where I think my generation just about, you know, we’re right at the top of it, whereas, you know, the generation below me like absolute maniacs at it. But they— yeah social media was where I knew that I could work sort of Instagram, Twitter I’m not so good. But so, yeah, it was the younger people who I speak to posting about it because most of them had somewhat of a following. And then with the older people, I guess it’s just their names are enough for people to want to come in and listen to it. And also someone who is, for example, Sir Tim Waterston, 80 years old, to be speaking so openly about something so deeply, deeply personal I think, so there’s that. And then there’s the other thing, which is I think this subject actually resonates with so many people for so many reasons. And whether or not you have a father in your life or whether you have a father in your life or not. There are things that I touched on within such a huge array of subjects, some things that we talk about and unique stories and experiences. But you can resonate as someone who still might have had an incredibly present and lovely father, but with some things in that or if you haven’t. But it’s not been you know, a death or an abandonment or something like that. You can still listen to something and feel connected with that and also learn from it and also learn about someone else. Maybe a friend who’s had an experience and thinks that’s also why it’s been successful so far. Because the subject matter, I kind of think speaks for itself in that and but the people have also helped, of course.
Sam: So as you look back and as you look forward, what was the hardest thing about getting this off the ground? What were some of your learnings from the challenges?
Angharad George-Carey: The hardest thing? Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Do you know what? There was a time when I was honestly sleeping, I think, about three hours. And I don’t mind doing that. And I think when you’re starting something and it’s yours, you will sleep three hours and you just don’t care. It’s on top of my podcast. I was also auditioning and I had tutoring, which is sort of skin like even now, still my side hustle. I’m not sponsored yet for the podcast. If anyone’s out there, you want to sponsor me?
Sam: Hopefully this helps you get a podcast sponsor.
Angharad George-Carey: Yeah exactly. But yeah, I think, what is the hardest thing? I guess, it’s the consistent, for me at least with a podcast, it’s the consistent work of getting guests who and I chose bizarrely to make it weekly, which obviously was– which is good because I think that helped consistency and that helped people following it. And that helped listens and-
Sam: But it’s a lot of work.
Angharad George-Carey: But it’s a lot of work. And now I’m starting to film it and build a YouTube platform with it. Daddy Issues Podcast YouTube channel. So that’s even more work. But as I was saying, it’s work that I just firstly feel so passionate about. And secondly, I love doing it. And it’s that really cringey thing of saying that it’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work, even though it takes so much of my time and I don’t have weekends really anymore. But I don’t care. I just love it.
Sam: You’ve discovered a passion.
Angharad George-Carey: I’ve absolutely discovered a passion. And I think, and a purpose. It’s something which I’m so excited to see it grow with, you know, the way that people are responding to it. I dunno. To me, that’s so important that people are moved by it or can resonate with it.
Sam: Has it fed your skills and thinking around your acting as well?
Angharad George-Carey: Probably, yeah. I think yes, actually, because I’m listening to– even though obviously I’ve got my own story of fatherlessness and everyone’s got their own experience. I’m speaking to people who’ve had totally different experiences to me. And a huge array of things like diversity within age, what people, someone does, you know where they’ve grown up. And I think that is helping me really– because I’m also speaking obviously about something incredibly personal. And people know that, so they often, not always, but they’re often ready to speak about it when we are in the room. And it’s teaching me of these completely, you know, getting to know if you meet someone at a dinner party or a drinks party or even at work or whatever, on the tube, you see a, you know, a version of them, which is their sort of public self. And I think I have the privilege of being able to unlock and dismantle some of that public self with my guests that I have on. And so I think I get much more to that core root humanity and vulnerability. And, yeah, that will be going into me somewhere. And I am already learning. I’ve already learned so much about the different experiences that my guests have and how they talk about it and how they can find the language to talk about it.
Sam: Angharad, you’ve crafted a career as an entrepreneur between acting, writing and podcasting. What is your learning from this that you think every entrepreneur should know?
