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Category: Voiceover Skills

  1. Cultural Context in Voiceovers

    Posted on

    Hello fellow voicers, 


    This week I ended up, as often happens, having a chat with a client that was significantly longer than the voice session itself. I have to say that I really love that part of the job. I love voicing because for those delicious *checks logs - 10 minutes the client and their client are listening to me and my voice only. They are listening with such great attention that I do feel that I am broadcasting to the whole world. And come on, how great is that?!


    But then, the bit that always totally makes me purr with pure joy is that bit where I get to chat to the client. In this case, their client had signed off and we stayed online having a jolly good chat. This particular job got us both thinking. Everyone always assumes that being a good voice is just that “BEING A GOOD VOICE” but what my client and I realised is that actually the voice is there to be more than a voice. Yes, there is a lot of character work, ability to improvise, ability to take direction, ability to inhibit different characters and if you are recording from your own studio you are directing, editing, sound engineering, voicing and being an actual person as well. Phew, its making me hungry just thinking about that and I do this on a daily basis. 

     Voices bring more than voice to the table

    But there is something else that the voice brings with them. A wealth of cultural character contextual experience. What’s that then chica? I hear you cry. Well, let me tell you. I work a lot these days as a bilingual and third language voice over. I often voice in my Chilean Spanish accent for clients that want an authentic LATAM accented voice. Yes, I was born in the UK but I am made by my cultural experiences and of those there are many. And because of that my role as a voice becomes bigger than voice, I become an advocate for cultural context. My wonderful client and I chatted so long about this that she recommended I write about this rather niche but very important VoiceOver activity. Thanks Ellie! 


    Lorraine Ansell World Dubbing Voiceover Microphone

    We live in a world that many large companies are journeying towards a more diverse and multicultural setting for many of their internal and external operational and marketing components. So we see training programmes to on board and educate staff, adverts and copy aimed at building a connection with people. This copy will often be translated into many languages - big tick! This acknowledgement that staff and clients are all different and diverse is excellent. However and this is where the experience of a multi cultural and bilingual voice comes in, let’s zoom into that cultural context. 


    Cultural Context in voiceovers

    I read a lot of scripts written in one language and translated into another. So far so good. Or is it? Actually I would say 99% of the time only a translation has been achieved. But what about context? There seems to rarely be an acknowledgement of actual context for copy or character. I recently had to play “Carolina” (names have been changed to protect the client) and I spoke her words. The end client came and re-directed me and gave me notes to deliver the lines differently. I spoke those lines how they wanted and they loved it. But to me, it felt off. Why? Because the deliver of the copy was for another culture. Specifically American. I didn’t feel it was what my character being hispanic would have done. It would not have been in their emotional or professional wheel house. Now of course “Carolina” may have delivered her lines in an American character way but given that she was still heavily hispanically accented then I doubt she would have grown up in home, school, college environment that would have meant her delivery would have been as the client had directed. 


    Another example - I played an American this time for a very big financial company. The copy was written in UK English and I also did the UK accent for it. So when they said “ohhh can you do American” I swiftly delivered my lines. However two words stood out for me and they were “Of course” In all my years working with Americans and the American market and all the training on my American accent I have rarely heard any of them say “Of course” I am willing to be proven wrong on this but what felt and sounded much better was “for sure” The British copy and person would of course have said of course. But in the American accent, the American character it felt odd. I piped up that “For Sure” would be more appropriate for the context. Everyone directing was British so to be honest we really didn’t know. So I ended up recording two versions and yep you’ve guessed it - the American market went with the version with “For sure”. 



    “How are you? I’m fine, how are you?” Likely that you are a brit reading this and you will recognise this saying. Every conversation pretty much starts like this. This example comes from a German friend who was horrified when she starting working in the UK that she was asked this when she had to phone a supplier. “But this question’ she said her face still a horrified mask on it “it is so personal” I pondered a bit because I raised as a good little Brit saw nothing wrong at all with the question. And then it clicked. My friend had not realised that far from being a personal question it was simply a way of greeting someone. In the UK we would normally get past those social niceties and then get to it. But in Germany I am told that no one goes around asking people how you are because it is very personal and no thank you very much am not telling you about my in grown toenail. This does explain why perhaps whenever I was in Germany before this chat with my mate, people would look at me oddly when I would ask them how they were! 


