The Voice That Came In From The Cold

The Cold War 1988 . A certain European capital. My voice is smooth, calming. The Middle Eastern bomb-maker sits behind bars in the main police station. He is wracked with tension. I show him a one-way air ticket to a certain country and calmly explain I can have him put on board the next flight there unless he tells us what we need to know to save lives. He reads the destination and knows he would not survive there. I reason with him in a low, gentle voice. He cracks. And agrees to help us.

Afghanistan. 2008. The Taliban are firing at me and my patrol. We take cover. As they knew we would. In war my voice is different. I bark into the combat radio net ‘CONTACT! WAIT OUT!’ And then the Taliban directed mortar fire on our position. Crump, crump. Showers of earth, blasts of hot air, the jazzy zippy sound of shrapnel. I shout out orders to my soldiers, an urgent, authoritative voice….

England, 2016. My voice is again different – full of love, serene and steady, as I state those magic words ‘I do’. Thereby beginning a new adventure, hopefully one that will last a lifetime.

Having moved from my Cold War job and into the Armed Forces, I’d been lucky enough to have been offered representation by a London-based voice agency. This brought me TV ads, promos, corporate and documentary voiceover work. And my real-world clandestine and conflict experiences, as well as negotiation skills has made my voice what it is now. So last year I decided to change direction in my voice artist career and take up the challenge of going it alone as an independent voice. Not as scary as being spied on, or shot at and mortared by the Taliban but pretty daunting nonetheless.

As an agency voice artist, you prep your script, turn up at the appointed studio in good time, deliver to the highest professional standards, then leave, knowing that the sound engineer will edit, package and send to the client. Now, I have to learn to be my own sound engineer, publicist, marketing and business manager, and find that leading edge to offer solutions to brands needing my kind of voice.

And that is why I’m writing this – setting down the beginning of this new chapter in my professional voice-over career. A vision, an ambition. But my ambition is driven not just by logical thinking. But rather by emotion, feelings and setting my heart to achieving a long-cherished dream of being as successful as a newly independent voice actor as I was with an agency – but this time being my own agency.

But thankfully I won’t be having to do all of this on my own. Because I’ll be helped along the way by the beautiful lady mad enough to accept my words ‘I do’, who not only agreed to be my wife, but now agrees to be my sound engineer.

Taking the making of success into my own hands. Finally, echoing the John Le Carre spy novel’s title, my voice is coming in from the cold.

So what’s next? Well, you can read more in my next blog, but meanwhile if you would like to know more about me, and hear if my voices can help you, please visit my new website