I am a product of love.

My whole life, a lot of people have shown me a lot of love. I never had a father growing up, so, for me, I always sought guidance from older gentlemen, and those older gentlemen came in the form of older black gentlemen; older Hispanic gentlemen; older white gentlemen. That added so much value to my life as an adolescent.

Each one of them added so much value to this young man, to make me a better man.

I’m a product of love from a single mom. From a mother who raised us in a trailer park. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of love shown to me by brilliant teachers who taught me the power of positive messages and taught me certain things that made me better in life. I’m a product of love shown to me by excellent individuals who came from the military and became police officers and showed me how to become a better man and have responsibility and to learn how to have integrity and character. I’m a product of that love.

I’m a product of love from younger cats who teach me never to forget the innocence of life. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of love from white women, white women who showed me or gave me a certain perspective that helped me become a better person. I’m a product of older Asian gentlemen who showed me wisdom. I’m a product of that love. I’m a product of everything from a Hispanic to an Indian to all religions and cultures. I’m a product of that love—human love. I became a better man because of all those people.

All the colors in the rainbow made me a better man.

I wouldn’t be the man who I am today if it wasn’t for each one of those people, from the police officers that help me to my older white homies to my older black homies and youth mentors. I’m a product of all their love. That made me a better man.

I’m a product of the black culture, for one, which I wouldn’t even have a career today if it wasn’t for the black culture, if it wasn’t for the black activists that I would sit and I would listen to how they speak. I would listen to speeches by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and listen to how they would have their cadence so I can understand what it means to speak in a powerful way.

I’m a product of all that.

I’m a product of black music. I’m a product of black visuals. I’m a product of the black culture, for one, that I can never take for granted because I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for that culture, if it wasn’t for those people that help me become a better man.

Rooted in human compassion.

One common thing that goes through the entirety of this product of love has always been compassion.

It has always been kindness. It has always been strength, controlled strength. It’s always been reflection, putting that mirror up and seeing what inside of you can make you better. I have to do this because I want to become better. I want to become wiser. I want to become more understanding of all perspectives, of all lives, but when you see a pattern and you hear one of your human beings, one of your fellow people, your brothers and sisters crying out for help or crying out for justice, it’s on us as human beings of a product of love to listen, to hear, to feel, to see if we can understand.

I can’t help but only go inside of myself to see that what can I improve on to be a better human being, to see that how can I do a better job of loving people and spreading positive messages to others. How can I do a better job of not having subconscious hatred or racism or all these things inside myself so that I always reflect the light of love? I have to reflect the light of love because I am a product of that love.

It’s on us.

We weren’t born racists. We were taught how to become racists. We weren’t born with hatred. We were taught how to become with hatred. Compassion and empathy, we understand those. What is human compassion? It’s a feeling of understanding and sympathy and wanting to help someone who’s grieving or suffering. As human beings, we all understand that feeling of having somebody urging us, “Please, listen to us, listen to our pain.”

Cool. I’m listening. I’m listening. I’m listening. I’m going to do a better job. I’m going to do a better job of listening. I’m going to do a better job of becoming a better me. I’m going to do a better job of loving equally between all races, religions, cultures, and creeds. I’m going to do a better job. That’s my only answer. I’m going to do a better job, because I am a product of all those people. I’m a product of all those people.

Heart and soul.

In some professions, you cannot have bad seeds, and I understand that.

Not everybody can be the perfect police officer. They can’t. I’ve met some incredible police officers. My homie, Sergio, is an incredible police officer, served in the military as a ranger, became an elite Jiu-Jitsu master, has integrity and has character and has pure love in his heart. That man taught me a lot about life. That man taught me a lot about life, but he also has such a high standard to become a police officer. His standard was here. In order to get here, you have to become that type of police officer with that type of heart and soul. There’s police officers out there like that. I want those to be the police officers. I want those people to protect and serve because those are gems.

Positive messages.

Compassion and love is all we have.

Compassion and love is all I have.

If we start seeing white and we start seeing black, and we start seeing Asian and we start seeing Indian, and we start seeing these things, we get poisoned. We’re no longer innocent. We’ve poisoned ourselves and our inner light because we can’t stop seeing color. But we could feel compassion. We could feel love.

I’ve felt I’m a product of love to the day I die, from every single one of those people, from every single profession, color, and creed. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for the black culture.

For that, I’m very grateful. Peace.

I recently had the pleasure of doing voice over work for a Kleenex commercial that touches on all the emotions that people are experiencing during these challenging times.

While the commercial doesn’t specifically mention COVID-19, it paints a clear picture of #AllTheFeelings that we’re collectively experiencing in this unprecedented moment: uncertainty, grief, sadness, but also happiness to help others, gratitude for good heath, strength and hope for better times ahead.

This commercial is a great example of why it’s so important to choose the right voice actor – and the right voice – to make the message as powerful as it can be.

