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My tips for getting into the voice over business

I recently had the opportunity to share my input and advice on how to be a voice actor at the One Voice Conference. This is an amazing conference that provides voiceover actors and students an open platform for learning and exchanging ideas. I was happy to share some of my personal journey of getting into the voice over business and also provide some tips on how to be a successful voice actor. Below, you’ll find the video and transcript of my talk – hope you enjoy.

Hey, my name is Kabir Singh – voice actor, poet and philosopher. I want to thank you guys for attending this voiceover conference. Shout out to One Voice. I really appreciate this opportunity to share some of my experience with you. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on social media @kabirsvoice, and I’ll make sure to respond the best I can.

I made a PowerPoint for you guys to really go over some of the details of the voiceover business and my journey. The title of this talk is “How to Become a Voice Actor: Building a Thriving Career from Scratch.”

Who am I?

I’m a voice actor, poet and philosopher from Los Angeles, California. My inspiration on this whole journey of voice over began about 10 years ago. To be honest with you, my inspiration is my family, my mom and my sisters.

For a little bit of background, I grew up in a trailer park in La Puente, California, and I have no experience prior to voice acting – no acting experience, no improv. I wasn’t born wanting to learn how to be a voice actor. It is something I discovered along the journey, and I think it’s important for me to discuss that because it’s important for you to know that you don’t need to have this “be born an actor” mindset. Sometimes it’s as nothing but as much as finding your authentic goals and finding who you want to become and what you want to accomplish.

Some of my clients throughout the years have included Google, Nike, Pandora, NFL, NBA, Nintendo and Pepsi. I’m also the current voice of T-Mobile’s customer service IVR. It’s a privilege to do these high-client jobs, but I don’t take any client for granted.

I work with small companies, like startups and non-profits to larger companies. So if someone was to say “Hey Kabir, what is your specialty as a voice actor?” My specialty would be sounding real. In other words: sounding authentic. I would say that I’m described as an urban voice – I have a “cool” sound. I don’t think I’m cool, but I got a cool sound. And I would say contractions and ad-libs is a specialty of mine – and we’ll talk a little bit about contractions and ad-libs when it comes to being on the microphone. But these are some of my specialties.

My qualifications

I’ve been a full-time pro voice-over for over eight years and I would say I started my journey as a voice actor over 10-11 years ago. But to become a full-time voice actor, it took me 3-4 to accomplish.

I am of the new school of VO – from the sound to the business. Voice acting has gone through its own growth, and I’m part of the new school. I love the old school, and I respect it. You know, the old school game was different – the old school game didn’t involve online casting platforms. The old school game may have not involved SEO and website marketing. The old school game involved more client and managing relationships.

My sound is of the new school. I would consider my voice to be very relatable to the generation of now and the future.

This next fact—I don’t like saying it that often, but it’s important for me to say it because otherwise you would not have belief in what I’m saying. It’s like, “What have you accomplished, guy?” And it’s important for me to say this fact, which is that I’m a six-figure voice actor.

It’s taken me a lot of time to earn that and build a business around that, but it’s important for you to know so that you know that I’m coming from a place of success and experience. And so I don’t mean ego when I say that, so let’s get past that one.

I have a growing, 100,000+ audience on Facebook that I’ve worked on, growing my Facebook page, growing my LinkedIn and my connections with clients and everything, growing my YouTube channel – so that I can grow my audience. Some of this stuff is really important as you become your own “DIY voice actor.”

So, let’s get past me and go into details about how to be a successful voice actor or how you can accomplish whatever you seek on your journey.

Voice over business plan: How to start a voice acting career

Lesson #1: D.I.Y. until you can H.O.D.

First, let’s talk about how to start a voice acting career.

Lesson #1 is: (D.I.Y.) do it yourself until you can (H.O.D.) hire on demand. And this definitely has been a learning experience for me. I went from DIYing the entire business, from website to auditions to graphics and editing and branding. DIY everything, because that’s the entrepreneurial spirit. That’s the entrepreneurial mindset.

As your career progresses on in life, as you start making money XYZ different ways, you want to become efficient. And on that journey, it has to go from D.I.Y. to H.O.D.

Now, for instance, I don’t do a lot of website stuff on my own. I hire a company to do it. I don’t necessarily handle every single editing job. If it’s a giant e-learning job, I might hire an editor to save time.

Self-direction is obviously very important. But let’s start from the top here and go a little bit into detail of each element.

