Some people have voices that are so uniquely their own that we recognize them immediately. They possess qualities and traits that are emblematic of who they are, and for actors, who they are capable of portraying. Oftentimes in the voiceover industry clients have a particular type of voice in mind they know is a perfect fit for their narration needs. Sometimes the ideal characteristics of the type of delivery they want doesn’t come as easily as the name of a woman with the exact type of voice they want.
Their minds go to famous women they know and oftentimes use them as examples for how they would like their voice talent to sound. They might say we want a sassy VoiceOver delivery in the style of Jane Lynch or Allison Janney, or they may want you to sound a little sexier like Charlize Theron or more confident like Meryl Streep. Voice talent must be able to cue in on what the client means without getting lost in translation.
In truth, it is extremely helpful when the client knows the type of voice they want, and referencing a famous voice is helpful for the voice talent too. These best practices help make the process of finding voice talent and directing voice talent go much more smoothly. With nearly 20 years of experience as a professional voice talent and actress, Debbie understands the importance of versatility and the ability to embody the characteristics of these talented, well-known, female voices.
The Wit and Grit of Allison Janney
Janney is a great example of a smart and clear female sounding voice. Debbie is often told by clients that she reminds them of Allison Janney’s intelligent, mature, and clever style of voice. Both Allison and Debbie possess a secure and grounded tone perfect for a professional eLearning narration or explainer videos, that can be engaging and fun at the same time.
Tough and Smart like Sigourney Weaver
The essence of Sigourney Weaver’s confident-sounding voice is in it’s full-bodied and textured nature. Her voice and stature convey knowledgeable and mature traits that make you take notice and listen. These qualities are perfect for documentaries, narration that is seeped in storytelling. In its richness, Weaver’s voice has a sex appeal to it too. Debbie has been asked to emulate Weaver’s confident voice in all kinds of vocal narrations from documentaries to specific brand-savvy commercials.
Confident and Warm like Meryl Streep
Streep has a feel of poise and self-assurance at the very core of her voice. It is one that can possess an easy and casual feel, while at the same time sounding confident and assertive. Streep exemplifies how maturity can sound calm and rich. As a professional female voice talent, Debbie knows how to tap into those vocal qualities with ease. Their versatility makes them applicable to many types of vocal narrations.
Effervescent and Energetic like Ellen DeGeneres
When we think of Ellen DeGenerous we think of her playfulness and lively energy, especially in her dancing. When a client asks Debbie to bring an Ellen DeGenerous type of feel to a narration she knows exactly what they are looking for; an upbeat and bubbly mature woman. DeGeneres has a mischievous wit to her style too, which is so fun to tap into the recording booth when a client references her clever delivery.
Strong and Relatable like Susan Sarandon
For more informational and professional voiceover projects, clients look for a smart but fun delivery of the text. Susan Sarandon has a richness in her smooth delivery that has an undertone of playfulness. You are encouraged to listen to her because her voice exudes confidence and intelligence. Debbie has used this type of quality in explainer videos and commercials to make the content more engaging and fun.
Tough and Sarcastic like Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch’s comedic lines are dependent on her sarcastic and confident delivery. A Lunch like means an attitude of assertiveness paired with a sassy tone. It’s a kind of confidence that is prominent in mature, older women. A client often wants strength and grit when they suggest embodying Lynch’s voice.
Royal and Refined like Helen Mirren
Debbie has narrated voiceover in a British accent and has found it helpful when a client suggests she sounds like Helen Mirren. She knows that means they are looking for a classy, British delivery. Mirren is effortless in the regal tone of her voice. It is a mixture of confidence and poise, with an undertone of cleverness. Helen Mirren’s style is an example of how to express stature using just your voice.
Wry and Regal like Maggie Smith
There are times clients seek a sterner type of British accent when they suggest sounding more than the incomparable Maggie Smith. They often want Debbie to tap into the wry, staccato sounding quality of Smith’s delivery. In attitude, they seek a regal yet sarcastic flare the likes of a high-class, educated British lady. Smith oozes the maturity and authority of a head-mistress.
Smooth and Dark like Cate Blanchett
Another British woman clients often use as a style reference is the smooth and confident Cate Blanchett. Blanchett has a tender and motherly touch to her voice too. A more casual and easy tone than Smith, makes her voice sound more sexy and alluring. Debbie has tapped into the more sophisticated-sounding parts of Blanchet for voiceover work that includes everything from high-end product and business commercials to IVR Telephony and even medical narration.