Kyle Stapleton

Your TuneDig podcast takes a deep discussion dive into an eclectic array of albums (Miles Davis to Bjork and Radiohead to Rihanna). How did the podcast evolve and what’s coming up?

TuneDig evolved from years of iterating around doing productive, creative things with our love for music, and specifically being part of the local music scene. We built (from scratch) a social media platform for album recommendations from trusted sources, and that led us to work with Eric Levin, Criminal Records, and the Alliance of Independent Media Stores (AIMS).

Over the course of all of that work, we started amassing promotional vinyl, so while we’d had the idea gestating for a while to find a cool way to create content and community, part of what accelerated the idea toward a podcast about albums was “how can we get these albums off our hands?” Giving away free vinyl with absolutely no catch just felt like a fun thing to do, and we’re still doing it to this day.

We’re going to start recording Season 6 soon and we’re psyched about what’s unequivocally our most diverse and interesting slate of albums yet, but we also have some cool other ideas in the works — not just for content, but for events, too. The goal is just to keep pushing toward deeper understanding and sustained inspiration, in music and in life.

You’ve worn quite a few hats in your career, but tell us about your latest move to Head of Global Engagement for Sustainability at McKinsey.

The past 18 months (both globally and personally) have had me soul searching, looking for ways to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time more directly. I learned from a former agency colleague about what McKinsey is doing in the fight against climate change — striving to be the foremost catalyst of decarbonization — and I’m thrilled to get an opportunity to be part of that work. I literally just started, so much of what that’ll actually look like day-to-day is still TBD, but I’m deeply inspired by the passion and unbelievable smarts of the colleagues I’ve met so far. After 15 years, it’s looking like the throughline of my career is carving out uncharted territory with people who are much smarter than me (but gracious about it) and push me to show up as the best version of myself for them each day. Every phase of my winding road to this point has prepared me in some way for this new and exciting opportunity. And perhaps most of all, I’m thrilled to get to stay right here in ATL to do it!

You’re one of those increasingly rare Atlanta natives. What keeps you in ATL and what makes the city special to you?

I think about this more and more as the city continues to change. In conversations with a number of my favorite urbanist / futurist thinkers — my co-host Cliff, Bem Joiner, King Williams, Tim Keane — a comparison to the Ship of Theseus thought exercise kept coming up. That is, what makes Atlanta, Atlanta, and what’s the threshold at which it stops being the place we know and love?

That’s a complicated question without easy answers, but what surfaced for me in that thinking is two things: 

(1) Good people are always going to be fighting to make Atlanta the best version of itself, because we know it’s special and we feel like it’s worth it, and those people tend to seek each other out, amplify one another’s efforts to their own circles, and generally support each other at every possible turn.

(2) There are a lot of special physical elements in our DNA that do, in fact, contribute to our unique sense of place. The latter is difficult to describe, even for natives, but it was articulated beautifully in the Atlanta City Design manifesto and I’d encourage anyone who loves ATL to read it and uncover their own vocabulary for understanding this place and their relationship to it. Also, our City Council officially adopted ACD into the city charter — if you care about the future of our city, I encourage you to hold your council members accountable to actually adhering to it. 

When friends come to town, where do you take them for a true look at ATL? What about dinner?

It all depends on the vibe we’re going for, and one thing I love about the neighborhood-iness of ATL is that there’s such a breadth of vibes to choose from. Favorite double-date spot is Bon Ton. Coffee at Aurora or Taproom. Art wherever there’s an exhibition happening (MINT’s consistently great, but there’s no shortage of exciting emergent spaces). 

No visit with an old friend is complete without sprawling conversation over wings and a pitcher at The Local or a late-night hang at the Flatiron (which also allows me to commandeer their jukebox, one of my favorite simple pleasures — thanks and apologies for that, Morgan).

If you could only take one album to the desert island, which one would it be?

Easy: Aquemini by OutKast And I’d mostly just leave “Spottieottie” on repeat.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.