The MAIN REASON that Up in Smoke was ever able to exist is thanks to the constant tuning and volume correcting of sound expert J McAuliffe. The audio producing Phoenician asked listeners to re-evaluate the stereotypes they place on gender —- more specifically as it relates to sound – on this episode of Up in Smoke.
(So keep (stop) reading and listen here🙂
Re-adjusting the sound levels of what she considers a less-than-perfect microphone as she spoke during the opening of this episode, J avoided all of the compliments that Raina and I poured onto her because she can’t handle the truth (– did I mention that she is a badass superstar golden fluttering unicorn and the reason that Up in Smoke is possible? Check out this article about her winning first place at the Hearst Journalism Awards competition.)
As a sound and audio expert, J is very active in the podcast world (Literally ask her for sound help – but don’t tell her I told you that). In this episode, J talks about how her audio production skills and her point-of-view as a nonbinary person sometimes throw off listeners or those just meeting her. Reason being because her voice is considered deeper than that of your “””””average””””” (wtf that means) woman.
“Like right now (on the podcast), when you first hear my voice, and you weren’t given the pronoun ‘she’ leading up to it, and even then, for the listener there might be some sort of dissonance,” J said.
The constant praise of her voice, deeper than what is considered “feminine” by societal standards, but more than welcomed in the world of radio, is what J said lead her to pursuing sound full-time as a college student.
“I pinpoint it to that, someone telling me ‘wow, you’re good at this thing’ and going on and doing that,” she said.
Now more comfortable in her position as a trans* woman, J spoke about her praised radio voice as the leading part of her gender dysphoria. She gave examples of a couple of awkward introductions and explanatory conversations with strangers who automatically assumed her gender on the show.
“When I’m ordering a coffee or any interaction with a stranger (I know what) their first impression of me is: ‘Oh, they are going to gender me as male right now,’ just because of my voice and that’s the part that kind of sucks sometimes,” J said.
Her experience with sound has only further-backed her research and exploration of the pressure placed on voices based on gender. On the show she spoke more about some of the social constructs and stereotypes that people attach to how a woman or a man is programmed to speak.
J talked about the typical ways people interpret a female voice, saying, “The way you say certain words or the way you begin a sentence and the slight little changes in inflection, like if you are going to answer things a little bit more of a question sometimes.”
Along with voice issues, she also spoke about her current answers to every outfit or appearance question that she has received as a trans* woman. J’s current approach to set stereotypes being to act as if she were the only person on the planet, ignoring prior societal expectations or “safe” answers that tend to be associated with being a trans woman in Arizona.
J also briefly spoke about the experience she had when coming out to the people around her about being trans* – first individually, then collectively, then on Facebook. The common theme of the “coming out” conversation being that the conversation usually ends up having nothing to do with her.
“I realized that coming out is not a nerve-racking experience,” and later said, “It’s more of a big deal for the person I’m telling.”
J said that the conversation switches to people thinking that this is a “big deal moment” when she is actually approaching it more casually because it’s just one voiced realization out of a million.
Now hoping the land an audio production job as an ASU post-graduate, J credits her audio involvement to being actively involved in ASU’s student run radio as well as the several podcasts that she has produced and hosted (keep reading……)
For those wishing to find more experience in Arizona with audio, editing and mixing she said that it is a pretty small pool of people and not a ton of resources locally for audio engineering.
“There’s not (many) opportunities for wanting to be an audio engineer, which sucks, so I think the biggest thing would be creating your own stuff,” she said.
Check out some of the work J has done, like “How to train your Jedi,”her work with Blaze Radio, the student radio station, and “In a world” the movie soundtrack podcast.
Then listen to the rapid fire round where we force J to answer the unavoidable: Earthquake or Hurricane?
Check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!