The website is a very important thing as you grow as a voice actor. Especially in the new school, you have to have your own website and then build that website. Just because you got a website up, it doesn’t mean it’s done. I still work on my website almost every day. And that doesn’t mean that you have to handle the technical stuff.

That means being able to D.I.Y. some other things, like the strategy of the website, the SEO (search engine optimization). And these things that, when you go deep into them, become very time consuming. You have to start at least being open to these things.

Social media and graphics go hand in hand – you can start all this stuff on your own. Start creating your profile. Start building your social audience. Start having some banners for YouTube. Use Canva. Use Fiverr, if you can. And then start learning the other things, because there’s many things to D.I.Y. here.

Editing and studio tech basics are extremely important. How fast can you edit? Do you know how to run a live session? How is your studio setup? Is your mic really good? Is it efficient when you’re recording video?

I’m still learning all these things now. And in many ways, I’m still learning how to be a voice actor. I had to buy new mounting things for my booth, so I can have a proper setup. And my point is that all of this stuff has to be learned over time.

Negotiation – I love negotiating. I love it. I think every person doing business should embrace negotiations. It’s very important as an independent voice actor to be able to negotiate comfortably … to be able to negotiate confidently and try to find that balance of value and humility.

Finding agents and consultations go hand in hand. I did a lot of consultations in my business when I was younger. I really strived to create a business that was efficient. And in order for me to become efficient I had to learn efficiently. Consultations played a big part of that. What I can learn in an hour doing direct consultations took much longer than if I had learned it on my own. Finding agents is another big one. Agents still partake in this business, and they’re very important, depending on what level you want to become successful at.

Self-direction – you can’t live without it as a voice actor. The game is self-direction: to be able to D.I.Y. your own coaching of yourself while you’re on the microphone. That’s a process.

Forming a business, i.e. a company – Learning how to be a voice actor is the first step. But how do you go from a DBA to an incorporated company?

Branding – who are you? I am a voice actor, poet and philosopher. I had to work on that branding myself, because I had to dig deep and see who I am. And that’s part of the branding.

P2P (pay to play) – online casting is a big part of it, and I’m not going to go too much into detail how to use these online casting forums, because there’s many panels at the conference and online where you can find many videos about specific pay-to-play casting websites and how to optimize your profiles and demos on there. But I will touch base and say that this is very important to do it yourself until you can H.O.D.

Lesson #2: Time is the lock & communication is the key

Time is the lock and communication is the key.

Here are some of the things to think about as you’re growing your business and learning how to be a voice actor:

How well do you communicate?

Whether it’s via email, phone or online casting website messages, how well do you communicate? Do you communicate on time? Do you communicate fully, in detail, answering every bullet point question a client or potential client may have? Time is the lock, communication is the key.

Can you communicate business negotiations effectively? And this encompasses a lot of things: showing mutual respect and understanding with clients. Everything from rates to usage to confidentiality agreements, NDAs. There’s a trend in our business where people are disrespecting the NDAs, and that’s unfortunate because as you climb the ladder of success, that’s not the thing you want to disrespect. That’s part of the business: how well can you communicate and respect these things?

Can you invoice accurately and on time?

What is your invoice method? Do you use PayPal? Do you use Venmo? Do you use bank transfer or Quickbooks? Is it efficient, or do you snail mail, and check and PDF invoices? What does your client prefer? These are things to think about if you want to build a thriving business and voice acting career.

Do you submit auditions to agents on time? This is very important. Everything is, “We need the audition in an hour” … “We need the audition in 5 minutes” … “We need the audition in 30 seconds.” It can get ridiculous so staying on time with those auditions and labeling them correctly is very important.

Live sessions – I like doing live sessions. I love it. I think they allow the client to get a sense of who you are personally and that’s very important as you build the business. But beyond that, it’s very efficient. And, can your performance match the expectations of your client? Because that’s what a live session will show.

Live sessions allow quick revisions. They allow the client to make quick adjustments in real time, and that becomes very important.

Lesson #3: Be forward thinking in business

If you’re trying to grow as a voice actor, or as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, it is incumbent upon us to think forward … to reflect on what’s going to happen in the industry in the future.

A couple things I’d like to talk about are search engine optimization (SEO), websites, blog articles – what are these things?


SEO is very important. It’s becoming more important than ever. A basic question I would ask is: what do clients type in Google to find your voice. Think about that. If you’re a client, how would you define your voice, and when I go into Google, what do I type in?