    And one final example. This one I am reliably informed by from some Italian mates who regularly stop and look bemused whenever they come across it. We at Brits hear it quite a lot, summer comes and suddenly advertisers talk about strawberries and cream, gin and tonic and picnics and dining “al fresco”. It’s been used so much that I hear people in town talking about going out “al fresco” and “ohhh time for some drinkies al fresco.” Now while the phrase does kinda mean certain things - fresco for example is fresh or can be cool as in fridge cool. But the phrase “alfresco” means to an Italian “in prison.” Ohhhhhh whoops. Now you will think about dining al fresco in a very different way. 

    Lorraine Ansell Far Cry 

    So a voice does much more than bring words to life, they bring cultural context to life. Language and culture is as complex as characters and I would say to all clients, recognise such complexities and cultural norms and go from translating to localisaing with real attention to cultural context. That is what my fab client is aware of and what I as a VoiceOver always look out for. Context is always queen! 


    Keep talking,


  2. What’s easier to read in VoiceOver world?

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    After two weeks of solid am to pm voicing I realised something. I have spent two weeks reading from various different types of content displayed in various ways. So over the course of the week I have been 60+ characters including dragons, bees, grandpa and grandma as well as the expert voice on a financial app as well as the excited voice for a balloon company. No popping in the booth though…;) VoiceOver joke!


    Lorraine Ansell delight to work with

    Types of Content files

    These past two weeks I have received content and copy and scripts in various files. These include; excel, word, pdf graphics, google docs, notion sharing files and much more. I realised as I would flip from one job to another just how varied and different the files can be and how that can have an impact on how you read and perform each piece. 


    It does make sense for translations and game scripts to be in excel. The volume of game scripts have to be ticked off and added into unreal engine correctly so totally makes sense for each line or phrase to have it’s own file name. Similarly for translations excel works so well because often the original language will be in one column and row while the other language will be beside it in another column. Each line language will be against the other line language. This makes for easier double checking that each phrase has been translated and put to the correct place as the original language. Phew. 

     Lorraine Ansell FVO at work

    Character work

    When it comes to character work often I will receive scripts which are either in word or pdf format. This is great because often it will then read as a story, with a narrative journey beginning, middle and end. Sometimes I even get an illustrated book to voice which is super helpful as you can see the shapes, characters and colours and my head is then filled with all the noises and personalities to make the characters come to life.


    My favourite files for voice work

    So after so many decades voicing, what are my favourite files to read copy from? Well it depends really. I have flipped between so many file formats over the years that to me they all work. What will jar at times is that I am expected a script in one format and receive another. But I really do like an excel file as well as a word document. Simply because if it is excel it is likely to be a game script and omg they are so much fun. And if it is word then you know that there is a story to be told. 


    The question is, what’s your favourite file format to read scripts from?

    Keep talking.


  3. What is dubbing?

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    Welcome to another week in my voiceover world where I am busy making narration look easy when there is much more involved behind the scenes. Today I shall discuss Dubbing. Let's get to it.

    What is dubbing?

    This week a regular client asked me to help them out. They said that they had a bunch of videos all with the main presenter talking in Spanish to camera. The end client is Bosch. They all wondered if I would be able to voice the English version of the Spanish content. In a flash I said yes because I've done it many times before and because I really quite enjoy this type of voiceover work. Dubbing is replacing one audio with another. And in this case it is replacing the Spanish with the English audio. 

    Lorraine Ansell World Dubbing Voiceover Microphone

    What are the dubbing techniques?

    There are many techniques involved in dubbing in the narration world and as a busy female voiceover artist I have built up a few processes that work for me. Firstly time codes. Now usually a client will supply a time code for each section of audio. So for example they supply copy with the seconds each section takes as well as the rolling time in a coloumn next to each content area. Why is this helpful? It helps both the production company and me know exactly where the audio markers are. So from start to finish we can hit and finish each section of narration. 

    What are the challenges of dubbing?

