Behind the Mic: Jessica Marz
Jessica started in Imaging at the top, and by top we mean in one of the top 5 markets: San Francisco. As the Imaging voice of 102.9 KBLX, she is known for her fresh, youthful, edgy and smooth sound. With a voice that travels from velvety to edgy in a heartbeat, Jessica is a natural fit for AC. Her warm, relatable personality combined with her wide vocal range make her one of the most sought-after voices in the industry. Jessica is the recipient of a 2022 SOVAS Award for her Rock Imaging demo and is widely recognized for her powerful, weighty sound that can quickly metamorphosize into the voice of your bubbly, best friend. A native English & Spanish speaker, she is a top choice for your Bilingual station. Jessica was born for Imaging and is the perfect choice for AC, Rock, Hot AC, Country, News Talk, Spanish Contemporary and CHR.
Jessica Marz is Represented by Atlas and available for barter through Benztown.
What radio VO work have you done in the past?
I got started in radio as the female imaging voice of 102.9 KBLX in San Francisco. Aren’t I lucky?
What are you up to presently?
I am thrilled to be heading into my third year as the female voice of KBLX and I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for radio imaging by becoming the female voice of stations nationwide!
Check out Jessica’s demos!
What do you love about your job?
Where do I begin? This career is so perfect for me because it allows me to be really creative and spontaneous. I get to work independently and as part of a team, plus I really get to express different parts of my personality and draw on my life experiences to play roles that I love. Voiceover is like my best friend. Art is healing. If I am ever anxious or sad, I find that doing VO cheers me up and also helps me relax. I’m so fortunate to have phenomenal agents that send me multiple auditions per day. One minute I am pretending to be a cute bunny, the next I’m a happy mom talking about granola bars or I’m voicing a Promo for KBLX or a network. I’m never bored.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I received a phone call from a translation agency. The man on the phone asked me if I could do a recording for a cosmetic company… in Italian. I auditioned over the phone and got the job. 3 days later I was in the booth recording for Aveda. They were opening spas in Italy and needed instructional videos in Italian for the Italian aestheticians.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
The Italian job was my first VO spot. I’ve been so fortunate to have booked a lot of great gigs over the past 7 years. Narrating a TV series that aired on Peacock was a highlight for me. The series was about the life and death of Jenni Rivera, a famous singer. Recently I voiced a promo and 5 vignettes/bumps for the Solheim Cup in Spain which aired on NBC Golf Channel. Recording with the producer was unlike any other session I have ever had. She gave me full reign and I felt very free and in the zone. We wrapped after 45 mins and the spots are stellar. Thank you Atlas talent! Voicing a spot for Alfa Romeo in Italian and English last year was thrilling. Being the voice of a Chubb Insurance ad that sponsored and aired during the US Open 2023 was a milestone for me. The funniest spot I have booked so far was the role of a fed up female truck driver named Olivia. It was a radio ad for INDEED.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
Chad Erickson: He dropped what he was doing the day I got the audition for KBLX and he coached me through the audition and produced it with music and sound effects. He later produced a multiformat imaging demo for me and sent it to Atlas Talent on the downlow. He’s a big reason I got signed with Atlas and became the voice of KBLX.
Debbe Hirata: She’s incredibly versatile and is incredibly supportive to other VO Talent.
Issa Lopez: She’s fearless & a very successful bilingual talent. She speaks her mind and gives great advice in her short videos. Plus, she’s super funny!
Ben Sperling: I love how versatile he is!
Emma O’neill: I have attended many of her Round Table Shows and had the opportunity to read for extraordinary guest coaches. Emma is incredibly kind and giving to the VO community. My agents have been fundamental in my growth as a voice talent. Their feedback on auditions has helped me book a lot of work. I am so grateful to them for their guidance and mentorship.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
Crying! Actually I would probably work for an international airline because I love to travel. I LOVE people so I would let everyone bump up to Comfort or First Class seating and probably get fired unfortunately. I’m a major car fanatic so it would be a thrill to test drive sports cars at car shows and even race them!
