The Impact of Vocal "Age"
Today we're going to feature another great VO artist from our roster, Rachel! Her lovely voice will help us talk more about creating the right feel for a project, and how target demographics can play into that. First, give the video a listen, and enjoy her great work. We'll wait.
As you can see, Rachel has a wonderful, naturally friendly and vibrant voice. She also sounds to be in the young adult age range. Sometimes an element of a project's tone or feel is the “age” of the voice, and it also helps to connect with the target audience. For example, having a voice that sounds middle-aged do an ad for a teen product may not land quite right. Likewise, getting a youthful, teen-sounding voice to talk about retirement plans for an explainer video would be a bit odd.
Even so, it might still pay to break out of some of the preconceived ideas about what age would work best for the part. Once again, consider this video. It's for a product used in a corporate setting, which one may at first assume would mean it should have a mature and “business-like” tone to it. Instead, they went with Rachel's friendly and youthful voice because this is a fresh new product that can help in a field that has a growing number of younger employees. So they are less likely to connect with a more mature, prim-and-proper tone, and more easily connect with someone who sounds like she could be an actual colleague (and one they'd like to hang out with, because she sounds so nice). Even if someone with a more "mature" voice gave a very similar delivery, it just wouldn't have the same repeatability impact.
Many voice actors can tweak the “age” of the voice, much like they can tweak things such as warmth and pace. All of these lend themselves toward creating the optimal tone for the project. So if you find a voice actor whose demo has a voice similar to what you want, but you just need it a little “older” or “younger,” it never hurts to ask if that's in still within their range. Also, never hesitate to offer direction prior to a recording, stating exactly the elements you desire in order to create the right tone you envision for the project. And remember—sometimes the “obvious” choice isn't always the best, and things like target demographics should be considered when determining the proper tone.