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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Why Understanding Vocal Fry is So Important to Voice Over Talent


As a voice over talent, it is important to stay current with modern trends both in voice and recording styles. Vocal fry is a phrase that is often mentioned in the acting industry.  However, it is unhealthy for a voice over actor as it has the potential to create long-term damage to your vocal cords.  A voice over talent’s voice is their most important asset.  Here is a look at vocal fry and if there is a need for it and what it is.

What is Vocal Fry?

Vocal Fry is the lowest vocal register a person can produce.  Vocal fry is also known as the vocal fry register.  It occurs when a minimal amount of air is passed through the vocal cords and they vibrate slowly, creating a popping or sizzling sound.  This speech pattern is a fad seen in North America.

Trending Examples of Vocal Fry

Vocal fry has received more attention over the past few years in female actors.  A few common examples are Brittany Spears, the Kardashians, and Katy Perry.

Perceptions of Vocal Fry

The perception of vocal fry is that it sounds like a lack of confidence, authority, laziness, or aloofness.  The voice is there but barely it has a breathlessness sound.  The audience will start to wonder if the narrator or speaker not authentic do they not believe in what they are saying?

The audience that this speech pattern appeals to most is the millennial audience.  However, most brands do not want the perceptions to be affiliated with their brand.

Vocal Fry Can Damage Vocal Chords

While many say that this speech technique is linked to a relaxed voice, it can cause a sore throat at the end of the day of recording. By minimizing the amount of air other throat muscles need to constrict putting a strain on your throat.  This is want can cause vocal fatigue.  For voice over talent fatigue will make your voice sound tired the next day.  Which can affect the next job especially if you need to sound excited and perky.  Over an extended period of time, using vocal fry can cause you to lose your voice and end the recording session for the day or possibly a few days of no speaking. 

Is This Style For You?

There are times where the voice naturally drops into that low register.  Vocal fry is a style that many people like and relate to, while others have a strong distaste for it.  When it comes to using this speaking style as a voice over talent, it may be asked of you if the brand or story is trying to reach that younger audience.  However, be careful as a voice over talent you need to care for your vocal cords and protect them as it is your livelihood. 

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