I have a confession to make. I am 22 years old and just graduated from Bates College, but it wasn’t until last week that I completed my driver’s ed certification. (Which made it all the more comical when we all got hired for voice acting in English and Spanish radio ads for the Massachusetts Registry of motor vehicles by MORE Advertising. I played the beginning driver and my dad played the slightly nervous father. It didn’t require much acting on either part, LOL, but I digress.) I passed my license exam a year ago, but then had to go back to college. As it turns out, passing your license exam does NOT equal a discount on insurance! Only completing driver’s ed does! So, it was back to driving school for me during the first month out of college.
Driving Lessons, Prying Questions
Those of you for whom driving lessons are a distant memory may not recall that they can be a very social, kind of intimate experience. You sit in a car with a stranger for an hour or so. You drive them around and try your hardest not to run any red lights or generally make the passenger feel unsafe. When the instructor is not telling you where to turn, they tend to ask you questions. I was an older student who had just graduated college with a degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies. So the constant question was, “So, what do you do with a degree in that?”
At first, I’d break into a sweat as I searched my brain for a respectful, yet firm response about the importance of a GSS degree while also keeping my eyes on the road. After many driving lessons, and many of the same questions asked, the answer now flows more easily.
Voice Acting and Songwriting: It’s All About Discourse
To the friendly driving instructor, and well-meaning question-asker I say: I am a musician and voice actor. My degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies pushes me to point out where power and oppression are. It helps me see how individual and collective discourse (written and spoken thought) resists or reinforces these injustices.
My work in voice acting and songwriting goes straight to the source: discourse. Expressing yourself in order to shift people’s ways of thinking about a subject. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve been able to voice some great projects:
- combating childhood obesity
- teaching kids good heart health habits
- being the voice of an ACLU call to protest against Trump’s horrendous actions towards immigrant families (see the compelling video below)
That’s not all! I recorded an original song about toxic masculinity and rape culture with Loïca, a fantastic Chilean feminist-environmental activist songwriter. Stay tuned for the video! I also performed live alongside my band, Loïca, and my parents (a/k/a Sol y Canto). The performance included Brian originals like, “Olor a chiles,” about respecting and honoring immigrants, and “Love Wins,” about marriage equality and the power of love.
Breathe In, Speak Out
As I learn to (quite literally) navigate adult life, I feel so blessed. I have incredible parents who raised me to believe in the power of the human voice to open hearts and minds, to break down barriers, and to catalyze a community that cares.
In the words of Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux,
“Sacar la voz que estaba muerta/y hacerla orquesta/caminar, seguro, libre, sin temor/ Respirar y sacar la voz” To project the voice that was dead/and transform it into an orchestra/to walk, secure, free, without fear/to breathe in and speak out. (Ana Tijoux, Sacar la voz)
I love voice acting, and I am proud to be able to do it professionally. And I am so grateful for the caring community of e-learning producers, medical and health writers, animators, activists, and non-profits who have chosen my voice to carry their transformative messages.
For more about using voice acting and music for a better world, check out these links:
And if you like music, perhaps you’ll enjoy my submission to this year’s NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” contest and a beautiful song by my father, Brian Amador, “Olor a chiles”.