The Benztown 50: 5 Questions With The Top 5
The Top 5: Pat Garrett, Scott Fisher, John Willyard, Chad Erickson, & Rachel McGrath.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a VO talent?
PAT: When I was told I’d never be a great dj or major air personality, so I got in to the production and imaging game- which gradually morphed in to a VO career that started in 1992.
SCOTT: Every time my parents took us to Disneyland, I would sit and listen to KIIS FM. I knew from a very young age this is what I wanted to do!
JOHN: I dreamed of it in my first and second radio stints but didn’t know what it was called or the path to get there. Some of the first big influences were the late Ernie Anderson, Brother John Rydgren and Gary Owens. I wanted to do what they all did as early as late teens, early 20’s.
CHAD: It was back when I was a Creative Services Director where when we sent off copy to our voice over guy and waited and WAITED for him to mail it to us. Back then, it was reel to reels. I was like, THAT’s the job I want. And, of course the infamous “5 guys in a limo” YouTube video helped seal the deal too. https://www.youtube.com/
RACHEL: I was a (badly) running a station in Parkersburg, W.V. Do you see that I can’t even call myself a P.D., because that would be an insult to other actual P.D.s? Rich Van Slyke was my voice guy , and he informed me that I needed to be a voice person. I took heed.
What’s your favorite moment in your VO career?
PAT: In Late 2010 is on this particular day I had signed a seperation/divorce agreement on a marriage that basically lasted a stop set. I was naturally down and the copy was coming in faster than i could read it .The phone rings and it’s Jan Jeffries. He said to me, “man whats up.” We talked for 30 minutes about stuff and what I was going through. His last line to me was…”man so sorry but to cut to the chase…I want to make you the voice of WLS-FM.” I was floored to say the least and he’s been an excellent coach, friend and mentor for years!
SCOTT: There are so many moments that are incredible…but a) winning an audition and or getting a new station b) keeping that station for a long time. I am so thankful to work with new clients…and be able to work with long time clients.
JOHN: Hitting one live button that in doing so went live onto the ABC Television Network.
CHAD: The day I got the new radio imaging “Voices CD” in the snail-mail and fortunate enough to see my name on it parked between 50 of the best radio imaging voices.
RACHEL: There isn’t one specifically- it’s every single time any client says “Great job” or “You saved us” or I recieve any positive feedback whatsoever. Those words lift my spirits and make my heart soar with joy.
What techniques do you use to take care of your voice?
PAT: Lots of water, rest and sometimes a tablespoon of olive oil.
SCOTT: Drink Bourbon.
JOHN: I do vocal warm ups every morning, cardio workouts (running), drink lots of water, eat well, stay away from spicy foods and dairy during working hours and for extra endurance on long voicing days I love “Throat Coat” tea from Traditional Medicinals.
CHAD: Kids, close your eyes… Bourbon and butts! JK. But, quick shout out to Entertainers Secret and Lemon tea.
RACHEL: My biggest one is the one that makes some people the angriest because they take it personally- I rarely ever talk on the phone. It’s the one thing over which I have control- so I have to use it. I’m also currently working with a speech therapist to learn techniques to keep my voice strong and clean.
What’s your dream VO gig?
PAT: To voice a narrative for NFL Films.
SCOTT: The one where I can roll out of bed, and walk in to the studio and read in my underwear. Wait…that’s what I do everyday.
JOHN: Right now, it’s the live announce for the Grammy Awards.
CHAD: I would love to “live announce” for a late night tv show.
RACHEL: I’m an idealistic dreamer with my head in the clouds pretty much constantly, so instead of telling you one, I’m going to give you my bigger picture. Every VO job I get is money in the bank towards the biggest idea of them all- to dedicate myself to a philanthropic cause, whether it be animals or kids from less than ideal backgrounds.
How come we don’t hang out more?
PAT: Cause I’m locked in the studio from sunrise to sunset and then there is family time when the studio closed. As they say…a happy wife brings a happy life. (disclaimer) My current wife Beth is my soulmate.
SCOTT: No time for the last question. Gotta go read for a client…
JOHN: Because you never pick up the tab?
CHAD: After that incident in Vegas with the Wolf Pack, we can’t be seen in public anymore. (However, you still are on my Christmas Card List)
RACHEL: I’m free next Wednesday, and I know the greatest place right down the street. Get ready to giggle.