John Cavanagh, a professional voice actor and member of Voices.com, the industry-leading marketplace for voice over, was chosen to be voice in the stadium in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
After a busy start to 2014, John Cavanagh was expecting a quiet February, until he was contacted by a Headline Talent Producer from a company specialising in spectacular events on a global level.
"I received an email from a producer, inquiring if I would be interested in the role of stadium announcer at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games ceremonies," John says. "I thought he meant the usual thing of supplying audio files. I had something of a surprise when he said it was a live announcer gig and he wanted me to be in Sochi." John and the producer moved the discussion of the project to Skype, where John learned that the company looking to contract his voice, FiveCurrents Productions, had previously produced the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies. With such a background, the voice talent knew that this was a project- and an adventure- he wanted to be a part of.
The following days were a whirlwind of rearranging other commitments, sorting out a visa to the Russian Federation, and discussing logistics of John's time working on the shows he would be voicing. On the last day of January, he flew to Sochi and immediately began rehearsing his voice over work, which played to a stadium audience of almost 50,000 people.
John recalls the first time he stepped into the stadium in Sochi: "I was on a break from the studio, and was just blown away by the extraordinary quality of the spectacle in front of me. This was world-class entertainment on the grandest scale! At that point, I actually felt quite emotional to think that here I was, a part of this experience."
In the past, John has hosted many live broadcasts for the BBC and more, but the Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony, with an estimated global audience of nearly 3 billion viewers, was an opportunity to be heard on an international scale. "It was a joy to work with such a professional crew," the Scottish talent shares. "My colleagues in the announcers' booth were Charlotte Bibring, a popular Parisian presenter on Radio France, and Alexei Nekludov, the voice Russians associate instantly with Channel One TV. As well, our director carried out her immensely complex role in a way that left everyone else feeling calm and reassured, which was extraordinary in itself. Wherever the Olympic Ceremonies were broadcast throughout the world, NBC, BBC, whatever, we were heard on them all!"
After voicing The Olympic Winter Games in February, John returned to Russia twice more to do the announcing for the Paralympics, this time for the Italian company WorldWide Shows.
The Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games takes place on Sunday March 16th.
John says, "I know that, come Sunday night I'll be feeling a bit sad that this is all over. Working on these shows and being in Sochi has been an incredible experience. Above all, working with such great pros and having positive feedback from them about my work is something I'm very happy with."
John also thanks Greg Fox, the producer whose interest in his work made this opportunity a reality.
About John Cavanagh
John Cavanagh is a Scottish voice over artist, radio broadcaster, musician, record producer, and writer. He is one of the few people to have presented material for all five BBC UK networks, encompassing everything from heavy rock music on Radio 1 to opera on Radio 3, and has lent his voice to programmes for BBC Scotland and World Service, among others.
Cavanagh first ventured into the world of commercial voiceovers in 1991 with a television spot in the UK for the Sony Records album The Sound of the Suburbs. His book on the early work of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd has been translated into Italian and Spanish, having been in print in English for over ten years. John's solo music goes under the name Phosphene and he is one half of the duo Electroscope. Recent record productions include work with Rab Noakes and Barbara Dickson and for an album by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. These days, John enjoys working on voice overs for clients around the world.
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