A perfect example: my SEO research has taught me that “urban voice actor” was searched way more – 10-20 times more, than “urban voice talent.” Now, these things change over time. SEO changes as industry grows and search terms grow, but as of today, in 2020, “urban voice actor” was searched more than “urban voice talent.” One word: talent or actor. Urban is the same, and voice is the same. But it shows so much detail, because it tells you that when you build your website, you might want to use certain terms more.

So, think about what words describe you and your voice, so that when you’re building your website, when you’re building your blogs, these things can come up in Google more.

Business Consultations

Very forward-thinking endeavor: write out specific business questions that you can get consulted on. For example, when I first started my journey of voice over, there was a lot of legal things I didn’t understand. For example, what does “in perpetuity” mean? In perpetuity – it can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing, depending on if you’re getting paid for it or not. And, in voiceover, you will hear this term often.

So be forward thinking by doing consultations and quickly learning these business terms.

Tech and studio improvements

How good is your studio quality?

10 years in, my studio still is getting improvements. One example: in less than a year I’ve incorporated something new, which is Source Connect Nexus. It’s a great service and a great product. I’ve used source connect for a long time, but Nexus allows a certain feature that really makes it beneficial during live sessions. And this is an example of forward thinking and constantly improving as you attempt to forwardly move in your business.

Core Principle #1

My core principles – I’m gonna be honest with you. I didn’t really have core principles when I first started voice acting.

I didn’t think about these things, because I didn’t really think of myself as a brand. When you think of a company, you think of their mission statement. And I had to reflect on this and up until about two years ago, I hadn’t reflected on it. You learn your core principles sometimes from what other people describe, sometimes what you describe, and you kind of mix it together.

For me, my first core principle is authenticity.

Authenticity is the name of the game. Right now, we’re going to talk about, specifically, authenticity on a microphone.

When doing voiceover projects, you get a lot of different types of scripts. E-learning scripts are a perfect example. In an e-learning script, the goal usually is to make it very relatable. How do you make something relatable? Well, contractions are a great way to make things relatable. For example, “going to” vs. “gonna” – very simple adjustment, but makes it very conversational when reading a script.

Ad-libs: this sometimes can make a script very conversational, and it works great.

Balance of inflections: where’s your peaks and valleys? Are you always up in inflection, or are you always going down in inflection? Or, are you mixing it up a little bit?

Pace and energy: what’s your rhythm when you’re reading your copy? What’s the rhythm there? How’s your energy feeling? Are you getting too hyped, too energetic for the script? Are you keeping it very conversational, very loosey-goosey?

Formal vs. informal vs. hybrid: The following is a specific example, very simple but it will show you how I would approach an e-learning script with authenticity in mind.

  • Formal: “Onboarding shall start as soon as you have completed the next step.”
  • Informal: “OK, so onboarding is going to start as soon as the next step is finished.”
  • Hybrid: “Onboarding will start as soon as the next step is completed.”

The hybrid is little bit of both, meaning it’s not using too much of the “gonnas,” but it’s also not necessarily using too much of the hard, formal sentences.

Practice the formal vs. informal vs. the hybrid. Get a feel for how that affects the microphone when reading your copy, and practice your authenticity. It’s something you genuinely have to practice.


This is a good one. Vulnerability is very important, not only in business, but in life. One of my favorite philosophers is Ramdas. And Ramdas says that “The mind is the veil of the heart.”

The mind is the veil of the heart, meaning your mind can often keep you from being completely vulnerable. Your mind can often keep you from really shedding those tears. Really keep you from being 100% you. Your mind does.

That vulnerability has allowed me to understand emotions deeper in life. Vulnerability has allowed me to really ponder on the reflections of life and consider them very deeply.

  • Where’s your heart?
  • Where’s your soul?
  • Where’s your truth?
  • Where’s your silence?

Meaning, how conscious are you of your heart and your soul? Do you know who you are? Do you know your sufferings well? Knowing is one thing. Now can you express those things, can you express your heart, soul and truth on the microphone?

I often find that silence is very powerful in the journey of vulnerability, because silence allows you to explore all these things that make you feel a certain way. And they reflect and they show up in the form of vulnerability. Think about being vulnerable when reading your voice over copy.

Core Principle #2

I like customer experience. Customer experience has really gone through its own transitions in life. Especially nowadays, it feels like sometimes customer experience is not really paid attention to.

What makes up customer experience? What type of customer experience do you want to provide for your clients? For me, responding to clients efficiently and very clearly is very important. I want to be able to respond to them in a few hours or less. I want to be able to clearly respond to their questions. I don’t want to miss a question. Pay attention to those details, because they become vital when you’re negotiating, when you’re writing contracts, when you’re building your business.

Providing availabilities openly to agents – this is something I had to learn. I didn’t do a good job in the beginning of providing availabilities, especially when I get really busy with voice over. You have to start managing multiple availabilities. One client puts you on avail, meaning puts you on hold, for a certain day and time – now you have 2 or 3 clients putting you on hold for the same time or day. Who are you gonna give it to? Well, you gotta manage to communicate all this information to an agent. Make sure you communicate and track those things very effectively, because again time is the lock, communication is the key.

Respecting and honoring NDAs is part of the customer experience. What does that mean?

Respecting an NDA confidentiality means when someone asks me, “Hey, Kabir, did you do the voice over for Pepsi,” my response is “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Or, “Hey Kabir, did you do the voice for NFL?” – “No, it wasn’t me.”

Silence. I don’t take pictures when I’m in sessions. I don’t take videos, I don’t go post the client. I’m on a higher end of business. So when you’re dealing with clients, you need take their NDAs very seriously. You got to respect those NDAs.

Following up to client needs, questions and emails – again we talked about this, but it’s very important.

Going beyond expectations by reviewing references and scripts prior to session – sometimes it’s very important not to forget to review these scripts and references. A client may send you a music reference, a video reference, an alternative script – you gotta organize these things and really go through them prior to session. Because when you’re in session, you don’t wanna be the person: “Hey, did you look over this,” and you’re like, “Oh no, I didn’t.” That’s not going to be a good look.

Part of the customer experience for me is my reviews. I take reviews very seriously. We all should. You can find a review system that works for you. There’s many: Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook – all have review platforms. For me, Google My Business is very important. I take pride in my Google My Business reviews. It’s very important that I reflect positive reviews and I respond to each one. All these things when you respond to them, they become important to keep your Google listing high – so don’t forget to respond and keep that list nice and healthy.

Q&A from Beginner Students on How to Start a Voice Acting Career

I often get a lot of questions from students wanting to learn voiceover and how to get a career in voice acting. And I thought it’d be nice to go over a few of these questions in this session. So let’s start off with the first one.

1) Do I need to have an expensive home studio in order to record auditions that are able to land jobs?

And my answer to that is: no. It’s a short answer but let me explain a little bit.

When I first started voice over, I had a $200 setup – a simple $100 dollar mic and a little interface. And I got it going. That $200 setup lasted me three years. I had made money already, a little bit, not too much. I had built a business, a little one, not too much.

After 3 years, I invested and I got a $400 microphone. That lasts me about 6 years. It wasn’t until then that I bought a $1,000 or $1,200 microphone, because you don’t need these things right off the bat. A lot of people think, “Let me go get the best mic, the best setup, I’m good to go.” You don’t need that to make money with your voice.

Technology has made it easier for you to accomplish these things with less investment and then build it over time. I started voice over in a closet. Now I got a full booth that looks real nice, but it took me many years. So, have that mentality.

2) Which online casting (P2P) should I start with?

Another very important question. When people ask me, “How do I get into the voice over business,” I often point them to these platforms.

As for which one to start with … I would say first to reflect on your budget. It is very important to do some of these online casting platforms. Now why? It allows you to practice your auditions.

You know, when I first started voice over, it took me a year and a half to make one dollar off voiceover. Some students ask, “How hard is it to be a voice actor?” Well, for me, it took me a year and a half to land my first job. I auditioned every single day. I auditioned every month. I didn’t book anything. You know how disheartening it was?

My first job was a $100 job, and I started crying – because it made me believe. That $100 job made me believe that I have the potential. Took me one year and more to book that $100 job.

You got to do these P2P platforms for the practice, at least. They can play a big role in helping you learn how to be a voice actor and get better over time. There’s many platforms out there. Bodalgo,, Voice123, Voice Money – there’s a bunch out there. Do your research, see what one works for you based on your budget and play around with it.

3) With no acting experience, how difficult is it to tap into the emotion of a script?

My good friend and colleague, Brent Hagel, from Trailer Voice Artists, shared this emotional feeling wheel with me from, I believe, the Junto Institute. It’s a very interesting wheel. The wheel starts off in the middle and you have the 6 core feelings: anger, sadness, surprise, joy, love and fear.

Junto Institute

What happens when you mix fear with surprise? Or what happens when you mix anger with rage? What happens when you mix joy with romantic?

