CHR

How Have 5 Years Gone By?

In the blink of an eye, it is the end of 2019 and time to set goals for 2020. But this year also marks my fifth year pursuing voice over full time. The foam in my booth has literally turned from bright white to a funky yellow! Five years ago so many things were unknown: how would I juggle being a working mom, how would I find VO clients, how would I run a business as a solopreneur? Now all of those things are still part of my daily life, but I am confidently figuring it out. There is a good rhythm to my voiceover practice. So looking ahead to 2020, I am optimistic that I am on the verge of more good things. and I have always believed that if I don’t say it aloud, or in writing, then the universe doesn’t hear it… so, here are my goals for 2020:

More Radio Imaging

I have worked hard, every single day for the past few years, to grow this side of my business. I hope that in 2020 I can add more CHR and Adult Hits stations to my roster. I continue to reach out to station managers and program directors. I love doing liners, sweepers, and station promos. I am no longer with my manager and my hope is that stations are happier to make arrangements with me directly.

More Commercial Campaigns, Fewer One-Offs

My hope is that in 2020 I book more commercial campaigns and fewer on-offs. Like the work that I did for Anytime Fitness, I hope to book more of this. I love helping a brand emerge and I love being associated with certain brands. I also love working with ad teams continuously and building the rapport that comes with it.

Grow My Repeat Client Base

I lot of my business, about 60%, comes direct from clients. Most of that is from clients that come back over and over again. This year I hope to add five or six more solid clients to my repeat client roster, folks I can work with over and over again and count on for steady work.  Again, like my campaign work, this will enable me to really get to know them. This will also help my continue to build on my sustainable, consistent family income.

More eLearning

I love doing eLearning work. I have some steady clients that I do work with almost every week. This year my hope is to have a few more clients that I do work with regularly. I enjoy all aspects of this work, whether I am playing a character in a training module or a traditional narrator. I love working with the instructional designers to bring these roles to life and make them authentic.

Political Spots

My hope for 2020 is that I can help bring about some much needed change by voicing many blue political spots. I have so many hopes and prayers for our country, and the world, and it is my hope that if a some more liberal folks are elected we will be in a better place next year. I was a political science major in college and I have very strong feelings about what is going on at present. To literally be the voice of change would mean a lot to me. I am very proud of the political demo that I did with Brandon Perry from Adrenaline Studios and I hope that I book a lot from it.

Speak at Conferences and Build relationships with Exhibitors

Since I got into voice over I have been fortunate to attend conferences, many conferences, including WoVo Con, VO Atlanta, VOCation, VO North, and more. I love them for so many reasons, and that is really a separate blog. I am at a point in my career where I want to start giving back to the voice over community that is so very important to me and sharing what I have learned. I have sat in on so many valuable sessions, and now I would be so excited to contribute.

I also love going to the expos at these conferences. I always post about my gear and everything that makes my studio great on my social media. Now I want to start building relationships with the folks who represent at these conferences. Since I represent brands for a living, I would like to build a bridge between the products I use to represent other brands and myself.

Wishing All the Best for 2020

I have noticed on social media that there is a tremendous generosity of spirit in the voiceover community now more than ever. From folks like Bev Standing, Mark Scott, J. Michael Collins, and Kim Handysides to name a few. I am thinking of my fellow voice talents this week and always. I share this joy in our community and am so proud to be a part of these great VO tribe. I wish everyone much success in 2020. I think back to what I learned from Anthony Gettig in the beginning of my career: The rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor.

Where it all Started

It seems like just yesterday I was in the front seat of my mom’s horrible brown station wagon belting it out to Gloria. I loved music and I grew up in the days when little kids could sit in the front seat which made it all the more convenient to change the radio station.  Long before the days of creating playlists, and even before the days of mix tapes, I got to play DJ in the car and boy did I love it. When I was in nursery school I sent my mom to by my first record, My Sharona. She couldn’t actually understand what I was saying and the guy at the record store was able to figure it out. I think that is how my road to radio imaging began, with a love of radio and music that is true and pure. Now, I do radio imaging work as a full time professional voiceover actor because I can bring all of my passion and enthusiasm to each read for the stations that I work with!

The Draw of Imaging

When I first started in voiceover, I began booking a lot of commercial work. I had a lot of passion and I had to learn how to harness the passion. I was brainstorming about my voiceover business and wanted to think about what else was under the commercial umbrella, and that is how I learned about Radio Imaging in the first place, as it is not really a term that non-industry folks even understand. When I discovered the world of radio imaging, it was as if all the stars had aligned, because I found the right format to channel all of my energy! When I started doing reads for top 40 stations, I felt at home. I don’t know how else to explain it. Perhaps it’s because I loved the music, so being able to talk about it in liners and station promos was really exciting. Learning the lingo, from CHR to Classic Hits took a while, but I figured that out as I was doing sweepers for stations all over, from Little Rock to Osh Kosh.

The Allure of the Formats

When I was little my dad used to joke that he married my mom for her record collection. My parents both grew up in the city in Philadelphia. They came from hard-working families and they did not have a lot of material possessions, and what they had did not come easily. My mom talked a lot about how she would use a portion of her babysitting money to save for record albums. Growing up we always played music and danced a lot at home. Even when things were tight we had a stereo and there was always something good on. I remember on the weekends when we would clean the house my dad always played different records, from Broadway shows to Michael Jackson to Abba, so growing up like that, how could I not love music? Motown, all Motown, was played often in the Levin household. The music just becomes a part of who you are when you hear it all the time. I think that is why I am open to working on so many different formats in imaging today, because my parents exposed us with such enthusiasm to so much when we were young.

When I first started booking in imaging, I fell into the typical CHR part girl read. My voice is warm and fun and I love sounding upbeat and happy, that’s who I am innately so it’s easy to bring the thunder and make the liners jump off the page. I also discovered Christian CHR, and working with religious stations brings another element of joy to my work. Their messages are always happy and filled with excitement. I believe the world needs more positivity and optimism, so I get a lot out of the sweepers and promos that I do for the Christian stations I work with. I have done faith based projects in other realms in voiceover, and I find all of these projects to be inherently upbeat and that is really good for me.

I love, love, love doing Classic Hits! Since I grew up listening to 80s music, it really resonates with me! I also love having fun with the sarcasm and humor of the Adults Hits channels. In my family my husband is the one with the dry, whitty humor, but on air I can assume that role and it is fun for me to engage with the scripts and move away from the rah rah party girl.  Just this week I also got to do a set of liners for an Oldies station for the first time! Since that is the music my folks always played growing up, it was not just happy work, but particularly meaningful to me too.

Feeling at Home

I think that life is short and you have to do what you love. I have always loved music, and I have a true passion for voiceover. Working in Radio Imaging feels so natural because so much of who I am inside can just flow when I am in front of the mic. I am so thankful for each and every station that I work with!