Angharad George-Carey: Well, as someone who – if any entrepreneur is listening to this and has been an entrepreneur for years and probably is rolling their eyes with how obvious what I’m about say is – But I think what I’ve actually really learned from this is: Maybe think twice about starting something, if you wouldn’t use it. If it’s not something that you would be a customer of or you would be a listener of, or you would need or want in your life. And the reason I think this is because that is where the relentless sort of commitment and passion and understanding and motivation comes. From the thing that you’ve started is because you fully get it. And it’s something that you yourself would want and would need in the world. And so I think, I guess that’s something that I learned in terms of, if this was something that I didn’t feel so connected towards, then, you know, I wouldn’t have spent as much time writing code. I might have thought this is actually quite difficult, trying to get everything together and it’s a lot of time. So, yeah, it’s that relentless belief in something. And I think that comes from knowing it.
Sam: Angharad, looking back, what are some of the mistakes you made that you learned from?
Angharad George-Carey: So actually I wouldn’t call this a mistake purely because he’s turned out to be a wonderful—is very much still part of my podcast journey. But I did do that classic thing of at the beginning of starting it and kind of feeling out of my depth and out of, you know, deep, you know, not really knowing, walking through the dark, if that’s the right term. Stumbling through the dark. I think I just sort of threw the money that I had, which wasn’t that much. But I was sort of throwing money at the situation in terms of I found an amazing sound engineer actually put in touch with me, Sharmadean, my first guest, had put me in touch with him. And he cost me quite a lot per episode. And I, as I said earlier, didn’t have, you know, a huge lump sum of cash ready for this podcast. But I wanted to do it as well as I could. And I was absolutely terrified that that wouldn’t happen. And so in order to do that, sort of threw money at the situation. Quickly, that became an extra stress on top of everything else, was to keep going with this, you know, 350, which actually he gave me a discounted rate because he is, you know, wonderful and loved the idea of the podcast. But that’s a discounted rate, 350 per podcast episode. And I felt sort of so guilty trying to sort of tell my wonderful sound engineer, Warren, that I couldn’t afford him anymore. But I wanted to keep making this podcast as a weekly thing. But it was just bringing me such anxiety. And I was living much more hand-to-mouth than I was even before because I was, you know, having to spend all my money on these episodes. And I had the most amazing moment of serendipity. I was speaking to a friend of mine, his music producer, and I was telling him I was you know, I don’t know how I’m going to carry this on. And I also didn’t have enough to sort of invest in big equipment, but I wanted everyone kept and everyone kept telling me about the sound of the podcast being so good. So I was like, oh, my God, I gotta keep this sound up. Like everyone’s talking about the sound. And I do want to go back on the sound. And I also have yet to know what the other options are. None of my other friends were podcasters. And since then, since honestly, two months ago, about eight new friends of mine have become podcasters. But at that time, there was no one. And yeah, my friend James, he’s a music producer, he was, he’s moving to New York, which he just did this week but he was like just use my studio. I’ll just go, he was like every now and then, I’ll have a lunch break and you can use the lunch break and it’s on Morton Street. And I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. So for like three, maybe five episodes, the first four episodes of Warren and then five episodes, I did it at this amazing underground absolute gem, diamond of a studio in Morton Street. And my friend James, we only had an hour, whereas with Warren we had as long as either the guest could allow or we could allow. So that was the beauty of having Warren. But then we went, so we had one hour. James is an incredibly busy, high and demand producer. So he would come back and that would have to be– and it was that time pressure. But I was getting it for free. And I was like, oh, my God, this is the most amazing thing ever. And then what came from that was James moved to New York. But the studio has said very recently that for the payment of 50, which is just for the engineer, they would charge me for the room. And they love the podcast idea so much that they want me to keep going until I get sponsored and can maybe pay them a bit more. So it’s just been incredible. And Warren is still very much on my podcast credits because I then send the episodes to him and he incredibly generously for free will master and compress it and put the music on, which is his music and my intro and outro. So he still is a part of it, but he’s very busy and in demand himself. So he doesn’t mind, I think, just doing that. But yeah, I did that thing at the beginning of just throwing money at the situation, which caused me more stress, but then ended up being, you know, wonderful.
Sam: In the right place.
Angharad George-Carey: Yes, exactly.
Sam: We’re not a generation that grew up talking about trauma or feelings. Angharad is out there changing that both for our generation and the next. Daddy and other issues, we all have them and Angharad is showing us that they can be discussed openly and triumphed over again. Thank you for being with us today.
Angharad George-Carey: Thank you so much for having me.
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