Interview with a Voice Pro – Debby Barnes

I want to introduce you to Debby Barnes, voice over artist.

Debby and I have been chatting via social media for a while.

Her energy and passion for voice over caught my attention!

That, and the fact that Debby fits the new mould of voice actors – that is those who live and work in a country other than their own.

She’s an American living in England.

Let’s start by talking about where you’re based…and why?

My family moved to the UK in November of ’93 through a company my husband was employed by at the time.

And we stayed!


So, how and when did you get your start in the voice over business?

Even though I went to University for Music and Theatre and actually did some radio show Voice Over work during that time, I didn’t pursue a career in Voice Over. I honestly regret that now.

But, a few years ago, I flew to the States to sing at a wedding in Nashville and on the drive back to New York, my mom turned-on her latest audiobook. At that moment, I actually had an epiphany about doing Voice Over work professionally.

Though I didn’t think audiobook work would actually be my voice over niche, I still felt compelled, at this point, to do some research on the industry.

I looked into it in the States and did the same when I got back to the UK. I read all the essential VO books I could get my hands on and kept my head-in-it through the summer.

Then I contacted Gary Terzza in the Fall for a consultation and a “voice over kick-start” – this is how and when my actual voice over journey began!


What kind of work do you do?

Much of the “sun-up ‘til sun-down voice over business work” I do throughout the week and year involves:

  • reading,
  • writing blogs,
  • webinars,
  • marketing,
  • getting coached,
  • demo work,
  • auditioning, and fulfilling job specs for clients.

My voice over specialties are: Explainer Videos, Radio Commercials, IVR’s and Documentaries.


How does voiceover work in your landscape?

In my UK landscape, voice over actors enjoy life as freelancers and/or life with agents.

There’s both union and non-union voice over work in the UK and the States.


Do you work in sound studios, radio stations or from home?

I’m a home studio gal, but I go into London (when I need to) for auditions and/or work. 

And I’d certainly go to any radio station that required my voice over services.


How do you market your voice?

I market my voice through my professional website  and also:

  • use an e-marketing company,
  • send postals,
  • make phone calls, and
  • market through the internet using social platforms like Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


Can you tell us one of your worst…or funniest moments in voice over? 

Oh dear – yes!

When I attempted to be the voice of a dog. I’m quite sure I had people howling all over the place. – they were probably very concerned, as well.


What is the strangest piece of direction you were ever given?

“Could you sound like two different people at one time, please?”


Can you tell us about one of the best jobs you ever did.

Yes, I was chosen for the role of a Bailiff’s Wife in a job for the Marc Graue Voice Over Studios.

Weeeeeeee! I loved it.


Do you think social media is important for voice actors?

In a word – Yes. It’s vital!


In what ways do you feel social media helps us?

We live in a technological age that makes it easy for us to connect and communicate with each other through different social platforms any where in the world.

So we have no excuse not to use this technology to:

  • better brand and market ourselves,
  • socialize,
  • do business, and
  • support each other.


What do you notice has changed in voice over in the past 5 years?

At the risk of being redundant, modern technology.

The professional remote recording and monitoring alternatives to ISDN that are now available are brilliant. I honestly thank God for SoundStreak, ipDTL and Source-Connect.


Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to budding v/o actors?

Yes. IMHO (in my honest opinion!) any budding Voice Over Actor intent on blooming inside the voice over industry ‘garden’ should get ongoing, sound voice over advice and coaching from seasoned, working voice over professionals.


Where do you see voice over industry headed in the next 5 years?

Though I don’t feel at all qualified to even answer this question, I do think the voice over industry will continue to flourish.

I think there will continue to be an even greater demand for Corporate and Explainer Video/Web Video voice over work.

Videos are all the rage now and I think this will continue to be the case.

One of the best articles I’ve ever read about this very topic: ‘The Future of the Voice Over Industry’, written by Voice123’s President & Co-founder: Alexander Torrenegra. It’s a great piece and I think his predictions are spot-on!

You can find Debby Barnes details here.