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Your Voice Is A Signature

Here is a general reply to an email I got. I see many people want to try this voicing stuff too. So here I am sharing the little things I've learnt so far.

Find Your Voice

Each time I'm asked questions about being a voice-over artist, I get a bit worried. Lol. My worry is based on two thoughts - Am I taking advantage of my voice or is my voice taking advantage of me already?

You believe you have a"good voice" and think you can jump right in and start voicing ads for big brands or cartoon shows without preparation or training? It's not that simple.

Here's the deal; it takes dedication, multi-faceted skills and, most of all, time.

It doesn't happen overnight so if you are really committed to trying your hand at it or, rather, your voice, then of all the things I could stress about getting started, it is the importance of finding your signature voice.

Which is what I am still doing - I'm discovering the range and variation of my voice.

If you’re any kind of artist, especially if you’re one trying to earn a living at your craft, it’s important to find “your voice” and develop a signature style for your creative fulfillment as well as your professional longevity.

Your Voice is your uniqness. And in your uniqueness lies your strength.

When you have found your uniqueness, you can start to take advantage of your voice. Taking advantage of your voice is to be in control of your voice, your delivery . . . and your money. (Hehehe.  .  . Yes oh. Business is about making money.)

We'll talk about delivery and making money some other time. Let's focus on the most important thing first. :)

Finding your voice.

Yes, find your voice.

Finding your voice is knowing the way your voice sounds good, feels good and how it moves best. It involves trying things and continuing on until you are sitting in the saddle just right.

It can take days, weeks, months or even years to come into your own style. However, working with a vocal coach who is strong in vocal arranging and recording will help you get there faster.

It's taking me a longer time because I'm taking on a personal training.

I experiment with ideas and phrases while recording, because then I can listen back and examine what sounds best. I also record my phonecalls and listen to them over again.

Ask yourself:

Why do you want to be a voice-over artist?

For me, it's more than having a "good voice". You have to be passionate about it. Your voice should be for connection and communication - connecting people and communicating positivity and love.

I am working beyond just being a voice-over artist. I want to be a communicator. Someone who speaks with intense emotion and enthusiasm.

People are drawn to and influenced by those who communicate authentically, easily, and effectively. That's why it is VERY important to find my "signature voice"- a means of self-expression that is uniquely and distinctly mine.

Your Voice gives an expression of what your heart understands and believes. Once you discover and can express this voice so well, you won’t believe the impact you can have on those around you.

Finding your voice is knowing when your listener can hear your heart in your voice. 

(Trust me, I will always link it to Heart Rays)

When you find your voice, you can fit your personality into the script.

The last time I went for an audition, the sound engineer highlighted that my voice would fit into the script of a secondary school female student. I have never ever thought of that. But it's something I am working upon with my voice at the moment. Besides, he is one of those who doesn't describe my voice as "tiny". (I always want to punch someone in the face when they say that. Lol)

So, How Do You Find Your Voice? 

I feel like a lecturer in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka right now. *clears throat*

Human speech can be broken down into several basic elements, and each of these elements determine the uniqueness of our sounds, which very much describes our vocal fingerprints. They are:

Pitch: the degree of highness or lowness of our tone, as well as our vocal range and inflection. How high/low can you go? 

Tempo: the relative speed or slowness of the way we speak, and the way our speech flows. Do you flow like water or stone? 

Volume: the relative loudness or softness of our voice. Can people hear you from a distance?

Timbre: the colour and quality of a voice, e.g. clear, nasal, raspy, breathy. Are you throaty, crunchy or yummy?

No two person's voice is the same. You might sound similar on tempo and pitch, but the timbre would be different. When you know all that makes your voice unique, then you are ready for the next big thing.

Your signature voice is instantly recognizable.

They are some people we don't see but when we hear their voice, we just know who they are. That's what a good voice-over artist should strive for first.

Listen to more demos here

There is this feeling I get when someone says: "Amaka, was that your voice? I heard it and I knew it was you!"

I'm not there yet. But when you get to this point, then you can move to the next level. And that might be what I’ll be talking about next week, so stay tuned!

P.S Can you remember how to pronounce "cucumber" correctly? CLICK HERE to refresh your memory.

P.S.S When things go really, really well, and your voice is heard all over the world; when hotshot agents who always ignored you all of a sudden start sending you emails; when you yourself start believing that you’re the Big fish . . . Always remember no training is enough. You have to keep evolving and improving.

P.S.S There is so much studio work for me to do this weekend. Blogging might take a chill till Sunday. 

Please, be sweet. Share this post to someone who needs it. Thank you.

Meanwhile, have you found your voice? What is unique about you? Feel free to share in the comment box below. 

Related: It's More Than Natural Hair

Written by Nwamaka Ajaegbu 
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Heart Rays . . . giving out  the light.
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