iHeartPodcast Network to Launch Country Musical Podcast 'Make It Up As We Go': Exclusive

Nicolle Galyon, Gayle Troberman, Scarlett Burke, ‘Jingle Jared’ Gutstadt
Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio

Nicolle Galyon, Gayle Troberman, Scarlett Burke and ‘Jingle Jared’ Gutstadt.

The new podcast will star David Arquette, Bobby Bones and Scarlett Burke.

While films like Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born offer a glimpse into the songwriting process, upcoming country musical podcast Make It Up As We Go will take listeners inside the writers’ rooms of Nashville to share the evolution of each song’s creation, Billboard can exclusively announce today (Sept. 5).

iHeartPodcast Network Presents Jingle Punks Production Make It Up As We Go is due to launch between Thanksgiving and Christmas and will star up-and-coming singer-songwriter Scarlett Burke as she navigates Music City. The series will feature real work tapes from various writing sessions with Nicolle Galyon (“Tequila,” “Automatic”) as well as include appearances by Bobby Bones, vp/creative director at iHeartCountry and host of The Bobby Bones Show, and actor David Arquette, who plays Burke’s vocal coach in the scripted series.

“It's the story of women in music: behind the board, working in studios and writing songs,” Burke tells Billboard over the phone. “I think it's creating awareness for women in music. Our end goal is to do that story justice and to tell it right.”

Burke serves as co-creator on the project with “Jingle Jared” Gutstadt while David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights, Everwood, Parenthood) and his son, Brooks, are writing the script. A unique concept, country musical podcast Make It Up As We Go aims to be a new way for listeners to discover music.  

“We would like to be the first podcast that ever had a charting single on the country charts,” Gutstadt says. “That was the mission statement when Scarlett and I pitched it to iHeart initially. The idea of doing an artist development/streaming podcast series has never been done before...it's been really, really cool melding these worlds. It feels like we're doing a combination between an upfront for a TV show and a writers’ round where people can hear the stories behind the songs.”

The podcast was initially conceived after hearing the vulnerability captured in the writing room from Burke’s work tapes, which were recorded as voice memos in her phone. Burke told Gutstadt she often sent her father the complete work tapes from her co-writes and he thought others would be interested in listening to them. As the idea for the country musical podcast came together, Burke and Gutstadt then enlisted the help of Galyon, who provided background on the relationship between an artist and songwriter in the writing room as well as assisted in the storyline’s authenticity.

“I realized this was a completely new format of podcasts and something that I had not seen before,” says Galyon, who took home two trophies at the 2019 Academy of Country Music Awards for song and single of the year for co-writing “Tequila” recorded by Dan + Shay. “It was a story about a female songwriter trying to make it in Nashville and I thought, ‘I’m the girl for that job.’ I’ve been looking for ways to expand my territory and expand my storytelling beyond just the writing room. This is the perfect format to let the whole world realize what songwriters really do.”

The podcast series will follow the ups and downs of Burke’s career and the music featured on each episode will be available simultaneously on all digital service providers. The team is also in talks with a label partner to release the music as well as several country stars to record two songs featured in the series.

“We want to find a new place to disrupt the music marketplace,” Gutstadt explains. “The music  is unique and interesting...we hope to create a multiple-use podcast where people love it like their favorite movie or their favorite TV show and [they] would go back and not only want to re-listen to the season, but also re-discover the songs.”

Adds Galyon, “I think there's an incredible intrigue about the songwriting culture. Doing a fictional story based on the way that we are really achieved something that a lot of people haven't been able to achieve, which is to tell the story of songwriting without disrupting the writing room process.”

Check out the trailer for Make It Up As We Go below.