View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
28 September 2022

Mind-reading for TikTok teens

The podcast Influenced with Joel M pulls off an impossible trick: an illusionist show in an audio format.

By Rachel Cunliffe

Joel M and his team are not being subtle about what they’re trying to do: “This is Derren Brown for the podcast generation,” reads the strapline for his new show, Influenced with Joel M. The 25-year-old has gained more than 16 million TikTok followers and two million YouTube subscribers with his 21st-century take on magic. But a 40-minute podcast is a very different offering to a 20-second video clip. There’s no smoke and mirrors here, no trick packs of cards, optical illusions, or option to cut the video at the crucial moment. Joel is going to have to perform magic with his voice alone. How on Earth does that work?

The clue’s in the name: this is a show about influencing – “a podcast that will get inside your mind”, as he puts it. More mentalist than magician, Joel interviews a celebrity guest each week and uses his subliminal messaging skills to both read their mind and guide the answers they give. Episode one features the Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt. Joel plays games with her – two truths and a lie, guessing the name of her first pet – with asides to listeners explaining (or pretending to explain) how he’s doing it. It’s light-hearted and engaging (“Is this a reptile?” “Yeah.” “No it’s not.”), but the aim is to prime Nina for the real trick at the end.  

Yes, you’ve probably seen this sort of thing done by Derren Brown and other illusionists over the years, but there’s something very different about experiencing it in a format that relies on audio alone. It’s less showy and more intimate – in fact, much of the podcast feels more like a cosy chat show than a spectacular performance. For podcast listeners, that’s a definite plus – I was just as interested by Nina’s story of accidentally almost joining a cult in Oregon than whether Joel’s mind-bending would be successful. I’m just not sure his TikTok followers, used to watching him produce coffee beans out of empty mugs or balloon animals out of his brother’s mouth, will feel the same way.

Influenced with Joel M
Podcasts

[See also: From Jeffrey Dahmer to Adnan Syed: can true crime as entertainment ever be ethical?]

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 28 Sep 2022 issue of the New Statesman, The Truss Delusion

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU