The Voice

me pushing away a new mic and singing into an old-timey mic

I don’t know what it’s like in other professions, but I know that it used to bother me when I was told I sound EXACTLY like someone else.

Do lawyers get annoyed by people telling them their closing arguments are like someone else’s? Do electricians have a similar annoyance? Probably everyone does to some degree or another.

My voice is my calling card. It’s what’s unique about me, what I sell and how I make my living. After someone would say I sounded EXACTLY like so-and-so I’d listen to that person and think, are you high? It’s like saying Dwayne Johnson and George Clooney are practically twins! They’re both talented, good looking guys but in completely different ways.

The comparison is, I think, meant as a compliment. But most people don’t have the vocabulary to describe the nuances of voices. We voice people have a million words to pick apart and analyze every element that makes up a voice. A producer/director recently told me that my tone was very similar to another voice artist’s tone. I got that. And he’s right. But we don’t sound alike.

However, they say everyone has a twin and it appears that I have a voice twin. I’ve heard from a few former broadcasting colleagues, people who know voices, that they’re hearing me on projects I haven’t done. And they’re spread across the province.

Since she is unwittingly also representing me, I wonder about her. Is she treating our voice well? Getting proper rest? Does she know that whispering is as hard as shouting on the vocal cords? Does she stay away from menthol drops? Smoking? Vaping?

This other woman is getting some interesting gigs. She’s the new voice that exclaims, Winner! Gagnon! at the lottery machines. She has done heartfelt radio and TV commercials for clients I’ve never met.

Now, I get my fair share of work, I figure. So it doesn’t bother me that the other me is working, too. You won’t hear me coming out of a lottery terminal but my voice tells workers when it’s time for breaks and lunch in a brick plant. I offer encouragement to paintball players and remind theater-goers where to line up if they do or do not have a ticket. That’s all in addition to the regular fare of eLearning, narration, commercials and audiobooks. If you hear “me” on a new Nivea TV ad, that IS me, not her!

Wherever there’s a voice, there’s a job that someone has done.

Imagine how irked I was to receive an automated call about an appointment, only to hear an Artificial Intelligence voice with the message. But, that’s a job too. AI needs a real human as an example. It’s a job that deletes hundreds if not thousands of other jobs, but someone got paid for it.

That’s the kind of job I would never do. I sure hope the “other me” feels the same way. I’d hate to hear myself selling myself out!

4 thoughts on “The Voice”

  1. Voices are very important to me! For today, its mainly how I can identify someone from another, being blind. But I can tell you after 4 decades of listening, it’s much easier to distinguish differences between male voices than female primarily due to the dynamic range and tone. Until I can identify that unique quality in a woman’s voice, it’s hard to distinguish who she may be and I’ll often hear something even she doesn’t realize.

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