    Sometimes I don't always get the time codes. So I have to do them myself. This requires listening to each section and noting down when they start and finish, the pace of the section and I like to check word counts and syllable counts. I shall get to the differences in languages in a moment. Once I'm happy with all the timings then I will start to record and then edit to match it all up. 

    Differences in languages

    A lot of my voiceover work involves working in different languages. And having lived abroad in Spain, France, Indonesia and worked in places with many languages I have quite the talent for what I call dual or triple talking and listening. By this I mean that while I can talk to you in French, Spanish and English I can simultanously hear a whole range of languages. This comes from working in busy world wide press offices. 

    This has become a really handy skill for voiceovers. I can listen to a track in one language and know where they are in the copy in both Spanish and English for example. So not only do I have the time codes to rely on, I also have my ears and knowledge of languages. This ensures that when the client asks for me to hit more than just the start and finish audio marks, I am hitting emphasis, breathes and character.

    What is the best bit of dubbing?

    I love, love, love the challenge. It is second nature for me to be able to listen to multiple languages and answer in a few languages even in one sentance. So to do voiceover work is really fun. And top tip for you all, please note that Spanish will use approx. 30% more words to express the same thing than English. Why is this important to note? Because this means that inevitably depending on which way I work (Spanish to English or English to Spanish) there is not enough time or far too much time. 

    You may ask why does that matter? It really matters when you want to emulate the length of audio and even mouth shapes in different languages to match them up to their new audio. Clients ask me to make the mouth shapes hit the same place especially if I am dubbing to a person in vision. However the order of words, number of syllables and how a word is actually said in shape is very different from one language to the next. 

    Dubbing in different languages

    Let me take the word "cat" for example. In English it is one syllable where a harsh "K" sound is made almost as an exhalation. Then the T of the word is a tongue stop. In Spanish cat is "gato" so means to make the G and A sound the mouth has to drop open and it is what I describe as a rounded sound, "gahhhh." The shape of my mouth for the K and Gahhh are very different. Note also that Cat is one syllable and Gato is two. Gato also ends in an O which means I purse my lips to achieve it. So visually the shapes our faces make including lips, cheeks, jaw and tongue are now very different. This one word example gets more and more convoluted as we move into sentances and paragraphs of copy. 

    Dubbing cultural phrases

    Another point in dubbing is the cultural phrases used. In Spanish language and content can be populated by words such as "si" and "oops" for interjections. In English we might use "ohhh" and "yeah." Even when we say hi or hello which are indeed translations of "hola" these are different in terms of speed, mouth shape and emphasis placed on the letter in the word. So while I am asked many times to match the languages I make a real effort to ensure that even these parts of the copy that are often not in the copy match up. 

    in studio 2

    What about DAW in dubbing?

    I also use a few tricks in my audio software. So for example in Adobe Audition, I rely on multitrack stream to double and triple check that the Spanish track matches the English track or vice versa. This is a quick visual as well as audio way to see how things are matching up. This tip is especially handy for long forms of dubbing. 

    So there we go, a quick breakdown of voiceover dubbing. Did you know much about this area of voiceover before this blog post? Oh and the client I worked with, the coolest ones around. Bosch!

    Keep dubbing!





  4. What vocal techniques to use as a VoiceOver actor?

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    I get asked this question a lot as a busy voiceover artist. From my recording studio over many years I have taken time to work out what vocal work outs and techniques work for me. Today I shall break a few of them down. 

    Anatomy of my voice

    It has taken me years of experience both as an actor, director and producer to fully understand where my voice works best and in what genre of voice over work. I have worked with voice coaches and well as singing coaches and experts to work out how to exercise my voice. I have picked up a few books and this is one I am revisiting. This is a great book about the voice and is a coherant guide. 

    Anatomy of Lorraine Ansell Voice


    My top voice techniques

    1. Breathing - it seems obvious but we often forget to breathe fully and out slowly and deeply. This breathing training works really well and yes practice makes perfect but I love it as it allows me to reduce stress and anxiety as well as voicing long complicated e-learning paragraphs or long narrative dialogue.

    2. Lip Trills - or horse lips, depending on how you prefer to call this technique. This relaxes and wakes up the lips which is how we articulate letters and words. I find them a challenge but works well to emphasise the breathe support we often here in the voice world. 

    3. SOVT - straw - this is a straw that you blow into either in air but I prefer in a water bottle. This helps me with a back pressure which helps strengthen my vocal cords and exercises my support. I have found that the pressure really helps with head voice and opening up my sinuses. Win win all round 

    Lorraine Ansell Voice Director and experienced presenter

    So when you require a voice that works out, then please get in touch. 

    Keep chatting


  5. What is it like to be a bilingual VoiceOver artist?

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    Hola y hello, it is me, aqui estoy, Lorraine locutora y voice over artist at your service. Yes, I am a bilingual voiceover artist and I work in both Spanish and English. But there is more to this voice story than that. The hardest question people ask me on a regular basis is "Where are you from?" Simples to answer you would think but actually I always have to double and triple check as to what the person asking the question means. You see, I am British because I was born in the UK but then my parents are actually from Chile and I grew up until I went to school mostly speaking Latin American Spanish with my family and friends. Then I've lived in all sorts of places including Spain, France and Indonesia. I know, I get around a bit right?!

    Recording Studio

    What challenges does a bilingual voice over artist face?

    I have voiced many an audio project that requires me to either speak solely in Spanish, English or a mezcla or mix of these languages in terms of accents or words. So I can end up with projects that require multiple voices. And not just those in my head! But the challenges for me as a female bilingual vocal artist can be varied. Let's take a look at a few;


    1. Mouth placement - switching between languages means that your mouth shape has to change. Wait, what? Yes, this is true. To get the sounds of the consanants and vowels that make an "English" or "Spanish" that I have to change my mouth and where I place my tongue in relation to the soft palate and teeth. To be a good voice over and give it my best daily I switch between languages both hearing and talking so that I can muscle memory recall the shapes to makes the sounds of the words. 

    2. Rhythm - every language has it's own melody and rhythm and so there is a mental switch I had to do (which is code switching as well as trans-languaging) that takes place so that I can find the spirit and intention behind each lnaguage. You see to speak a language is more than learning the words and speaking them out loud. It's knowing and wearing like a coat the melody of the culture, the people. The process of osmosis to learn a language is more than just how to order a drink at the bar, it's knowing the song that goes with that language. 

    3. Word count - after working for almost 20 years in creative production I know that Spanish text is almost 30% longer than the equivalent voiceover copy in English. This is something I make known to every client so they appreciate that I will have to often talk very speedily in Spanish to match the English lanaguage time codes. The same applies to all languages so always check word counts as it does make a difference. 

    Lorraine Ansell voice over actor

    But these challenges and ability to continually switch between them is why I love my voice over job, it's a performance, it's a mental work out and it is brilliant. 

    Es tiempo para hablar,


  6. How can I be cast in a video game

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    I spent the last few weeks of 2020 playing Alba - a great fun mobile game which has conservation and nature at it's heart. The graphics and landscape is great, the audio and music is spot on and the game play is like a warm hug. And in these times of lockdown even a small chance of entertainment and love is very welcome. I thought about what many actors think when they play such videogames; how can I voice a character in this game?

    What do I need to voice a character in a videogame?

    The quick and simple answer is to act. Voicing a videogame character is a great gig because as the games are much more narratively driven than 30 years ago, it really is an acting job. Now videogames are much more complex with wonderful connecting and overlapping story lines that require the actor to immerse themselves into the roles. Why? Because the player is also immersed and now savvy and used to authentic characters that now require believable voice work. So first in your vocal tool box is to know how to interpret a character, make a choice, decide an accent/intention/motivation and deliver the lines. 

    Lorraine Ansell Voice Actor, director, sound engineer

    What voice over demo reels do I need for videogames?

    Traditionally there were only really two types of voice acting demo reels. The commercial and narrative reels. These were mostly for the advertising and more documentary or audio drama styles of voice acting work. However over the last two decades there are a plethora of reels for the many variations of voice acting work which now exist. At some point I will do an a-z of voice acting genres. So now the videogame industry market size was estimated to be worth $60.4 billion in 2020. This presents all actors with a wealth of acting opportunities from motion capture, face capture and voice acting. I am very much waiting for the day to be cast in a dance game for mo-cap and for a wonderfully lyrical narrative game for voice work.  

