Updated: Jan 16, 2022
Happy New Year everyone! 2022 is here and I’m sure that it has some good things as well as some surprises in store for us. While some may have felt that 2021 wasn’t their year, last year was really good to me. Sometimes when December hits, many of us try to coast all the way to the New Year. We don’t expect a lot to happen in that month, we are ready to be done with the current year.
That wasn’t the case for me. At the beginning of December I had a client reach out to me wanting a poem written in less than four days!! They agreed to pay my rush fee and my writing fee and I got it knocked out. I thought it would be a great and ironic way to close out the year, even though I had a whole sale on custom poems literally a week and a half before my client reached out to me.
On December 14th, I received a call from a Kentucky number that I didn’t recognize. I was in the middle of playing against my daughter on her Nintendo Switch and almost ignored the call. I decided to answer and was greeted with a voice from someone I hadn’t talked to in a while. I had met this client at a concert at a church a couple
of years ago but we had never exchanged numbers. They quickly explained that I had been referred to them by a mutual acquaintance.
This client quickly got to the nitty gritty of what they needed. Their church was going to have a special Christmas Eve service and they needed a poem voiceover about Advent. Because it was the 14th, they were going to need a quick turnaround. This meant not only would I be writing a custom poem but it would be a rush order, so my rush order fee would apply for this client as well!
I agreed to do the work and got straight to it. When clients pay my rush order fee, they are paying me to drop whatever it is that I’m doing and make their work my top priority. I got the call around 3:42PM and was writing a rough draft of the poem that night. In addition to wanting various Advent terms and scriptures referenced, my client was clear that this piece couldn’t go over a minute. Awesome.
I wrote down my poem and timed it via voice recorder. I ended up with about two minutes of material, so half of it would need to be trimmed. I was able to get it down to a minute and three seconds, so I reached out to my client to see if that would suffice. They stressed that it was very important that the piece be no longer than a minute. So it was back to the drawing board. I then began to ask myself what could leave and what could stay.
With all of my edits done, the piece was down to approximately fifty-six seconds. Now it was time to record my voiceover. I let my client know that I had an in home studio setup, so I could record myself with no problem. While this was my first voiceover, this wasn’t my first time recording myself. A few months prior, I recorded a spoken word verse to submit to a hip hop artist in North Carolina, to be a part of their album.
Once I recorded and compressed my voiceover, I sent it to the client. The next day, I received some feedback about the voiceover. My client wanted me to be more dramatic with the delivery of certain lines, so I went and recorded a second draft. After sending the much more dramatic version, my client was satisfied.
I got the call on a Tuesday afternoon, and by Friday the final version of the recording was sent and accepted. A week later, my poem aired during their Christmas Eve service! There was a video posted to the client’s Facebook page and everything. I sent the video to some family members out of state and shared it multiple times on my social media platforms.
Let me tell you why this voiceover means so much to me. When I was younger I used to feel a way about both my voice and the way that I talked. I had never thought about it until middle school during my time in Texas. One kid on the bus asked where I lived and he I told him, he imitated me and made me sound like a butler or something. I didn’t have the southern drawl that most of my classmates did. I hadn’t grown up in Texas. Instead, I was born and lived in Hawaii, lived in California where both of my siblings had been born, and moved all over as a result of my father being in the military.
This wouldn’t be the last time that I would be ostracized for my voice and the way that I talked. This followed me from middle school until halfway through college when my voice finally deepened. When I worked at McDonald’s on the West side of Jacksonville, Florida, customers would hear my voice as I took their orders and be surprised at the fact I was black when they pulled around to pay for their meals. So many times I heard, “Man we thought you were white!” I had been told that a lot. When you are a black kid who likes comic books, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and video games, but wasn’t really into what the other kids your age were into, it’s easy to feel like an outsider. At least I’m black, I thought, only to be told that folks didn’t consider me black because of the way I talked.
Growing up I had heard that I “talked white,” but I had no idea how ignorant that statement was and neither did the kids and adults who said it. Now it wasn’t all bad, there were certain customers who loved how I talked and one time I went on vacation for a week, when I got back they told me I could never leave again. As a teenager, all you care about is fitting in, but things change as you get older.
When I moved to Indiana, I was a college student working in fast food. Around this time I had discovered poetry and spoken word, an art form that emphasized clarity of voice and diction. Around this time I was starting to get a lot more compliments on my voice and how I spoke. I would still get ignorant statements about me not being black or being an “Oreo”(black on the outside, white on the inside), but they didn’t bother me like they used to. One customer told me they thought I should be on the radio, while another asked me if I was in college. Even when I was out and about, when people found out I did poetry, they said that it made sense.
Fast forward to December of 2021, and the thing that I was insecure about as a child and teenager made me money! The voice I was insecure about is now the same thing I love about myself. As an adult I’ve seen crowds of people listen to what I have to say. Now in this age of pandemic and the internet, I have the ability to have my voice travel to places I’m not physically present in. Not just that, but now my voice can bring finances into my house and build up my business.
It’s amazing how life can come full circle like that. There’s a Bible verse that says God will take foolish things to confound the wise, and that’s what this voiceover job did for me. My whole career as a writer and poet doesn’t make any sense but that’s a blog for another time. Check out the voiceover video below and let me know what you think. What’s something that you were insecure about but have grown to love?