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Giving a voice to the region’s creative types

Ryan Leacock’s podcast features conversations with artistic people from around the region. [Submitted]

Ryan Leacock wouldn’t describe himself as a people person, nor is he fond of small talk. But there are plenty of interesting people in the region with whom he’s more than happy to have in-depth conversations. Those talks are in turn shared with the rest of us via his Creative People Podcast (CPP).

“I wasn’t connecting with enough people in my life,” he said of the impetus for his podcast, through which he reaches out to creative people in the area. It’s something he enjoys, even if it doesn’t come naturally.

“I don’t really like talking to people. But when I do talk to people, I like to get into discussions that matter”, said the Kitchener resident.

Assessing his personal life as missing something, he decided the podcast would be an ideal way to see things from other viewpoints, particularly through the eyes of creative people from all walks of life.

“I call them interviews because I’m talking to someone the whole time, I’m looking for that moment where, you know, the light in their eyes comes in and, they’re not talking to you as someone they don’t know anymore. They’re talking to you, as someone that they can share the thing that they’re passionate about.”

It’s that search for a true connection that makes the podcast more than a simple Q-and-A session.

Waterloo Region is home to many creative types, a fact that got Leacock thinking about the community in that light.

“I think that there’s just a good space here – we had all [the] tech and, I think it’s created a good base that’s allowed for people to find a niche. There have been a lot of people that have put in the hard work,  … and I think we kind of turned a corner, we’re seeing the fruits of their labour,” he said of the creativity in the region and its resiliency through the current pandemic.

All of the hard work is paying off, Leacock says. “I know that there was a time like, years ago, where I was working with people, and they were burnt out on promoting the arts in this region – time has brought all that hard work to fruition for them.”

While his podcast has seen its fair share of local artists such as JP Sunga, Paige Warner and Alex Kinsella, he’s also spoken with others from outside the area. Just this week, for instance, he interviewed a rapper from California.

“I’ve decided early on [that] I wanted to talk to people from all over. I love the region – I’m here,  I’m a lifer – but I wanted the podcast to have… a wide variety of perspectives on creativity,” explained Leacock.

In a means of promotion for the ‘pod,’ Leacock has launched a merchandise store, the Creative People Pod Shop. The ETSY shop includes a variety of stickers to get the word out about his program. What began as a way to give guests memorabilia from the show has segued into an online store.

The response to his podcast has been great, says Leacock. Where he once had to scramble to get guests, he now has his schedule full through August. And he’s expanded to two shows a week, which will be challenging to continue now that he has returned to work after a temporary COVID-related layoff.

Leacock says he has learned numerous things from hosting CPP, discovering more about illustration, photography, music, and the many facets of his guests’ lives.

“I learned a lot about myself, about getting into the right mindset and how to manage. When you’re starting anything new, there’s your expectations, and then there’s what’s happening. There’s like this black hole that you can go down if you look at analytics too much or anything like that; the most important thing is to do the work and make sure it’s good,” he said of perseverance.

Stoking his own creativity, Leacock has learned some graphic design to help with the promotion and artistic presentations for each episode. He’s also brought on a part-time graphic designer to help with the effort.

The CPP is available on all streaming platforms, and more information for the show can be found online.

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