    Should you feel that voiceover work in the videogame industry is for you then consider getting a reel done that reflects a combination of acting not just voicing styles. There are all types of games for all types of audiences so what style of acting and voice work would you like to do? My voice range and acting is very much young adult, female led character work that has charm, a wink and a giggle so I tailor my reels for that character work. 


    What else does my game voice demo reel need?

    Ensure that you add character work but also emotes. What are emotes? These are simply noises and sounds that your character would make when running, jumping or performing any actions in a video game. So when your character swings an axe or jumps on a horse, what sound would they make. An effort sound of putting the body into that position. 


    How do I get cast in a video game?

    Many voice and acting agents get a lot of the AAA games industry casting sides. I've worked on many video games this way from my own recording home studio over the past few years but there are other ways. Many sound studios also hold voice lists and will send out casting specifications to these lists. Or you can have your details up on Spotlight as well as your reels. Maybe interact truthfully with game developers and/or casting directors. Unique to you is your marketing plan so think about who you are and how best you can find voice work in this area. 

    LLD Paradise Killer Voice actor Lorraine Ansell

    How to cast me in a videogame?

    My reels are available and I have a page on the most recent work in the videogames industry I have worked on here for you to see. I've recently had fun working on a game that was first on in 2021 and then went to Steam in Feburary 2021. This is fast fast work for a game release as they usually can take upwards of 2 or 3 years to ship to market. This game is called Only Cans and is a really fun game.  And I play Lady Love Dies in Paradise Killer which is a multiple award winning video game that came out in 2020.


    Please do get in touch when you need some vocal magic for your video game,

    Keep acting,



  7. A Day in the life of a successful Voiceover Artist

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    Lots of people ask me what I get up to day-to-day in my voiceover business. I love this vocal world so much because every day is different and I love that routine of non-routine. This flow of creative work was something I realised would be more satisfying to me than the more usual office based roles out there. But what exactly does my day look like? Let's have a peek.

    What do I do daily as a Voice over artist? 

    The freedom I have in this job is such a benefit. But the overall routine is usually checking in every morning with each audio project. I check to see what voice jobs are on that day, if I have the scripts, if I have all the information for directing or speaking and if the session is live or not. This helps me space out the day so that I can fit other activities in that help my voice. 

    Recording do not enter light

    Vocal Exercises

    I tend to spend time when not in the booth recording for clients, working on vocal areas. I do this to ensure that I keep articulating and keep msucles warm and ready. I do this to check in with my voice to see how each day is. We as humans are human and are not machines so every day my voice will sound different to me as I work each aspect. Sometimes I work on pressure regulating on the larynx or at times I relax the whole body so that my voice box also relaxes. I do tongue exercises or even body streches to ensure the whole of me is working in tip top shape. 

    Breathing Exercises

    I also spend time doing breathing exercises which are so beneficial. They make me feel more mindful and less anxious and also help for training my breath release for long sentances and paragraphs especially for all sorts of copy I read. When faced with long structured sentances a good knowledge of where to breathe and where not to breathe is very useful. This is especially true for the flow of the words as it is for editing the audio afterwards in post production. Sometimes I train with my SOVT straw which is a great way to help strengthen my voice and work hard so I am ready for when a job comes in. 

    General voice over admin

    I also check in with clients. I love working with clients that are both creative and collaborative and that inspire me in some way. So whether it be a videogame that I get to work with the game devs on the world and general narrative constructs or on corporate videos to push a service or product it brings me a lot of personal and professional satisfaction to voice these projects. This month I voiced a video for the RSPCA and we ended up talking about how our cats are queens of the house. My clients joked that their cats "have the house deeds in their name!" ;) 


    Disney voiceover Lorraine Ansell animation

    End of day voice 

    I check in at the end of the day with my voice and ensure that I have drunk enough water and hydrated with fresh fruit and veggies. I do a few relaxing raspberries so that I let my muscles and voice chill out a bit. Then a bit of a snooze and start the fun again the next day! Contact me when you need a voice for your next audio production. 

    Keep chatting!



  8. Top 2020 Voiceover Trends

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    Let's face it, 2020 has been that buzz on the voiceover sound chain that well, none of us could figure out the source. As with every year there have been positives though very much coated so densly that it has been a struggle to unearth them all. For this final post of the year, I'm going to take a look at a few voiceover trends that I saw and what I hope for next year. 

    Lorraine Ansell-in a recording studio

    How did VoiceOver change in 2020? 

    I remember how we all worried about the Millenium bug about 20 years ago and how that would affect everything from banking systems to university records. This year however it was an all together different bug we all worried about. There have been many facets this year and we have all faced them with (insert your most used emotion here). Times have been hard for many industries and in particular for the creative arts. My heart has broken many times as shows either in theatres or TV have been cancelled or postponed. This year really hit hard. Many friends and colleagues lost jobs, lost survival jobs. A show I was invovled in was postponed and we hope that the show will go back on. While I could spend hours commenting on many aspects of the year instead I am going to concentrate on how I saw the voiceover world ebb and flow in the current of COVID-19. 


    The voiceover first quarter was strong 

    In the first quarter, voice over trends seemed to be following the usual pattern. Back to work and projects with industries working with their creative agencies to push forward. So far, so normal. Productions had a normal pace to them maybe even a slight swagger as we carried on as usual. I found that bookings were the same and projects and productions with longer outlooks still looked good. Voices that were popular including youthful urban voices full of millenial promise. I particularly like the cadence and musicality of this voice and that almost throw away ending of sentances. 


    "We'll get back to you in a few weeks"

     That was the first real inkling of change. The emails and phonecalls were starting to sound familiar with this phrase and then....Then we all went into lockdown and that was when the emails, phones, messages stopped. It was quieter than a long pause in the voiceover recording booth waiting on direction and notes, nervously looking at their copy. 

    Here while clients went quiet and we all scratched our heads a bit, actors and creatives went into pre-production overdrive. Many of them turned to the jolly art that is voiceover work in hopes of getting work. I took many calls from voices (new and old) looking for advice, reassurance and maybe a bit of a hug. At that point all from afar. 

    Are there any voices out there?

    And then, slowly the tide turned. Clients sprung back to life as we realised this was no "two week" or "month long" break. This was now our, (pausing for dramatic effect), the new normal in unprecedented times. Yes, many of us have repeated that phrase a few times in the home studio. And now, the voices chosen were for more public announcements and they were usually male, older, with a strong air of authority. Taking their cue from Mark Strong's vocal gravitas, adverts became more about staying safe than playing. So in the UK marketplace, campaigns in times of crisis seem to go for this character of voice. 

    Christmas at sea

    As the summer crept by, work picked up and those shelved projects were dusted off and off we went again. I found myself with a few jobs coming in, truthfully far less than the usual jobs at this time of year but still grateful that my clients were still trading. And as we heading to Christmas, jobs and copy while tinged with a safe messaging were more upbeat. The "family" of voices came into play much more with diversity being key and with advert copy trying to bring hope into things. The usual Christmas adverts focused on family and the voices I heard were wonderfully diverse. This mix I feel, will continue well into 2021. 


    Me in the booth with microphone

    2021 voice over artist hopes

    My personal wish is that our wonderful creative industry picks up and runs with it (all from our home studios of course). Or even from a studio further afield once tier levels even out. I hope to direct more voiceover projects, ensuring copy is tight and delivered well. As ever the e-learning trends remain strong simply because more people are working from home and zooming in and out of meeting is tiring. Maybe more audio based training will mean less fatigue. I hope that diverse voices remain a key factor. And I hope that more production companies realise that need for audio as a way of connecting us all together when we still remain very much enable to connect physically. 

    I look forward to working with creative clients globally, with dedicated and fun voices and with copy that makes me think about things more. 

    May you all have a better 2021!