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
Epic! I was watching TV with my son and had drifted off to sleep. Then I heard: “ Wake up Mom! Isn’t this you? Wow! You sound great, Ma!”
How has new technology changed the way you work?
Remote recording with Source Connect has made it possible for me to work from my home studio and be on the Atlas Talent roster. Not having to do in person auditions multiple times per day saves me a lot of time… but I miss seeing my agents too!
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
On the road I use my Sennheiser 416 ic, an SSL2 preamp/interface, Mac laptop, a second set of Sony Headphones, an ipad and a small mic stand that looks like a weapon. TSA loves me! In my studio I use my trusty 416 mic, a new Mac desktop computer, Sony Headphones, Apollo Solo interface, a couple boom arms for my mic and ipad ( for reading copy), Behringer speakers and cool lighting.
Jessica’s Studio Setup!
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
I’m an Adobe Audition girl! I have the 2022 edition and I use iZotope RX 10.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
Yes, I have received training from several coaches. It is crucial for voice actors to receive training.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I begin auditioning first thing in the morning unless I am in a booked session. Sometimes I spend a few minutes on an audition and sometimes I spend a lot of time. A one liner is going to be quick but a 60 second medical spot with complicated medical terminology will take longer, as well as a spot that requests 3 takes in two languages. The audition IS the JOB and I do not just rattle them off. I have found that some scripts feel like they were written for me and after one take, I send them in. It feels like stepping through the looking glass to another dimension when I get to audition for them. I feel so lucky. I also audition late at night because I am a night owl. In the afternoon, I focus on networking, keeping track of emails and payments for jobs. Bookings take priority over everything else, of course.
How do you market your services to potential clients?
I am very Pro Agent. All of my work comes through my agents. I market myself on social media with examples of my work in video format and I focus on creating real connections with industry pros and voice buyers through LinkedIn and Facebook. I plan to attend my first VO Conference this year and I look forward to networking with people and making new friends as well as meeting my online friends in person for the first time!
When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
This is where it gets fun! I buy high end gear and more affordable accessories. The Sennheiser shock mount for my 416 mic costs $350. I found a similar shock mount on Sweetwater for $59. I bought a refurbished iPad but my MAC computer is brand new. I research (observe) coaches on round table interviews/ LinkedIn Live Sessions where they are guest artists. I get a preview of their coaching style before I commit to coaching with them, plus every time I read for a coach, I learn something new. I am so grateful for these opportunities that these legends offer to me and fellow talent.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?
Make sure you hit record before you start auditioning! I use a lot of physicality to drive my speech and I always stand while on mic. I move my eyes to change thoughts or pivot from one emotion to another. A technique I find helpful is to use a small prop to look at or open so that everything feels more real. One time I brought a butcher knife into the booth while auditioning for a villain character.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
For radio imaging I imagine that I am talking to a great friend. I want her to feel excited about winning tickets to a concert or tuning in to the morning show. Listeners should feel like they are part of a community with a direct connection to whoever is coming through their radio. I get to play the role of “myself” which is incredibly rewarding. For TV/ Radio, I focus on drawing out the best part of myself that matches the role. I want to change how the listener feels about whatever I am talking about and I want them to trust me. I strive to sound credible and authentic.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
1. Ask yourself why you want to do voiceover. Hopefully it’s not just because “ everyone tells you, you have a great voice”. This industry requires talent, drive, passion, tenacity and skill.
2. Research the genres of voiceover that you are most drawn to and take workshops with different coaches before signing on with a particular coach for private lessons.
3. Take chances and do not turn down wild opportunities that pop up out of nowhere. They can change your trajectory in a heartbeat. It has happened to me numerous times.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?
2008-2018: My son was born and I got started in voiceover.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
I love Mozzarella di Buffala and prosciutto.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Connect with Jessica: