Back in the 1990’s I had the unique opportunity to work as a singing waitress at a couple of different restaurants. Both jobs proved to be some of the best I’ve ever had – I hustled, serving tables, making cash in hand quickly, while also allowing a place for my love of singing and performance AND impressing customers, thus encouraging larger tips.
To say it was a unique situation, is an understatement. Singing for restaurant customers, often right up to their table, was very intimate. And, when someone said, “Okay, sing for me!” you did it right there on the spot. As a singer, sharing your voice is sharing a part of your most-honest-self and can make one feel very vulnerable. Right up close, with no smoke and mirrors in the way of production, is revealing.
In my voice-over business, I am so grateful to not be put on the spot in that way. I am able to perform in the protection of my studio. And yet, even behind closed doors, our voice can reveal our vulnerabilities.
The voice is a wonderful indicator of mood, stress level, even personality. Don’t believe me? What impression do you receive when your first hear someone on the other side of the phone? Can you sense their mood, anxiety level, or even their personality? I certainly can and have been called on my own “mood” on countless occasions when answering the phone.
When recording a voice-over, no matter the subject, there is a world of expression that can be revealed, hidden, channeled… My personal goal to make each script work requires expressing enough of myself to present the material naturally and with feeling. I do believe that the voice reveals information about ourselves that we cannot hide. Learning how to work with our voices ultimately means learning more about our selves. It is an interesting journey, daily, to hear what is revealed by my voice and to work with it to offer the very best to each script.
So, while I am no longer singing regularly, making tips as a young, hard-working waitress, I still strive daily to sparkle and shine, to “impress customers”, and to give everything I have to every performance!
*song from musical, “My Fair Lady”