  9. How can singing lessons help in VoiceOver?

    Posted on

    Ok, imagine a time when we all had to stay indoors. A time when all we did was bake, work from home and check out other people’s homes through the power of the screen.  My only sanctuary was my recording booth. We all entered very committed relationships with live streaming services like Zoom. Ok I know, we don’t have to imagine because we lived it. Did you vow to write that novel? Did you decide to pick up a new hobby? All those acrylic paint pourers, I am looking at you!


    Picking a new VoiceOver tool

    Well I did the same thing but I said to myself in a conversational VoiceOver style that it had to be something to do with VoiceOver. So then I thought, what else could I add to my vocal tool kit? I realised there is one area of vocal work I have avoided. Until now….Singing. 

    Sing out loud

    So I decided to take singing lessons. Now, I sang at school in shows and hymns. But at some point someone told me I couldn’t actually sing.  And so I did what ever child does, I took that completely to heart and head and stopped singing. I danced and would sing-ish the words in performances.  But never completely really sang. And so I did a bit of rapping and some of you lucky ones have heard my “Lets get ready to rumble.” But sing? Me? Goodness me NO!

    Leaving my voice comfort zone

    In my job as a VoiceOver artist, singing has been requested at times especially for character work. And yes, a little humming or a tuneless song are all well and good. But an actual song. It was when my dance teacher (who is a proper amazing singer and been on stage at the Palladium) said that I had a nice voice and bet I sang well. I shook my head and very firmly said, “No! And that was the end of that voice adventure…until…

    Learning voice skills in lockdown

    And then lockdown happened. The first one of 2020 I mean. I scrambled about a little late to the toilet roll party and settled into a sort of non routine. I took out my “things I would love to do if I had more time” list and singing was right at the top. I was a little out of my comfort zone but well non of us were going anywhere. 

    That very same day I was followed on my Instagram account by voice coach expert Lydia Flock. She is the a rising Queen of Vocal health Education. As well as a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, the British Voice Association and association member of the National Association of teachers in signing, Lydia is due to quality in Vocal Massage Training with the Voice Care Centre. Fancy! And she is the founder of Flockstars, teaching all singers of all abilities to reach their key. I liked her holistic approach and I liked her birds of a feather approach. So I took the pitch plunge!

     Lydia Flock Image

    Lydia Loves a Lyrical Lesson 

    So I had a word with Lydia to see how she could help me. Could she help me? I was a little nervous in our first session. I have to admit that while I can talk in front of an audience of thousands, singing to just one person other than myself in the shower was daunting. Lydia was amazing and calmed me straight away. We started off discussing what I hoped to achieve (confidence to sing in front of others), my voice experience so far (decades of voice over acting and producing/directing) and why I haven’t explored singing so far (see above). But hurrah, Lydia was kind and patient and focused immediately on the areas I needed to work on. Vocal muscle re-training and unlocking the shapes I needed to get to the right sounds. 

    Since I started singing lessons with Lydia, I’ve come to focus on my voice and vocal exercises in a different way. There are techniques that have been great for me to wrap my lips and mouth around. And I have loved the sound of the penny dropping as Lydia helped me realise aspects about my larynx, that I had never known before. 


    Top 5 Tips for the Beginner Singer

    I am so pleased to say that while I am not aiming to challenge Adele to any singing prizes, I feel much more confident in voicing a lot more in the form of singing. Because of that, I asked Lydia to share with me some tip for singers who are at the start of their singing journey. Heads up - this is stuff is gold dust. Which is your favourite tip?


    #1 ACTIVELY listen to singers you like

    Get really curious about your favourite songs. How does the artist shape their vowels? Do they “scoop up” or seem to “fall off” notes sometimes? What makes the song so good? All of these questions will help you start thinking in more detail about how you might like to sound as a singer. This can really help you to set clear vocal goals.


    #2 Get curious about your SPEAKING voice.

     How fast or slow do you speak? Do you notice when you change pitch? Finding sounds in our speaking voice that are familiar is a really useful way to connect to your singing voice. For example, finding your higher register might include playing around with an owl sound on a “oo oo” or a “wooo” as if something exciting has just happened.


