How did you first get into the world of voice overs?
When I was a kid, I used to do impressions of everyone! Teachers, classmates, celebrities on the TV, you name it. I have always loved radio and when I was 17 I worked in hospital radio for two years, I presented a Classical show, then a Jazz show, then the main two hour slot, which I loved! I went on to study jazz drums at Leeds College of Music and then the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and am a professional freelance drummer. Around 2005 I decided to buy a mic and put together a voiceover showreel, it was pretty crude really, just a mish-mash of characters and different reads, but it got me my agent! From there it’s gone from strength to strength.
What’s your favourite job to date and why?
It has to be the national 118 118 ads that have been on screen for a while now. We recorded about six commercials in all, with ‘the men with moustaches’ playing various sports, I’m the commentator. I did one session in London and the rest on ISDN from my home studio, it was great fun to do. We laughed a LOT during the sessions!
What style of read puts you a cut above the rest?
I get asked to do a lot of different styles of read, from bloke next door to hard sells, but I guess it would have to be the character/accent/impression based stuff as it gives me a chance to get creative, express myself and think out side the box. I really immerse myself in the character and not just ‘do the voice’, which I think is vital if you want to be totally convincing.
Have you been involved in anything interesting recently?
I had a fun session a couple of weeks ago, where I played several characters for The National Football Museum in Manchester. I was totally put on the spot and ended up voicing in a Bolton accent, then Derbyshire, then do a Pathé News announcer and a Dickensian London gentleman!
Can you give some advice that you would’ve appreciated when you were starting out?
Not to think that just because you have a set of vocal chords and a mic or can do silly voices, you’re a voiceover artist. I realised pretty quickly how hard it is to sound convincing and not to slip into ‘voiceover mode’ when in front of the mic. It’s definitely a skill that needs honing and lots of practice and there’s far, far more to being a voiceover than simply talking into a mic. I didn’t realise until I started working with commercial producers on a daily basis what’s required to deliver great reads and the chops you need to have down.
Anything else you would like to let us know?
What I love about this job is that every day is different. I woke up today with a couple of things in the book and by the end of the day I had voiced a football commentator for Yahoo! (they even biked a Coles commentator mic round for me.) an ad for Talk Sport, a David Dickenson and Brian Blessed impersonations. Nuts! I’m learning every day and am really looking forward to growing as a voiceover artist. I have aspirations and goals… but I don’t want to tempt fate by mentioning it here! (;- )