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VOICE ACTING
Is Your Voice Aging? Don't Despair! Embrace
The Change And Make It Work For You

By Deb Munro
Voice Actor & Coach

After more than 30 years in this industry and joining a heavy rock band in my late 40's (I didn't even know I was a singer, LOL), I've had the privilege of recording my voice for many, many years. 

When that happens you also get to hear all the changes that occur.   

Starting when I was 19 as an on-air talent, I had a nice youthful, broadcasting style of voice. SINGSONG. It took years of training to get rid of that sing-song nature and many bookings along the way using my youthful, high-energy personality.  

Well, my high energy personality hasn't changed, but my voice certainly has.

And while I can still mimic what I was able to do when I was younger, those who are genuinely younger sound more natural, so I focus now on working with the changes.  

I've been blessed my entire career to be able to succeed in almost every aspect of voice acting. I highly recommend focusing on just one area at a time, but it was recently pointed out to me that I have been able to be a pro in nearly every genre, so while I feel truly honored that this is a rare thing, it also means I haven't specialized in any one area – for over 30 years. 

It's time for me to change, now that my voice is telling me so.   

HOW THE VOICE CHANGES

There are many aspects to voice change. It starts from youth to adulthood, and then changes again as we age.

When we're kids, it's usually the high registers that are prominent. Male voice actors will likely go through a time in your teens or early 20's where your voice will start cracking as it deepens in tone.

This is an awkward stage for male voices, and is one of the reasons that The Simpsons was blessed that Nancy Cartwright made a difference auditioning for the role of Bart Simpson. Had they cast a teen boy, they would have eventually had to change the actor as his voice changed. Nancy's voice was already a woman's (and one of the first to do boy voices), so has not changed and has been with this long-running cartoon series since the beginning.   

When the voice cracks, it can be undesirable if you have no control, but it can also be used to your advantage. 

The challenge for the boys is that this doesn't last. So you either have to learn how to mimic that sound and your youthful ways, or you have to go with the flow.

HOW I AM CHANGING ...

Now it's time for me to go with the flow. What do I do, now that my voice is very deep, textured, with lots of gravitas and really in some ways very masculine? 

Well that's the whole point to writing my article today – the solution. 

It's time for me to look at pursuing industries that suit this new tone and texture. I've also matured mentally, so I now have a very mature sound, and am auditioning for senior roles at the age of 53. 

Instead of hating it, I'm embracing it and taking it on as a challenge for new direction. 

I love voicing anything – honestly. I'm not too fussy, because I love the challenge of bringing copy to life (even if it's poorly written). I value myself and try to maintain integrity in my rates, but I love everything. 

CONFIDENCE WITH AGE

One thing I've noticed is that documentaries, video games and the like lend themselves to voices of confidence. And as we age, we gain more and more confidence because we have learned so much through experiences. 

Documentaries would not be an easy industry for someone with higher registers to enter (not impossible, but just not as readily used), so this is the perfect time for me to pursue that genre. 

Video games are also a great home for those of us with aging voices, as it helps in bringing characters to life with depth, experience, gravitas and power. I've done several games in my career, but this is the first time I'm going to FOCUS on it. 

In the documentary world, I'm aiming to become the female David Attenborough – why not? 

EMBRACE THE CHANGE

The point I'm trying to make is that you can't change what you can't change. 

Instead, embrace the change and make it work for you. 

Voice over veterans who've been at this for the past 30 to 40 years like me know exactly what I'm talking about. 

As we enter into retirement ages, many of us love what we do so much that we don't want to retire. So this is the time we embrace the jobs that suit our change. 

From audiobooks to the healthcare industry, insurance, travel, documentaries, narration, commercial and video games, there is still plenty of opportunity out there for us NO MATTER WHAT OUR VOICE AGE!  

Don't give up. Instead, grow with the change and just adjust your direction.
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ABOUT DEB
Deb Munro (AKA VOChef Deb) is an award-winning veteran of the online world, with over 30 years experience as a voice actor and casting director, plus15 years as a coach. A highly respected and recognized talent, she brings in her own personal experience and uniquely honest approach that "tells it like it is" without sugar coating and false promises, helping thousands of talents succeed in this craft quickly and successfully. Deb is engaging, fun, has enough energy to feed the planet and truly loves what she does and can't wait to share it with the world. She is best known for her roles as Mai in the animated series "DragonBall and DragonBall GT", Carla Carumba in the series "Benjamin The Elephant", "Pirates of the Caribbean" video game for Disney, "NeverWinters Night" with Bioware, Bustiana in the Gundarr series, characters in the series "Marco Polo", Richard in BusyTownMysteries, "True Pulp Murder" narrator and many more. Currently the voice for "Makeful TV", "ABC15", Granny in "Turbo Fantasy", "StackApp", "Planet Fitness", "Enbridge", "Project Literacy", "KOR Hotel Group", "Voice of Ring Central", and imaging voice for several radio stations, plus thousands of narrations, national commercials, talking technology, message on hold and more, including Telus, Wayfair, BMO, Scotiabank and KitchenAid.



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Comments (5)
Rich Owen
7/18/2023 at 8:59 PM
Wow, my sweet beautiful Deb! Retirement age at 53? Nope, you're just getting into your stride for the last half of the race! But what you say is spot-on. I'm your father's age and the changes in my voice have been frustrating. But the added texture and gravitas gives it something younger voices can’t do. So changing focus is the answer. Thanks for your perspective!
Your friend,
Rich
Mark Carballo
7/13/2023 at 12:23 PM
Such a great article.
I’ve been experiencing a lot of changes in my voice since I started to suffer a severe and chronic GERD, sinusitis and post nasal drip. And it’s been 15yrs since these conditions started. The aging process of my voice, after 30 years of career, caught me while I was working (still am) to heal everything, and because of all those issues, I felt like I was so well trained, to face a new challenge in my VO career path.
Memo Sauceda
7/9/2023 at 5:48 PM
Well said Deb!
Anna Cucullo
7/8/2023 at 5:05 PM
Yes my voice changed, as well. It got a lot deeper but I think that’s because I’ve been smoking more, lol, but I can still hit those very high notes.
Laura Lambert
7/7/2023 at 1:19 PM
As a female audiobook narrator of 'a certain age', I enjoy the changes I have experienced in my voice in recent years. I heartily agree with Deb! These changes should be embraced, used to our benefit. It certainly has helped me create more interesting and rich character voices.
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