Behind the Mic: Jamie Frye
After 10 years as an on-air radio talent, I started a career in voiceover. My voice is heard in markets across the U.S. and the world in multiple formats. These days I work primarily in Hot AC, CHR and Rock, but I’ve done almost everything including Country, News, and Sports Talk.
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
My voice has been all over for the last few years currently on KBFF/Portland, WSTW/Wilmington DE, KRXP/Colorado Springs, KEZR/ San Jose, Sports X/Atlanta, and several others. I’ve previously been a voice on stations in Denver, Sacramento, and Richmond as well as Kenya and Dubai.
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
My VO work is all freelance.
What do you love about your job?
I really enjoy working with the creative teams at each station to make sure I’m representing their brand the way they envision it. I think I’m pretty open to direction and easy to work with, and gettin it right for the client feels great.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I started out as an on-air radio talent and did the required million local spots and promos there. After the second downsize in four years, I stepped up my freelance game.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
I don’t remember my first gig through Benztown, but a couple of my longest-term clients have been through them (WSTW and KRXP). I have been able to do some cool stuff over the years including trying my best not to mangle the Portuguese language for a station in Brazil, and some work with a syndicated radio personality.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
When I started out in radio, I did a lot of production. It was mostly local commercials, but I did some imaging and I remember reaching out to Ann DeWig. She was very kind, and even though I didn’t end up continuing on that path, I love hearing women who rock. There is sometimes a really narrow idea of what female voices are right for, but I think that’s changing. Why can’t we be the “voice of God?” We can!
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I have done lots of different jobs to pay the bills – I can write a newsletter or a press release, help you figure out your health insurance, and even explain the intricacies of bowling lane conditions (seriously!). I’ve been doing Improv for the last few years, and that has been a blast, if not exactly a career.
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
I don’t remember the first time I heard my voice on air, but I have still have a tape of my first air-shift somewhere. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to listen to it again. I remember being terrified and thrilled at the same time.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
It has really allowed me to pare down and keep it simple.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
I use an AKG Perception 120 mic connected to an M-Audio box into my MacBook Pro. I have a small Port-A-Booth on a sit-stand desk. It’s great because I can work on administrative stuff, then when I’m ready, put the desktop up and stand to record. If I travel, I take my mic and use an iRig pre to record on my iPad.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
I haven’t yet, but I’m working on getting one. I think it’s really important to keep working on my skills and keep my voice in good shape.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I do work as it comes in. Most of my work comes from regular clients, so I can usually predict pretty well what I’m going to get in a given day. I don’t spend as much time auditioning as I would like, but increasing auditions is on my to-do list along with coaching.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
I’m pretty lucky in that my imaging clients are clear about what they want their stations to sound like, so I have great direction from them. My approach to everything is to try to follow the brief as closely as possible.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
- Make friends and connections in the industry and stay in touch. I’ve gotten work through people I worked with years ago who recommended me to their connections.
- When you get feedback, take it seriously, but don’t let it discourage you.
- Get the best equipment you can afford, but realize that you don’t need to break the bank to sound great.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
I would love to wear clothes from the 60’s a la Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but I’ve seen enough Mad Men to know I would not like living in that time.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
I love mushrooms. On everything
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s a genius, but also spend a lot of time being silly. He’s serious about joy, and I appreciate that.
Connect with Jamie Frye