Where did it all start? Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, I excelled in theatre and music. Naturally, the next step for me was to move to the big city of Toronto at 17, to attend the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts for singing, dancing, and acting. In my early career, I worked on projects with Theatre 20 featuring Colm Wilkinson, took on four unique roles as swing in Rent the musical, and have been actively on the roster as a replacement vocalist for Cirque du Soleil internationally. This built a strong performance foundation for me in my early twenties which I found to be essential for voiceover.
Then, life happened. Performing took the back burner as I studied for the better part of my twenties to become an Advanced Cicerone® – but I felt the toxic undertones of the brewing industry. Plus, I wanted a family of my own one day. Continuing to struggle, and work until 5am at a bar wasn’t exactly working towards that goal.
In January of 2020, two months before the pandemic hit and shut down Toronto, I was in a life-altering incident in Honduras.
During the pandemic isolation I was able to reflect; the incident had given me the opportunity to view my life with a new lens. It gave me permission to be fearless where I had once felt hesitation.
I had just returned from New Brunswick after seeing my family. My Papa was sick, and it would be the last time I saw him. I had known what rock bottom felt like earlier in my twenties, and I was back.
Then, the realization that voiceover existed for me struck me like a bolt of lightning. I don’t think I waited more than a few days before I registered for the VO North conference even though I had zero money to be investing into anything. The greatest feeling was discovering that my singing training was going to translate into this new craft seamlessly. I can’t tell you how many lights were switching on in my brain as I continued to learn about VO.
VO North introduced me to the whole crowd. I met casting directors, agents, working voiceover actors, new people – like me. I met Rachael Naylor and was introduced to the support from The VoiceOver Network. So many things started falling into place – and I began to heal.
Eight months later, it’s April 2021. My sound booth is complete in my home and it’s exceeded my wildest expectations. I take classes nearly every week with different voice coaches. With Zoom, I join every free workshop on the planet if I can sign up fast enough! I’m working with demo producers and recording my first one this month and my website is about to be published.
The voiceover community has been so welcoming and has given me a sense of stability from the comfort of my home. I’ve made contacts all over the world, and the diversity in perspective is invaluable.
The more classes I take, the more confident I am in myself. The more confident I am in myself, the more satisfied I’m feeling in my life overall.
Covid-19 has been a challenging, devastating journey for a lot of us. For most of 2020, it was easiest to put my head down and let the time pass me by. But I had a vision of what my life should or could have been, and that frustration kept me up at night. I had made a plan and stuck to it. I took classes, saved money for equipment, and moved in the right direction month by month. Now, here I am in my thirties – years after my performance career “ended” – creating the life I’ve always dreamed of. I’m thankful for the perspective I have, since I can’t change the past. Now – I choose to be fearless.
By Lauren Richard
Voiceover Artist and Vocalist Singer,
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