Tips To Prepare Your Voice For The Best Vocal Performance

May 24, 2022 - Music Production
commercial voice over artist

As a commercial voice over artist, your voice becomes your biggest asset. How you nurture and care for your voice is entirely up to you. Voice over actors are usually prone to voice fatigue and sometimes permanent damage to the vocal cords. Since the commercial voice over artists are frequently modulating their voice to meet the requirements of the script, their voice tends to lose clarity and flexibility. So, voice over artists must follow strict vocal and non-vocal measures to keep their voices healthy and flexible to deliver the best vocal performance. 

The following tips will help you keep your voice fatigue-free and healthy for any audition or voice-over performance. 

The magic of a good night’s sleep: Sleep helps repair and heal our bodies. So, an undisturbed 6 to 8 hours of good quality sleep before a voice recording session helps the commercial voice over artist to rejuvenate their vocal cords and prepare for outstanding vocal performance. These tricks help to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, giving a fresh start to your day –

  • Remove all types of screens or monitors( phones, TV, laptops, tablets) from your bedroom. 
  • Use an alarm clock powered by a battery instead of your phone alarm. 
  • Use black-out curtains on the windows to keep the bedroom dark and cozy. 
  • If using the air-conditioning or heaters, set a comfortable temperature. 
  • Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. 
  • Take a warm shower to relax your body and mind. 
  • Listen to some calm and relaxing music and read a book. 

Always stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is just not about carrying a bottle of water with you. Water helps to hydrate your vocal cords and make them more pliable. Remember to drink a cup of water one hour before your vocal performance.

Staying hydrated improves your vocal quality and reduces mouth noise. Never wait until you feel parched; keep taking fluids regularly throughout the day. Commercial voice over artists try to include the following hacks to increase their fluid intake –

  • Take water at a palatable temperature.
  • Drink flavoured water.
  • Drink teas like chamomile, ginger, herbal, or other caffeine-free tea.
  • Eat water-rich foods like watermelons, cucumbers, or pears.
  • Track fluid intake during the day to avoid dehydration. 

Mind what you eat and drink: What you eat or drink has an impact on the health of your vocal cords, thus, affecting your voice-over recordings. Commercial voice over artists avoid extremely spicy, oily, hot or cold, sour and sweet foods, coffee, tea, and alcohol before a vocal performance.

It is believed that dairy products and carbonated drinks also affect the vocal cords of the voice over actors. Everybody reacts differently to different foods. You are the expert of your own body. Avoid foods that cause acid reflux or flatulence.

Protect your asset, your voice: As a voice over artist, you need to protect your voice from situations that could irritate and cause permanent vocal damage. Avoid places filled with smoke, highly polluted areas, or places where strong fumes are emitted.

Rest your voice: Like your body, your vocal cords also need rest. Before a voice-over recording, stop speaking for an entire day. When you talk, always use a lower tone and volume. Never yell or whisper. Both yelling and whispering put a lot of strain on the vocal cords.

Vocal warm-up exercises: Commercial voice over artists perform regular vocal warm-up exercises to deliver the best vocal performance. The vocal warm-ups activate the acid in the muscles of the vocal folds, stretching the throat tendons.

Vocal warm-ups reduce or prevent vocal fatigue or injury as it gives you flexibility and control over your voice-over performance. Like any other exercise, vocal warm-up exercises should be practiced by the voice-over artists every day and before every voice-over performance. Follow these warm-up exercises to keep your voice healthy and flexible –

  • Breathing exercise: Inhale through the nose till the count of 8, hold till the count 8, and exhale through the mouth till the count of 8.
  • Humming technique: Inhale and then exhale while humming at a comfortable frequency and switch between high and low frequencies.
  • Lip trills: Roll the tongue to touch the roof of the mouth and produce ‘trrr’ and ‘rrrr’ sounds.
  • Tongue twisters: Practicing tongue twisters loosen the mouth muscles and sharpen consonant pronunciation for better articulation during voice recording.
  • The ‘ha’: Inhale by standing upright and placing your hand in the stomach. Now slowly exhale by pushing the stomach inward with every ha, ha, ha.
  • The ‘hum’: Slowly start exhaling while humming until all the air is exhaled. 

Avoid smoking: Smoking can irritate the vocal cords and affect the quality of voice-over recording. Prolonged and frequent smoking can lead to vocal fatigue and permanent injury to the vocal cords. Commercial voice over artist stop smoking before or during the voice recording. Exposing yourself to secondhand smoke or passive smoke is also harmful to your voice.

Pre-performance preparations: Pre-performance preparations for commercial voice over artists start one hour before the voice recording. To deliver the best voice-over, the below-mentioned preparations need to be followed one hour before your performance –

  • Stay awake one hour before the voice recording to give yourself time to stay hydrated, eat and perform the vocal warm-up exercises.
  • Water takes one hour to show its effects on your voice. So consume a glass of water one hour before the voice recording session begins.
  • Take appropriate measures to protect your vocal cords from smoke and other substances that trigger allergies.
  • Protect your voice by wearing weather-appropriate clothing to cover your mouth, nose, and chest if the temperatures are shallow.
  • Reduce or completely stop talking one hour before your recording. 
  • Stay in a calm place away from pollution, fumes, and other irritants one hour before your voice-over recording.

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