For any newcomers, up-and-comers, rookies, and rising stars, here is a champion for you to follow. Jamie Frye new to the VO game, but she came to PLAY. Since we added her to the Benztown VO roster in 2011, she’s been adding affiliates like crazy. It’s pretty simple…she’s got a great voice, she’s always hungry for more work, and she treats her affiliates extremely well. She’s a working new mom, who provides some refreshingly realistic insight & inspiration to our readers. Many thanks to Jamie for taking the time out of her busy work & home schedule to give our readers this interview!!!

Jamie & Gary get along famously.

Jamie & Gary get along famously.

You’ve been in radio for quite awhile, but you’re new to the voice-over game. How did you break in to the VO facet of radio? Two words: Justin Case. Friend, co-worker, and all around good dude. I’ve worked with him at two different clusters here in Albuquerque and he encouraged me when I said I wanted to try branching out into voice work. And by “encouraged” I mean “produced my demo for me.” He’s super talented and a great guy and he got me hooked up with the fine people at Benztown. He’s been so helpful to me with both time and advice, that I feel like I would still be trying to figure out how to break in if not for him. So I guess the moral of the story is it helps to know someone?

What do you love about working as a freelance VO talent?
It’s kind of the same thing I love about radio:  being able to play around and get paid for it. I get that this is a business and the fact that people are paying me to convey the image of their station is not something I take lightly. I want to get it right and I care that my clients are satisfied. That having been said, I try not to take myself too seriously, and I love that some of the moments where I’m silly or loopy end up having the personality my clients need. In VO, as in my life, being a complete dork has really paid off!

How did you get started as a VO actor? What was your first gig?
Outside of local spots, I’m pretty sure it was a Benztown client that was a chain of hair salons (maybe?).

Have you ever had a voice coach?
No, but I’m in the market for one. (Know anyone?) Something that I’m really trying to work on is my ability to hear myself objectively. I know how things sound in my head, but I’m not always able to translate it the way I want to. Doing the TV spots has helped with this since I do them with a producer and agency rep and they are able to coach me in real time to get what they want.

Who are your VO idols/mentors? Who influenced your work as a voice-over artist?
I grew up in Boston listening to Billy West do voices on WBCN, and while I’m not sure you could say he influenced my style (I don’t really do characters) I’m totally in awe of his talent.

What is your dream job?
Aside from the early wake-ups, this is it.

Where did you work before radio?
I had all kinds of jobs: I was a rep for a home medical equipment company, personal assistant, and most recently working for a large health insurance company in their employee communications department. I always gravitate to stuff where I’m working with people and be creative in some way or another.
What would be your 3 main tips for a youngster trying to start a VO career?
I’m still pretty new at this, but these are things I have tried to do.

Tip one: know somebody. I hear Justin Case is looking for new friends :) Seriously though, network and let people know your intentions. If you want to do this work and know someone (or know someone who knows someone) use your connections to talk to them. I find that people want to help you if you want to do the work. If you’re looking for something for nothing, not so much.

Tip two: when someone gives you advice or feedback, TAKE IT. Sometimes it’s hard to hear that you’re not right or not ready for something, but it’s often true especially when you’re getting started.

Tip three: Don’t take it personally. This is still super hard for me, but you have to realize that programmers and producers are often after a specific sound or have a specific read in mind, and it isn’t about you if you don’t nail it on the first try. Try to take your ego out and be willing to work on it until it’s right.
How do you schedule your work?
I try to do stuff as soon after I get it as is humanly possible. Since I do mornings, this means prime time for me at the mic is usually 10am-1pm and this is when the bulk of my VO gets done.

Which production system do you use and why?
I use Adobe Audition because it’s easy to work with and it does everything I need it to.

What gear do you use?
I mostly use my employer’s gear since I’m here when copy comes in from my clients. I’m working on building a small home studio, but it’s been tough to find the time. Also, since I live in a house with a one-year-old and two dogs, soundproofing is an issue.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
Get Justin Case to shell out for a new super-dope set up, then ply him with liquor to let you use it. KIDDING!

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