These are different emotions you get to play with. And this wheel does a really good job of making you remember all the different emotions you have as a human being.  How do I access them? Well, you play around with it. Find this wheel online and just play around with the different emotions when reading a script. It’s a great way to tap into your emotions.

4) What are the most common fails for auditions?

Another great question. I would say, people get caught up in their mind and they forget to go on their heart. And you can hear it, you can feel it on a microphone. So you have to go into your heart. It’s very important.

5) How long did it take before you could quit your day job?

About 4 to 4.5 years. I was like, okay, I can go full-time with this thing, let me get into voiceover. Let me build a business. It’s a very scary thing, because you don’t know where it’s going to take you. You don’t know how much money you’re going to make. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

Be patient on this journey. Stay inside of your heart. Stay inside of your soul and protect it. Protect your dreams. Protect your ambitions. Protect your silence and solitude and learn from it.

6) What has grown your voiceover business the most?

Another great question. I would say consultations – one-on-one consultations. I did a lot of one-on-one consultations with many voice acting coaches, from Jay Michael to Dave Fennoy to Bill Holmes to Marc Cashman, Everett Oliver, all these people.

I can just name drop all day, but the point is one-on-one consultations are a great way to learn efficiently, learn quickly, get that ball rolling much faster. You can go find the lessons online, you can go find the information, but you got to search through a lot of information. Consultations help me learn quicker, faster, more effectively. And it overall has really helped my business.

Voice Over Rates & Billing

Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the rates and the money, money, money – because I know this is a driving force of life, money. So I understand.

The dance between value and humility

I want to be a high-ticket VO, I’m not afraid to say that.  I didn’t always think I was going to be or want to be, but I want to be a high-ticket VO. But at the same time, I got Ramdas in the back telling me, “Hey man, stay humble.” How am I supposed to stay humble? I’m trying to be a high-ticket VO.

You got to have the courage to negotiate, but you got to have the decency to respect the industry rates and standards. I’m not going to take a job that the industry says “Hey, that’s too low,” because that’s disrespect to the industry. At the same time, if I’m going to quote really high, then I have to make sure I’m worth it.  And then if I get the job that’s really high, I got to make sure that doesn’t affect my ego. I got to retain that humility because for me the journey of life is beyond voiceover. I’m trying to find that dance of humility and life and value. It’s a bigger game for me.

Money is important, I understand. A great resource is the Global Voice Acting Academy – awesome resource. They have a great rate guide and I suggest that any voice actor look up the GVAA voice acting rate guide and really get a sense of what industry rates are for different projects, from explainer videos to e-learning to all these different concepts.

Some of the things to consider when you’re talking money with clients:

  • Editing needs: Editing is very important. It can be time-efficient or it can be time-consuming. So if your client wants editing, maybe you charge an extra fee.
  • Efficiency and reliability of delivery: Look, there’s many talents out there. I understand there’s many clients out there. People can pay less than what I would charge for a voiceover, and they’ll get excellent talent. However, I take pride in efficiency and I take pride in reliability. And that’s part of my high ticket – that if you pay this high ticket, you’re going to get my time, you’re going to get it very effectively, efficiently and I’m going to be super reliable. Everything from tech to what I’m communicating when I’m in the voiceover session.
  • Revisions: Find your own revision policy, but find one. It’s very important, because sometimes clients will want more revisions, more revisions, more revisions – and who’s paying for the revisions? Someone’s got to pay for the revisions. Otherwise, hey, what are we going to do here? You got to find a revision policy that works for you. Maybe you include one round of revisions and charge for more.
  • Use of media / Term of media / Client size: I’m going to put these together, because they’re very important. Where’s the spot being shown? Radio, TV, broadcast? What is broadcast? Nowadays, internet is broadcast. Is it paid media? Is it a small startup? Or, is it Nike? You know, me, I might have to charge Nike more than I’m going charge a local church, if I’m being honest. Because their reach is more. They’re broadcasting advertising base is much more. You know, Nike might send that voice over out to a million people. The local church might send it to a couple thousand people. So, you gotta understand the differences.
  • Relationship to client: Relationships always defeat budgets. And it’s very important to respect relationships, and you have to find that balance. “Hey, Mr. Client, I charge this” And the client says, “Hey man, we’ve been doing this for many years together. Can you do this?” I can do this, all right. Sometimes that happens. That’s okay though – you just have to find that balance.
  • Your career: Who do you want to be? Do you want to be a high ticket? You don’t have to. Do you want to make six figures, but do it some other way? You could. Do you want to just do it as part time? That’s cool too – you can charge less. Find your positioning. What is your positioning? Who are you? These are very nuanced things, but they’re important when you’re building a business and you want it to thrive.

