If you make a living as a voiceover artist, you’ll know there’s nothing worse than succumbing to a cold, or worse still a throat infection just before you’re due to go into the studio. The typically nasal sound that is part and parcel of a cold is not something people want to hear in their radio drama, or when listening to their favourite audio book. And advertising clients certainly won’t be able to use you, no matter how much they liked your reel or audition. So it’s important to keep your voice in tip-top shape.
Talk to any voiceover artist and they’ll tell you one of the most important things you can do is get enough sleep. When we are tired our vocal chords over compensate for the lack of energy and you start tensing muscles that should be relaxed. This in turn means that your voice becomes tired much more quickly than normal and you will find yourself straining and may eventually become hoarse. So, rule number one is get lots of sleep. The second most important thing a voiceover artist can do for their voice is drink lots of water. We’re all supposed to drink about a litre a day for general health anyway, but if you use your voice to make a living it’s even more essential to get enough fluid. Your vocal chords are surrounded by a mucous membrane which needs to stay moist in order to keep your vocal chords operating smoothly and fluidly. If you notice that you’re having to clear your throat a lot, which can be very irritating when you’re trying to record, it’s not because you have too much mucous, it’s because this mucous is too thick. Drink more water and this will help to sort the problem out.
As a voiceover artist, you need to think of your voice as a muscle that needs to be worked out regularly to keep it in shape, so even if you’re having a quiet few weeks and you’re not in the studio, try to do some vocal exercises every day keep it in shape. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do is practise some low humming in the shower. It might sound daft but the combination of humming and steam from the shower will do your voice the world of good and help to keep it tuned.
And finally, if you have a big job coming up, try and avoid dairy as it also makes your mucous thicker. So cut out milk, yoghurt, cheese, chocolate, ice cream and butter. It might seem harsh, but remember the client has booked the voiceover artist they heard on your reel, so you need to make sure your voice sounds just as good on the day of your job as it did then.