So, I want to talk about what makes this voice over so effective and how the same techniques can be applied to other ads and messages.

Some background

The Kleenex commercial was cast and produced using traditional voiceover methods and structures. This includes the use of an agent vs. an online casting site.

There are many ways to do a voice over. Understanding how to do a voice over, according to the specific needs of the project, is what separates a professional voice-over actor from the less experienced. It requires an in-depth analysis of the client’s needs, a voice actor’s studio setup, the tone of the voice-over copy and the overall object / call to action.

The Kleenex commercial required a voice actor to have a soft and caring voice. As an urban voice over talent that has a similar sound and personality as that of a black  voice actor with a deep voice / vocal range, I knew exactly how to approach it.

From the heart

There are a number of factors that make this Kleenex commercial successful. The visuals, music and copy all play a role in capturing the emotions expressed by the ad, and in expressing empathy (i.e. showing that Kleenex cares and understands what you’re going through).

But without the right voice, the entire message could be spoiled. For example, if the voice sounded too gimmicky, cheesy or harsh, it would change the entire tone of the commercial.

To be effective, the voice needed to be soft, caring, empathetic and relatable. It needed to be genuine and from the heart.

A voice of reason and wisdom

What is voice over depth, and how does it affect the message being expressed here?

You may assume that a deep voice doesn’t gel with a soft and caring message – but actually the opposite is true.

Having a deep voice doesn’t mean it needs to sound extremely authoritative. Sometimes, a deep voice is essential for expressing warmth and comfort coming from a place of experience. The human experience.

When you listen to my voice over in the Kleenex commercial, you can hear how that deep tone is more advantageous as it helps to comfort the viewer, while also sounding like it could be someone you know: a friend, a father, a voice of reason, a loved one who’s by your side to get you through these difficult times.

PRO TIP: When doing kind and soft voice overs, one should try to always come from an empathetic place. In addition to the voice, the use of an undertone of soft music during the voice over session can be extremely beneficial in bringing out the warmth in tone.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips from professional voice actor, poet and philosopher Kabir Singh.

Motivational voice overs can be a very powerful way to connect with an audience. When it’s done properly, a good motivational read can have a deep impact on people across all ages, colors and backgrounds.

But the opposite is also true: when a voice over misses the mark, it can ruin the whole message. A bad delivery doesn’t just fail to inspire. It can come across as cheesy.

So, what are the dynamics of a motivational voice over? What motivates us vs. what makes us cringe? What inspires us vs. what leaves a bad impression?

As a professional voice actor, I’ve done motivational voiceovers for many companies, including Pepsi, Nike and the Kansas City Chiefs, to name a few. Here’s what I’ve learned about what makes these voice overs effective, and what doesn’t.

A shared human experience

Why are motivational voice overs so powerful? It’s because every human can relate to the feeling of being inspired. We all understand it on a deep human level.

What motivates us may be different for each person. But that feeling of being motivated and compelled to action is a shared human experience. It’s endearing to us and our spirit.

This is also why inspirational voice overs are commonly used by a variety of organizations, from athletic brands to churches. When they hit the mark, they’re more than just inspiring. They’re moving, emotional and memorable.

Intimate reflection

A good motivational voice over creates the opportunity for reflection.

For the voice actor, this can mean getting closer to the microphone, maybe speaking a bit softer, like you’re having an intimate conversation. That delivery is just as important as the message. Done well, the voice over makes you reflect on things about life, a goal, a lifestyle, a product – whatever the objective may be.

But the beautiful thing about motivational voiceovers is what happens next.

Building intensity and passion

The voice over becomes even more powerful as it builds in intensity. It starts out soft and intimate, then it gets more passionate … and more passionate … and more passionate … until you reach a final climactic moment of triumph – the moment where all that initial reflection shifts into inspiration and action.

For the voice actor, cadence and timing are so important here. An inspirational voice gains momentum in line with the message and the music. There’s a push—building to a more powerful voice—and then a release.

That’s the dynamics of a good motivational voice over.

Now, I want to talk a little more about what these voice overs can accomplish, whether it’s an advertising voiceover, sports voiceover or a VO for other projects.

Motivation to act

Every human knows what it’s like to feel a little ounce of motivation. To inject that motivation into your message, it needs to be done in a way that we can feel and relate to the beauty and the grace of a voice that builds and makes you reflect.

That voice is what gives people the motivation to take action … to make one more day better … to make a life change … to try something new … to look in the mirror and be proud of who they are.

Each message will have its own specific goal. But the voice is what really drives it home, resonates with the audience and gets them to take the next step.

That’s the power and the beauty of a motivational voice over.

 

PRO TIP: Always consider the relatability of the voice. Motivational messages are even more effective when the audience thinks, “Hey, that sounds like me. I can do this too…”

 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips from professional voice actor, poet and philosopher Kabir Singh.