Behind the Mic: Brian Haddad
Brian first learned his voice was powerful in the 2nd grade when by merely talking too much to the girl who sat next to him, we’ll call her Megan, he was told to go sit in the hallway because he was disrupting the class. Brian discovered the time in the hallway playing his Game Boy was much more enjoyable than 2nd-grade homeroom. Victory! He’s used his voice ever since at the behest of his clients, through the payment of money, to bring them the same good fortune.
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
Being a morning radio host and an imaging director, my voice has been heard on legendary stations like WRCX Chicago, WKQX Chicago, KDKB Phoenix, as well as Detroit and others. I have never disconnected the duo of being a personality and VO work. I’ve been on XBOX games like Saint’s Row and Project Gotham Racing, as well as national commercials for Weber Grill. And I’ve been consistently a voice for many rock and sports/talk stations from California to Springfield, MA. I’m currently the morning host as part of Brian, Ali, and Justin on 101.1 WKQX Chicago!
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
Voice of the Benztown Adrenaline Sports library
And again, I’m currently the morning host as part of Brian, Ali, and Justin on 101.1 WKQX Chicago!
Listen to Brian’s Demos:
What do you love about your job?
The ability to be creative with a voice read and an idea. And create an instant connection with the person who hears it. A great voice/production guy named Ned Spindle once told me we can take an idea, a voice read, sound effects, and music and do something it takes Hollywood $1 million to create.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I started as an intern at WIOT in Toledo, Ohio, where I grew up. I was attending Bowling Green State University and basically talked my way into the building (shocker). I couldn’t get a show right away so I started hanging out with the production director. He’d be working and I’d sit behind him and do voices depending on what he was creating. It got his attention and he started putting me on commercials. He was very patient and generous. His name was Jeff Howe. I basically became his free assistant, and that was the spark that hit the gasoline for me. I was addicted.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
When I was a kid I listened to Arthur P on WRIF. He had a HUGE BOOMING voice and would yell “Baby!”. I would imitate him to my friends and they would laugh. This is way before I thought I’d get into radio/VO. I also loved The Twilight Zone. The way Rod Serling would exude a disturbing scenario with just a few words showed me the power of writing and voicing. Most kids my age weren’t watching this, but I was infatuated.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I wanted to be Michael Jordan, Eddie Van Halen, and Neil Armstrong. So you can take a guess.
Another potential career path for Brian?
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
Whether on the road or in the studio it’s pretty much the same setup: Sennheiser MKH 416 and I use Vegas and Soundforge for my DAW. So many options today, but I’ve used them for years and feel “one” with that mic and software. Since I mentioned Eddie Van Halen, he once played through my crappy Peavey practice amp during one of my shows. I was amazed that after he fiddled a bit with the controls it sounded JUST like Van Halen 1. I couldn’t wait to get home and play through so I’D sound like Eddie!! Sadly, I got home and it just sounded like…gulp…me. I’ve always heard from guitar players “it’s in the fingers”. Now you do have to have decent gear, and I will say the Sennheiser made a HUGE difference for me, but I also believe reps. Put in the work and you can get sounds you never imagined out of any gear.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
I’ve never had a voice coach, and I’d have no problem doing it. I’ve had a voice therapist, who taught me great ways to preserve my voice and other tricks that have paid off. Don’t whisper, it works your vocal cords too hard. And take deep breaths. I also received great tips from Pete Stacker, a voice actor who voiced the “Real Men of Genius” Budweiser commercials, among others.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
With my schedule when it comes in, I do it. Obviously the things that have a time stamp go first. I will take a break after my show to morph into “voice actor” mode. Radio and voice acting are completely different. Take a breath and gather your thoughts and read the direction carefully. But also, give them a surprise in your audition. Many times direction is generic. That’s when you have to be bold and creative and give them something no one else will.
Brian’s view from WKQX’s studio!
How do you market your services to potential clients?
I have a website! TheBestVO.com. Also being on Benztown’s sports library, Adrenaline, has exposed me to a great audience! The library kicks butt!
When it comes to VO work, studio, and gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
Today there are SO many options compared to when I started doing this. You can get a nice setup for little cash today. And portable, which is more and more important in our “gotta have it now” world. Don’t just purchase something because someone else has it. Take your time, do your research, and ask questions.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?
Reps! It’s number 1 in getting better. Work on ACTING. Read movie scripts. Watch Youtube videos of your favorite movie scenes and act out all the parts. Everything else will fall into place with reps.
Brian’s home studio with his secret VO weapon: a telescope
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?
I’d love to go back to year 0 and see if there were any Karens running around complaining about stuff.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
I don’t mean to sound boring, but Pepperoni and Sausage. I’m in Chicago and we like meat. Extra sauce always.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Chris Farley. I’m sure I wouldn’t get one word in and I wouldn’t mind one bit.
Connect with Brian: