Behind the Mic: Heather Foster
The Merlot of VO. When you need a little more gravitas from your female imaging voice, Heather has that deep, raspy thing down.
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
I’m pretty new to imaging! I didn’t even know it was a thing until a little over 2 years ago. I swear I thought the DJs did the imaging. I was a finalist at the That’s Voiceover Promo competition and there was a panel about imaging. Joe Cipriano was the host and David Kaye, Lynn Hoffman, Nate Zeitz, Craig Schwalb, Pat Garett and Eric Romanowski were on it. It was career-changing. I didn’t win the competition but I did find a brand new genre of voiceover! I’ve been with KRSB-FM Best Country, Roseburg/OR for almost 2 years and have just added WJRI-FM IN North Carolina and WXKC Classy 100 in Erie, PA to my list of stations.
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
In addition to imaging work, I also record lots and lots of commercials, B2B videos, e-learning modules, etc. I am the announcer for several tech conferences including CloudFest, the largest cloud conference in the world, and I’m the promo voice for the television show The Houston Sports Show.
What do you love about your job?
So many things, but I love playing behind the mic. My booth is like a time machine. I just go in for a few minutes to play around and the next thing I know 3 hours have gone by. The people in this business are incredible. Seriously, I’ve met the coolest, nicest people!
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I was introduced to it by my on-camera commercial acting coach 4 years ago. I found myself in a new city with not much to do so I took an on-camera commercial acting class. My coach, Deke Anderson, had this really great boom mic and when we would watch our playbacks at the end of the class session, people would comment on my voice. So, I started doing some research – turns out you could record from home. Who knew? That was all I needed to know. That will be 5 years this fall.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
My first gig was for TiVo – it was for a regional television spot. I thought “Hey, I’ve made it!” Ha. Not exactly. I have to go out there and bust my behind every day. One that really stands out was being the voice of the ship for the new Alien short film “Harvest”- it was included on the 40th Anniversary DVD. I kind of geeked out on that. I’m a huge Alien fan!
Check out Heather’s Demo:
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
Whoa, where do I start? One of the very best things about voice over is how supportive people are in this business. I am so grateful that I get to spend the rest of my career trying to pay it forward. Off the top of my head for the women: Randy Thomas, Jen Sweeney, Rachel McGrath, Ashley Cavaliere…For men: David Kaye, Joe Cipriano, Chad Erickson, Rob Reed…Pretty much the entire Benztown roster – it’s filled with talent that just blows me away! I ❤️ Benztown! I still can’t believe I’m on this roster. Somebody pinch me!!!
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I have no idea. I don’t even know what to think about it! Although, I’d have to do something that involved performing. I could never go back to my old job as a paralegal. UGH. I’m just so happy that I get to do what I love every day. I know it’s cliche but man, it’s true.
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
I was in the car driving with my kids. It took a second to dawn on me that it was ME. I started squealing! My kids were very unimpressed. They were like, “Meh, we hear you all the time.”
Has new technology changed the way you work?
Not really. I started late in the game.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
Sennheiser 416, UA Arrow, and my Mac ProBook.
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
I am an Adobe Audition gal and I don’t do much production, so I rarely use plugins. I like my audio how I like my hands – clean. 😉
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
YES, I’ve had several. Dave Walsh for commercial work, Kelly Doherty and Gabby Nistico for radio imaging, Harry Dunn and Roger Leopardi for promo. There have been more, but these are most recent. I am a huge believer in coaching.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work?
I eat, breathe, and sleep voiceover and imaging. I have a really hard time with time management when it comes to work. I have to set timers to stop working on things. I have found the thing I love to do kind of late, so I guess I am making up for lost time.
How do you market your services to potential clients?
A variety of ways, but I really like social media. LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have been great for finding new business. What usually happens is that I make new friends on these platforms that lead to job opportunities. It’s all about relationships! Also, going to WWRS last year was such a blast. I’m going to make sure I keep hitting conferences.
When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
Gosh, I wouldn’t know. Ha. I suck at saving money.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?
Hmmm…For me, I say the copy over and over to myself before trying to perform it. Once I have the muscle memory down then I can relax and really let it fly.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
Not really. It’s definitely a different vibe, but the process is the same.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
1. Read and record everything you can get your hands on just so you can start to find out all the cool things your “instrument” can do.
2. Google is your friend.
3. GET A COACH!
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
The 70s. I was a little kid then and everything seemed really groovy, but I was too young to fully enjoy it. The clothes, the T.V., the MUSIC.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
Canadian bacon (although I’m trying not to eat meat anymore!) and jalapeños.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Dave Grohl. I just love that dude.