Editing / Live Sessions / Revisions

Communication & Expectations

As I said. I love live sessions. They’re very important to me.

Part of the live session thing is that you always got to communicate to the client what type of editing do your clients expect from you. It’s important to communicate during these live sessions: “Do you want the raw recording, or do you want edited files?”

Sometimes they want edited files, but they want 700 edited files with a very complex name. That name protocol thing, especially with e-learning, I might have to charge you a little bit, because it adds a significant amount of time. Or, if it’s much simpler, like one file, the raw recording, I’m going to charge you less, because it’s less time.

Revision Policies

When I as a talent make a mistake, there’s no charge. I made the mistake. But when you as a client want to change the script, what’s fair? Let’s talk about what’s fair. Maybe one change is fair. But if you come back seven changes later, it’s not fair.


You always gotta check and reference pronunciations before sessions. Because it’ll save you time. Just get that stuff handled before session. “Hey, can you tell me how to pronounce XYZ?” Or maybe go look it up, because it’ll prevent complications in the future.

Live Session Setup

How is your live session setup serving clients? For me, Skype and Zoom are basic. Source Connect is the best-quality simple option. iPDTL + ISDN = advanced, but some clients like it and want to use it. So do you have all these? Do you have some of these? How good are they? Have you tested them? Think about these things.

If no live session, no problem. I like to do a quick audition, maybe a second audition. And then get approval before recording a longer script. This prevents misunderstandings. You give the client one or two auditions, “Hey is this good?” “Yeah, this is good.” Go knock out the job. That keeps everything nice and efficient.

Questions / Information?

Final Thoughts

  • Think of quality, efficiency of delivery, communication of talent to client, the quality of sound and studio, the ease of working relationship – because time is money on both sides. It is important and incumbent upon you as an entrepreneur not to waste your time but also not to waste the client’s time – and to respect that. So think about those things.
  • A great talent will respect a great producer / employer / and person. There’s always that mutual respect.
  • Think and reflect. Do you charge rush fees? I sometimes do. Do you charge weekend fees? Hey, I might. Use of media, the speed of delivery … all these things need to be talked about and thought about and communicated.
  • What are your core principles? Why did you choose these core principles? Why are they so important to you and do you really mean it? Because I really mean it when I say authenticity. I’m always going to be myself and who I am. I really mean it when I say customer experience: if I fail, due to my failing and it costs you money, you don’t even have to pay me. Because I failed. I got to respect the relationship forever.

And these things are so important – they’re in such high regard for me: customer service and authenticity. They mean that much to me. I gotta be myself and I gotta be who I am. But I also gotta serve you the best I can.

More Resources on How to Be a Voice Actor

Subscribe to @kabirsvoice on YouTube if you’d like any VO tips and coaching. I have a playlist on my YouTube channel that’s just my work, and then I got a playlist that’s just advice for voice actors and beginners learning how to be a voice actor – everything from motivation on voiceovers to different types of reads.

I want to thank you for your time. I want to thank you for trusting me to break down some of my journey to you. It means a lot to me and I don’t take it for granted. A lot of people have helped me become better in voice over, and it’s my duty to help others. So if you have any questions, if you want to learn something, hit me up. I’m going to do my best to be honest, to be truthful, and when time allows, I’m gonna share that with you. It’s my pleasure and my duty to do so. Thank you very much – shout out to J. Michael for getting me on here, the One Voice Conference – I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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A voice over actor in the voice over community was offended by my use of the words “Black and African American Accented/Sounding” when describing my voice on my blog. Here’s an example from my website:

I am not a black voice actor. I am not an African-American voice actor. I am a voice actor.

After a positive and in-depth conversation, it was suggested “urban” is less offensive and preferred when describing my voice. I will always lead by love – so, I went in and changed some of my blogs to reflect “urban” when describing my voice. This is a sensitive time in the world, in the voice over community and I respect that. I am paying attention to this and treating it with compassion and respect because the conversation needs to happen.

Specifically, in the voiceover community – how we define voices and who plays certain characters is an ongoing discussion. What is an accent? What is urban voiceover? Can a black voice actor sound less/more urban? Can a white voice actor sound urban? Where do other minority groups stand? Are we defined by our sound? Are we defined by our race? Who decides? Is there an ownership on the sound of a voice, when it is an authentic sound?

I will always stand by my truth and speak it. My website/blogs/marketing and soul reflects the name Kabir Singh. No stage name. My videos/photos and content always show a brown- possibly ethnic ambiguous- Indian/minority. I am who I am. The way I sound is not an act, character or a show.

I will not apologize for my up brining and/or voice. My voice is my heart. My voice is my soul. My voice is the essence of my experiences. I don’t see color as a reason to discredit a person’s vocal skills, talents or business.

I have learned from some of the most amazing black voice actors. But, when I am learning from them, I don’t see them as African American voice actors or black voice actors- I see them as voice actors. I see them with love and respect. I have also learned from great white voice actors. How do they see or hear me?

I grew up in a trailer park in La Puente, CA. I was one of the only East Indian kids in the area. There are countless times where I was made fun of and called horrible names by other kids. Everything from Sand N*GG*R, APU, Aladdin’s Monkey to Osama Bin Laden. I experienced this for many years as a young child. It is my truth and my story.

I am no stranger to hate. I am no stranger to being bullied.

This video and blog post is my direct response to those that want to know my story, my influences and are willing to judge me by the contents of my character …



My name is Kabir Singh.

I’m a voice actor, poet and philosopher.

By background, I was born in India, and I never had a father growing up so we bounced around country to country to look for him. I found him for the first time when I was eight years old. We lived in a trailer park in La Puente, California.

Pops died when I was really young, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. So poverty, and the sufferings of poverty, are not too distant from me. The sufferings of being a single mom household is not too distant from me.

I grew up with a lot of bullying in my life. I grew up with a lot of people calling me things that they probably wouldn’t want to call me today. Those things made me the person I am today. Those things taught me what humanity is, what life is really about, what compassion really means, what love really means. And I had to work on my spirit to get there.

Who I am

I was raised by the influence of the black culture. I was raised by the influence of the Hispanic culture. I was raised by the influence of single moms who worked every day of their life to take care of their kids. I was raised by the influence and the beauty of black music. Of black grandmas that taught me life lessons. I was raised by homies that taught me what it means to be a man, how to stand up for yourself. These homies were black, Mexican, some were Filipino – all different races. They made me a better man.

I’ve been influenced my entire life by these people – these people that I consider my friends. People that love me and I love them, and I stand by their character.

I am a voice actor. I am not a black or an African-American voice actor.

I was born in India. I grew up with the love of African-American community and one that I cherish and I honor. One that I pay homage and respect to.

Along this journey of creating a business you learn many lessons. One of the internet games is search engine optimization. Involving that game is how do you define what you’re looking for?  If I’m looking for a product or service, how do you describe it into Google? As a voice actor, clients tend to hire me for my poetic sound, my urban sound. But they also tend to hire me because I may be able to connect to a certain audience that they’re looking for because of my sound.

What is my sound?

You can call it urban. You can call it an African-American sound. You can call it a multicultural race sound. You can call it whatever you want.

I am a voice actor. I’m a voice actor that’s been through my own sufferings in life. I’m a voice actor that puts my heart and soul into everything I do. I’m a voice actor that gets on the microphone and always shares my spirit.

I’m also a poet. I understand the sufferings of life.  I’m a poet that looks after people in my community. I’m a philosopher. I’m a philosopher that looks into the curiosities of life. Who thinks about how to improve himself and how to better himself in this world. My goals in life are to be a positive influence. I’m no different than anybody and I make mistakes. And I learned from those mistakes.

My character is my pride.

My character is my pride. You are not hiring any label of me. You’re hiring my spirit as you hire a voice actor, you’re hiring my soul and my spirit.

It is my goal in life to approach compassion and empathy from a perspective without anger, without frustration. It is not my goal to offend. It is not my goal to stand in a place where I don’t belong. I stand for love and I stand for humanity. My race will always be human. I will die on that hill.  I am a human being. I bleed this blood that circulates in the pump you bleed.

My job is to love and have compassion and take care of people around me and to do it in the graceful way and to do an honest way. And to never put on a façade. You will always see my name as Kabir Singh. And you will always see my image of me. My skin, my face and nobody else. You will always get to know who I am from the depths of my soul, because I will always speak my truth.

I am forever a work in progress—as a voice actor and a human being.

There have been many races that have helped me on this voice-acting journey. Many white voice actors that have helped me become successful in business, many black voice actors that gave me reflection and perspective and an idea. Many old voice actors that teach me to keep it humble as I go through this journey of ups and downs of age. Many women voice actors who give me a beautiful perspective of the opposite of what I am, of the energy of the feminine, the beautiful energy. I am forever a work in progress, and I will always define myself as a human being. My goal is to become a better voice actor.

I don’t know the lines of how to play imaginary. I just know how to be myself. I know how to speak my truth. And I will always die on the hill of truth and I will always look and reflect and try to see how I can improve myself, how I can be better. And I am not afraid of those conversations.

I am a product of many colors.

I’ve experienced my own racisms in life. I’ve been called the worst of the worst also in my life. But it’s no fault to anybody else. I don’t see color. In my eye, I am an Indian man. I was born in India. When I look at the cartoon character Apu and who does his voice, am I supposed to be offended because it’s not an Indian from India? It doesn’t hurt my heart, so I don’t see color. Because I’m a product of many colors. I’m a product of many races. I’m successful because of many people. I am overall a successful person because of love and I will always die on that hill of love.

If I have done anything offensive or I’ve said anything offensive, I will always be receptive and make acknowledgement and improve. We are human beings who make mistakes and we shall improve. Forgiveness and love and compassion is part of the improvement.

I am not a black voice actor. I am a voice actor. I am myself.

My name is Kabir Singh. I’m not an African-American or black voice actor. I am a voice actor. I am myself. I am my spirit. I am my sufferings and I am my love and I am my compassion. How I am labeled or how clients perceive me is not my business.

My business is to be my heart and my soul. And to hopefully do it gracefully. It is always love, and forever it will always be respect to the cultures, to the communities that have influenced this young man to become a better man. I will always stand by the love of the Hispanic, the Mexican, the black, the Asian, the white, the Indian, all these people that make me a better voice actor, a better human being. Man, you are my brother, you are my sister.

And if I fall short, I will stand here to improve myself and build my character and become a better man. It is my duty to do so.


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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.

Motivational voice over tips from a pro

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…”

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One of the first and most common interactions that a customer has with a company is hearing a recorded voicemail greeting or a “please hold” message. These recorded messages are arguably one of the most important pieces of branding that a business produces. So, why don’t companies put more thought into them?

At a time when first impressions are everything, having a professional voicemail greeting is so important. A good customer support voiceover, or IVR, can create an instant connection with customers in ways you might not think about. It sets the tone for the rest of the “conversation”—on the phone and beyond.

What makes a good voicemail greeting?

As the official customer service IVR voice for T-Mobile and an experienced voice actor who has recorded countless voicemail greetings for companies and personal brands over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit about these messages. Here are some of the most important elements that brands (and their voice actors) need to consider.

The voice of T-Mobile commercial

1) Relatability

When people call a customer service number, they generally expect to reach a recorded message before speaking to a person. Regardless of why they’re calling, these first few seconds are a critical opportunity to relate with the caller.

To make a connection, the voicemail greeting needs to be relatable in terms of both the message and the voice. The greeting should be unique to the product, service, brand or department that the person is calling about.

For example, a bank’s customer service greeting probably won’t sound the same as an NBA team’s customer support voice. Your goal is to make the caller feel, “They understand me, my concerns and who I am” … even if that thought is subconscious.

There are some techniques that a voice actor can do to reinforce this relatability. For example, expressing a smile in the voice can make the greeting sound kinder and more caring. On the flipside, you don’t want to inflect the words too hard or push a hard-sell message – both are off-putting and not conducive to a gentle, graceful relationship with the caller.

2) Quality over quantity

You only have 15, maybe 30 seconds to make an impact. Nobody wants to listen to a long recorded message. They want to speak to someone. So, it’s important to make these 15-30 seconds count.

The voice and message must be respectful of the caller’s time and needs. Let them know there’s an open line of communication, even if the company can’t be reached at that moment. Direct them to a call-back number, a live chat, a website address – anything to reassure the caller, “We’re here for you.”

3) Being current

Voicemail greetings should be reflective of the moment. They need to evolve as times change.

For example, at a time of so much uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis, a professional voicemail greeting needs to be more humble and emphatic. While a happy-go-lucky voice may have worked last year, that may no longer be appropriate. Now, customers are more likely to respond better to a more grounded and down-to-earth voice.

A voicemail greeting should not be static. To remain current, it should continue to adapt over time.

PRO TIP: Voice actors can express a sense of warmth by standing a little closer to the mic. This can make the greeting sound more personal and intimate without requiring more volume or harsher inflection.

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

Checkout my YouTube Playlist Here!

Listen To Kabir’s Work

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