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Do You Have Low "Voice" Self-Esteem?


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 28, 2009

Comments (9)

Elvis impersonatorAre you being true to your own voice?

What's the price one pays for trying to sound like someone else?

Richard Weirich returns with more commentary that will get the wheels turning here on VOX Daily.

Low "Voice" Self-Esteem

By Richard Weirich

It's in there somewhere. You came into the world with it. No question, some were blessed more than others. Nonetheless, it is uniquely yours. I'm talking about your voice.

The ideal voice today is.....well, to be honest, just about every voice. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, voice work was primarily a man's field. Deep, resonant, bass and baritone, "manly!" But not anymore.

The name of the game today is "natural" which is something I've preached for years. Unfortunately some folks just don't seem to grasp that message.

Most of us don't really want to sound like ourselves. We prefer to sound like old "what's-his/her-name." And so we begin to manipulate the instrument. Back in the day we called them "puke jocks" as they pumped more than just a smile into their voices.

When you go messing with what God gave you you're most likely going to end up sounding phony.

I've known friends in the biz who smoked and drank excessively so their voices would be changed. Before tummy tucks, facelifts, and breast implants there were those in our profession who had their larynxes scraped to somehow improve voice quality. (Not recommended....unless you want to risk sounding like Minnie Mouse.)

All of these folks were suffering from low "voice" self esteem.

So, how about you? Does your voice cause you to feel like you just don't measure up?

A little dissatisfaction is healthy as long as it keeps you striving for perfection. Just make sure that you're not striving for destruction.

The best tools you have for your voice instrument are your eyes and ears.

Many of us probably didn't care much for the music and art appreciation classes we had to take in college. If you got anything out of those classes I hope it was the ability to listen to music with a "critical" ear and to look at art with a "critical" eye. Our eyes enable us to embrace the words on a page as we seek mood and meaning. Our ears help us to ascertain if we successfully attained our goal.

Most often the problem is not with the voice. So don't beat up on yourself because you weren't blessed with incredible pipes. Instead, focus your attention on communicating the message on the page.

Learn to incorporate your personality, your passion, your heart. Want more than anything to move your listener.

Learn to listen to yourself with a critical ear.

Does the recorded product match the intent of your effort? What sounds best? Use it again. What sounds out of place? Throw it away. Are you speaking in your comfortable range or are you straining for pitches that just aren't there? Do you sound strained or relaxed and in your element? Are you into yourself or into your audience?

Fine tune those things that you can control and give your voice a break. There is nothing wrong with your voice. Accept it as it is and put your emphasis on communication.

What can you do to be compelling enough to capture attention and move your listener to action?

There's a word that's been lost in our craft. At least, I'm not hearing it much anymore. We use titles like "voice talent" and "voice artist." Note the emphasis on "voice." Maybe therein is the problem. More precisely we are "communicators."

Richard Weirich

Any Comments?

Do you have anything to add to this conversation or thoughts to share with Richard?

Looking forward to hearing from you!


©iStockphoto.com/Lise Gagne

Related Topics: Elvis, Elvis Presley, Impersonators, Interpretations, Richard Weirich, Voice


    Great question. I've been guilty of this on far more than one occasion. I'll say it again: On far more than one occasion. I combat this by focusing on being "real" and telling the story. I want the words to become mine whereby I "own" the story and then "telling it the way I tell it".

    Posted by:

      WOW. This definitely speaks to me.

      Posted by:
      • Elie Hirschman
      • August 28, 2009 9:19 PM

        This kinda applies....when I get nervous or frustrated with a script, my mouth gets really dry. No amount of water will help. Anybody have a remedy?

        Posted by:
        • Therisa Bennett
        • August 28, 2009 9:20 PM

          Another great article VOX! Good job Richard. I'm changing my business cards. I shall now be known as a Communication Artist. lol

          Posted by:

            You record. You listen to it to or three times and congratulate yourself on your stellar talent. You come back a week later and play it through again and it makes you weep, so you edit it to death. But each time you get a bit closer to the way you really want to sound so that one day you play something through- and it sends shivers down your spine and makes you smile.

            Posted by:

              I really love the idea of Voice Acting being referred to being a communicator. It works very well. A great read.

              Posted by:
              • Jeremiah Jones
              • August 29, 2009 11:28 PM

                Dear Stephanie,

                As a former radio disc jockey I can remember that people who had the ‘pipes’ got the job, pure and simple. Even if the deep voiced announcer hadn’t the wit or charm of the lighter voiced DJ he jot the job. Even in the movies in the days of the stars like Carey Grant or Gregory peck, they worked on making their voices ‘manly’ to quote your own term. But in all of this gravelly voiced galaxy along came remarkably commercial voices like Sterling Holloway (Pooh Bear, Kaa, and Cheshire Cat) and in later years Jim Cummings or the whispery voice of Mason Adams (Smucker’s jam) or Dom Delusive. Today a voice actor is much more commercially viable if he sounds like John Fiedler (Piglet) than the deep voices that at one time dominated the air waves
                to your point they knew how to play their voice like the instrument it is rather than the instrument they would like it to be.

                Michael Morgan

                Posted by:
                • Michael Morgan
                • August 31, 2009 10:18 AM

                  Thanks for this encouragement. Focusing on being a communicator. What a novel idea. ;-)


                  Posted by:
                  • Lorraine Knox
                  • August 31, 2009 10:18 AM

                    I definitely loved this posting. I was so unhappy with my voice for a long time, and after reading these articles and listening to many voice-over podcasts I'm certainly more happy with my voice than I was 1 year ago. Thank you so mucho Richard for writing this article.

                    Posted by:
                    • Pablo Hernandez
                    • August 31, 2009 10:54 AM

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