    #3 Find a TEACHER

    For beginners especially, working on your singing voice can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! I recommend beginner singers find a singing teacher or vocal coach they vibe with and commit to regular lessons and practice. Your teacher is your guide and is there to help you overcome those hurdles of vocal challenges and potentially not fully believing in your voice. 


    #4 Practice REGULARLY

    Learning singing involves motor learning skills so it is crucial to practice regularly. Our voices are just like any other muscle in the body. If we don’t use it, we lose the skill. You wouldn’t expect yourself to run a marathon without having run in 5 years! Singing is the same way. Even just 5-10 minutes a day of practice will add up!


    #5 Check your vocal MINDSET

    Constantly telling yourself negative things about the way your voice sounds will get you nowhere. Thinking you can sing is the first step to singing success. Play around with believing that the way you want to sing is how you will sing. Work on uprooting any negative beliefs around your voice as much as you work on vocal technique.

    Sing your heart out

    I am biased because I love having singing lessons with Lydia and now as we head into the second lockdown I look forward to more learning online with her. Her encouragement and exercises have helped not only my singing but also speaking as well. I have really been much more mindful about pitch, positioning and poutting! Take a session with Lydia and you'll see what I mean. 

    Keep Voicing and please get in touch with any questions, 



  10. How best to look after your voice?

    Posted on

    I talk. A lot. Honestly. I speak and chat and use my voice all the time. Which is a good thing as I totally love chatting away. However chatting and using vocal muscles is tiring. There are days when I have several sessions in one day and say the same words or phrases over and over again. That means it can be over 5 hours of non stop talking. Wow! That is a lot, like when I do videogame characters, a lot of vocal exertion for those emotes mean at the end I am needing a pick me up. 

    Time well spent in the VoiceOver booth

    How to stay talking fit? 

    Your mouth and vocal folds as well as neck and back tire from verbalising all day long. When you spend your days in a warm booth it means the air is dryer as well so you can get more tired. To keep myself in tip top shape for a week of talking, I work through a warm up routine, lip trills, straw singing and working through mouth shapes and sounds on a regular basis. But what else can be done? Here you have a few other ideas.

     My top voice tips 

    1. Steaming - grab that steamer and think hot sauna time. The steam is so good for your vocal folds. They help relax, open them and lubricate them. Essentially the steam is like a warm hug. Gentle and comforting. I like using a steamer but watch you don’t inhale hot air, that can damage important membranes and hairs. Much like bath water, always check the steam temperature. 
    2. Healthy eating - yes, this one is quite important. A varied diet with plenty of fruit and veggies is essential. Of course treats are important (not giving up dark chocolate for anything) but what I am talking about is a good diet with plenty of the green stuff. I have a weak spot for lemons so happily eat these a lot.
    3. Aromatherapy Oils - This is a new one to my list and it has made a huge difference to my life. I had a fabulous consultation with Aira Therapy and Emily who is a IFTD certified practitioner asked me lots of questions. I wanted oils that would be effective for my vocal cords as for my skin and general holistic overall health. She blended up some delicious smelling oils and now I cannot live without it. Such a great find, the oils brings a soothing quality to the air so I can breathe more easily. 
    4. Take a break! - build in time for a tea break. Or a stretch or comfort break. Anything so you can re focus and ground yourself before another job. Voicing long e-learning scripts mean that a singular energy is needed so breaks are the best way to keep that energy up. 
    5. Keep fit - by this I don’t mean train for the next marathon - well if that is your thing then go for it. No, I mean, keep fit by moving all day long. Standing or sitting in the booth all day means muscles lock in position and a locked body means the voice gets locked as well. Keep moving, keep fit, keep being amazing. 
    6. Massage - ohhhh who doesn’t love a massage? Every muscle will benefit from some attention. We can hold onto tension and this can cause us to become less supple all over. This again will have an impact on your voice and vocal cords. There are also massage exercises for the jaw, mouth and tongue which are essential as a voiceover artist.  

    And finally never forget to drink plenty of tepid water. At least two litres in a day but more if you are chatting away endlessly like me. Always have a glass of the H20 stuff on hand as the liquid will soothe and ensure you are replenishing the moisutre that you expel as you speak. If you would like to know more then please do get in touch with me

    Stay voicing, stay well.