Ladysmith-based author, Shelley Leedahl has embarked on a new storytelling project thanks to a $5,000 ‘Digital Originals Grant’ from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Leedahl has recorded 10 short stories that feature teen characters for a series called “Something Like Love”. The work features teens in “edgy” situations, and while they’re learning about familial, platonic, and romantic love, these characters are also learning how to love themselves. Leedahl has also created and recorded original music for the project.
The stories take place in a variety of settings, and show different characters dealing with different circumstances. Each episode features a writing prompt at the end which encourages listeners to write their own stories. Some of the stories have previously aired on CBC Radio Saskatchewan, and some have never been heard by audiences before.
Leedahl’s work is mostly based in the print medium. After receiving the Canada Council grant, Leedahl set about turning her home office into a recording studio. She purchased audio recording equipment, and learned the ins and outs of the audio recording program, Audacity.
“It’s so much more work than I anticipated, and it’s been an incredible learning curve for me,” she said. “I love learning new things, and this has forced me to work really hard.”
Despite her best efforts – and over 300 hours of learning – Leedahl was unsatisfied about her home studio approach, and sought a professional recording studio instead.
“I could have just recorded my work and put it up on YouTube, but I didn’t want to do that. I spent years writing these stories, and I wanted this to be as professional as possible.”
Leedahl reached out to local musician Ryan McMahon, who directed her to Zak Cohen at Woodshop Recording Studio near Duncan. Cohen has done work for clients like McMahon, Valdi, and several others. Cohen has produced the first 10 episodes “Something Like Love”.
The Canada Council Grant is in partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada, which will air some of Leedahl’s work. Episodes of “Something Like Love” will be uploaded to all podcast hosting platforms like Spotify, and Apple Podcasts through the podcast hosting site, Buzzsprout.
“Something Like Love” will release a new episode every Wednesday, between September 16 and November 18. Leedahl said she will likely produce new epsiodes after the initial 10 have been released.