Interview by 'El Iberico'
Updated: Feb 25, 2018
This interview was published in 'El Iberico¨, the London Spanish newspaper, on the 3rd of November 2017.
Two days later, I was honoured with a Voice Arts Award at the ceremony that took place at the Jazz Lincoln Center in New York City ...
“Whether I win or not, I already feel like a winner”
WRITTEN BY ALBA ONSURBE FLORES ON 3 NOVEMBER, 2017
Surely a lot of people in South Spain remember the Spanish radio programme 'Boca a Boca' [Mouth to Mouth] and the sensual voice of its host. A surprisingly versatile voice, one that in an instant can become the voice of Westminster Abbey’s audio guide, or that of a GPS or even a voice telling children's stories.
(Image: El Ibérico print version, 16th November 2017)
That voice belongs to Vicky Tessio, a Spanish voice over artist and voice actor, who has been nominated for the 'Voice Arts Awards 2017' (considered the Oscars of the voice over world) in the category of Best Animation/Gaming Demo - Best Spanish Voiceover, which will take place the 5th of November.
Vicky has a voice that can adapt with such ease and professionalism to a huge variety of scripts, in both Spanish and British English. Perhaps it is this, along with her capacity for precision and consistency, which has made her the only Spanish nominee for this American award.
How did you start your career in the world of voice over?
I started in radio almost by accident, because it had been my dream ever since I was small to work in print journalism. It was at the Faculty of Journalism in Madrid where I met a classmate who helped me to find some training work in radio, and it struck me as being such a fascinating and unparalleled medium. Since then I have presented several music programmes on several radio stations in Spain such as SER, Radio Nacional and Canal Sur. Later, in Seville, I did some dubbing courses and from 2004 I decided to work as an online freelancer, thanks to the emergence of the internet and digital technology, which has made it possible for professional voice over artists to record in our own home studios. Although, of course, I go to traditional city studies to record, whenever required.
What qualities are needed to be a good voice over?
Contrary to what people may think, having a beautiful voice is not the main thing... If you have one, all the better, of course. One of those voices that caresses your ear or moves you with its deep tone. But the fundamental things are technique and practice. Training, practicing, attending courses and workshops, learning to manage your voice, knowing what to do with it. And of course, I think it takes a degree of talent, as with any creative profession.
And how do you practice or train your voice to get this great variety of tones?
Knowing how to manage it, attending courses run by good voice over and performance professionals, listening to the work of colleagues... and with a lot of patience. This profession is a marathon in which you continue to learn every day. Each genre has its own tones and methods; recording an audio guide for a museum is different from recording a corporate video for a company, or an audiobook, a commercial or cartoons.
What are the main methods or techniques needed for dubbing?
There are two distinct types. On the one hand you have series and film dubbing, where the original voice is completely replaced, and the performance of each character must be synchronised, as well as ¨UN-style voice overs" where precise lip-syncing is not needed and the original language can be heard in the background. In London I am currently recording programmes of this type, some of which are already available on Netflix.
And on the other hand, there is also what is known as ADR, Automatic Dialogue Replacement, where the dialogues in a film or series are replaced or added in the post-production process. The main aim here is to make it appear as though they were recorded live, during the filming.
Playstation, Lacoste, Microsoft, Vodafone, Desigual, Google... and now Netflix, does having a well-known voice influence your daily life?
The truth is that one of the many things I like about my profession is the anonymity, the fact people don’t recognise me on the street, even though they might be listening to me every day, on an internet video or a Netflix programme. What I do have are some funny anecdotes, such as the time some friends called me to say: "The other day I got into a friend’s car and it was your voice on the GPS! You took us all over Granada!” Things like that. Or the time a colleague who was visiting London heard my voice on the Westminster Abbey audioguide, or at the Rodin exhibition in Paris last year. People who know me get excited when they hear me, as do I when they tell me about it.
What does it feel like to be the only Spanish-language Voice Arts Awards 2017 Nominee, who was born in Spain, in the 'Voice Arts Awards 2017'?
I am the only Spaniard nominee, yes, but there are a few of us from this side of the pond who will be attending. I will go to New York in very good company, with several British voice over artists who are also nominees. The truth is that I owe this nomination to the existence of The Voiceover Network, a London-based association of voice professionals that I joined a year and a half ago. And it’s thanks to this group that not only have I met some wonderful people, professional colleagues here in the UK, but I have also been able to continue to train hard and, above all, to have an even more global and international vision of my profession. I'm nominated for a Video Game Character Demo that I submitted a few days before the deadline in August. When the email arrived at the end of September announcing the nomination, a saying came to mind, the one that goes... ‘She got it because she did not know it was impossible’. I was very excited. Such an honour and an incredible adventure. Whether I win or not, I already feel like a winner.
Do you think there are more job opportunities for you in London? Do you think your work receives the recognition it deserves in Spain?
The energy breathed here is definitely different, and there are far greater possibilities of all kinds. There are more resources, more professional opportunities, another mindset. This is a tremendously enriching experience for me.
Any advice for those interested in getting into this profession?
Training, without a doubt. It’s essential. Vocal training to start with, but also in other areas that a freelance professional needs to know inside and out these days: technical equipment, as well as marketing and social networking, for example. And with respect to dubbing, first learn how to act. Attend courses, workshops, join a local theatre group... This base skill will help in dubbing school, and it will open doors to them more quickly.
And finally, how would you define your profession in one word?
Passion. It’s a vocational profession, which requires work, dedication, a serious investment of time, money and energy… And all that comes from passion, yes. I think passion is the word.