Behind The Mic: Issa Lopez
Issa Lopez is a bilingual voiceover artist with a whole bunch of sass…extra dash of hot sauce sass! Not only is Issa great at what she does, but she does it with passion. We love her and so will you!
What radio VO work have you done in the past? I’m proud to say this will be my 19th year in VO. I mostly do radio imaging with a niche in Spanish Pop and Spanish Urban radio. I also voice in English too! You can hear me on Stations like Kiss FM 107.1 in Cincinnati. I’m also the voice of the Armed Forces Network Urban And Rhythmic station “Gravity” for Westwood One. I am most proud of being one of the top #iHeartLatino female imaging voices. I voicing several syndicated shows in both languages for “Enrique Santos”. These shows are aired in over 130 markets nationwide.
What are you up to presently? What I’m up to presently? Well, first I’m proud to say I have been self employed for two years now and it’s been amazing and so much fun. Also, I’m sooo excited that I’m currently working on a “slap yo momma” amazing new urban radio imaging demo with one of the top urban imaging producers there is and I can’t wait to share the news about it when it’s done.
What do you love about your job? Warren Buffet has always said, “look for the job that you would take if you didn’t need a job” and that is what I am doing, I adore VoiceOver work.
How did you get started as a VO actor? What was your first gig? That’s hard to answer…since I was little my voice has been my best friend but getting paid to do what I mimicked as a kid is priceless. Oh…and being my own boss is truly a dream. I get to be other people: make you smile, cry, laugh, and lure you. It’s kinda superhero like. ??? Geeez, now your gonna make me sound old. My first voiceover was in high school. They used to let me do the announcements over the intercom.
My first gig…I was 16 and was paid to do background vocals for a Spanish singer who was really hot at the time. I was flown to Miami from Colorado and stood next to some amazing singers (all twice my age). I had so much fun. I about died when I saw that $5,000 check.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it? It took me 19 years in the game to schedule one. A good friend of mine, also a big voiceover mentor always has recommended a VO coach. I finally had a session about a year ago and some others this year. I really recommend it, because as amazing as you may think you are, there’s always room for growth.
Who are your VO idols/mentors? I’m proud to say my VO IDOLS are my mentors for over 10 years. Ann Dewig and Jennifer Sweeney are both truly amazing talents and strong forces in my biggest VO passion which is radio imaging. I am also mentored by Josh Goodman who tells me like it is and trust me WE ALL NEED a mentor like that.
What is your dream gig? My dream gig which I have been pretending to do since I was little is to live announce the Latin Grammys or the Latin Billboard Music Awards. I KNOW I CAN DO IT!
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry? Of course!!! Hmmm…Tip #1, know your interest in VO. There are soooo many forms of voiceover so if you say, “Hey I want to do VOs”…well, what kind of VO? It’s kinda like that one restaurant that serves Italian, Greek, and Mexican food…FOCUS! Don’t be all over the place. Also, there’s what you want to do in voiceovers and what you can do for now. Play on your strengths first to get the ball rolling.
Tip #2, DO NOT OVER SPEND ON GEAR! You’re very lucky because now it doesn’t cost a lot to have a great recording set up. Do your research before you invest in your studio. I had radio people build my studio…BIG MISTAKE! Make sure you consult with voiceover talent for what they like.
Tip #3, If you’re like me and are not good at tech problems, invest in a tech support person and HAVE A BACKUP RECORDING METHOD! Mark my words, things will go wrong sometimes in the middle of a huge day or session. When I first went full-time a few years back let me tell you that I cried like a baby every time things went wrong. Mic not working, something not connecting, PC shutting down and not knowing why. I was such a scaredy cat. With time I got calmer and my tech guy taught me it’s about going through every piece of equipment and finding a clue or a cause but it’s not simple sometimes. Just don’t FREAK OUT like I used too. Stay calm…it will be fine.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career? If I wasn’t doing voiceovers I would probably be a makeup artist or a cook. I do both very well.
What’s it like being a part of the voiceover community? I love my voiceover community. To me, it’s how I receive 30% of my gigs and really, because I work alone, they are my co workers! I also hire out a lot because of who I meet online especially since I don’t produce stuff. It’s been a lifesaver! Of course it’s competitive but I don’t look at it that way myself. I believe there is room for everyone! I know my markets and who I appeal to. It’s important to know YOUR STRENGTHS. You will never hear me narrating a book (aww helll naw). I have the attention span of a mosquito!!! ??
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? Hmmm…well, I wish I had a choice but I know what clients are high maintenance so I take care of them first. I definitely warm up my voice with the usual daily telephony first because most of the radio imaging that I do is SUPER HIGH ENERGY IN YO FACE SPANISH style imaging which takes a warm up. ?
How much time do you spend auditioning for new work? I audition everyday. Even on a day where I am swamped I audition. EVERYDAY! I hate the thought of not doing enough for my career everyday. It pays off too because you WILL LOSE clients. But if you create a constant flow for yourself you won’t notice it financially. Just keep going…those auditions will lead to new clients.
How do you market your services to potential clients? I market in every way you can imagine. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YES, even the good ol’ cold calls. They are still very powerful and for me personally they work better than emails. I also attend many voiceover conventions. There’s just something about person to person contact that creates a magic spark that gets me more work. They pay for themselves.
What gear do you use?
Apogee Mic, an iPad, and lots of pillows..
I have a custom-made booth
Neumann TLM 103 Mic
I record on Adobe Audition (I have the new one but I prefer 3.0 ??)
I have a Mackie Board
Grace Pre Amp
And my favorite Head Phones AKG K553 MKII (loooove them).
How has new technology changed the way you work? New technology has been a true blessing for me, I mean take Twisted Wav for instance. Technology scares me because I’m not tech savvy AT ALL but man, a toddler can edit and record on Twisted Wav! ?
Best voice over technique I have ever received? Take your head phones off if you find a conversational read difficult when you audition. Focus on speaking to one person in your head like it’s someone you know. That has really helped me.
My most life saving method for me? I now can’t live without pre settings on Adobe Audition. I had a specific coaching session with a editing pro and he set my pre sets on the system and truly taught me how to edit. It now saves me HOURS and time is money!
What are the advantages to being bilingual in this business? Advantages : EVERYTHING!!!! Being bilingual you get (to me), 80 percent more opportunities and sometimes DOUBLE the funds. I feel so lucky to know two languages..and I know it’s why I am where I am in the VO world..it’s soooo competitive but I have more POWER because I know Spanish.
Have you ever been star struck and if so by who? Bahahaaa YES in my first year covering the GRAMMYS 2007 when Ne-Yo came and sat down I started CRYING right away…the tears would not stop (i’m not CRAY CRAY) let me explain..that year he was on top of his game as an artist and writer he just finished working with WHITNEY and Michael Jackson and it does not get any better than that in my world. The funny thing is he was soooo nice about it. He came around my table, hugged me and then I got my composure.
If you could go back to any decade and hang out which one would you go back to and why? The 80s and if your wondering why…BEST MUSIC HANDS DOWN (I will fight you on this :)). READING RAINBOW and MR ROGERS (they taught me how to speak ENGLISH). MTV after school, WALKMANS, THE ART OF A MIX TAPE…oh and how can we forget waiting patiently by your radio laying in bed for your favorite song to come on. We need more of that now.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? PRINCE. I beat myself up every time I think of this but here in Denver he had 2 night pop up show in 2015…$500 I should of SPENT :(((.
What’s your guilty pleasure? I could live in a Spa…I love it.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why? Dubai….it looks AMAZING and I can go try out a SPA there ;).
Issa’s Website: http://www.issavoice.com/