It is common for the customer who is (of course) patiently waiting on the line to think “I recognize that voice.” Most likely it is a voice the caller has heard on the radio or on television, even on a PA system at a theme park. But if the caller is on-hold long enough (a good or bad thing, depending on your viewpoint) and is one of the increasing number of people who listen to books rather than simply read them, the ‘a-ha!’ moment may hit, and the on-hold experience becomes more enjoyable as Drew Barnes delivers the on-hold message.
“I really enjoy reading about people with exceptional character, who dedicated themselves to a greater cause and inspire others to do the same,” says the father of three, who, since starting audiobook company Legacy Books, has been the voice of Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King and Ray Charles along with a variety of characters in Zombie Avengers and more than 30 different personae in The People Could Fly. “I think it is incumbent upon a voice talent to be as diverse as possible, work on character development, and the ability to impersonate famous people doesn’t hurt either.”
Drew Barnes refers to voice work as “theatre of the mind,” the ability to using one’s voice to capture the imagination of the audience. And, in fact, capturing the imagination of theatre-goers through his singing voice is where it all began: “My most vivid memories are of me performing on stage at College Hill Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, my hometown. I was fortunate to have music teachers who encouraged me to develop my vocal skills, and I took their advice.” Barnes was accepted to the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, majoring in Classical and Jazz Vocal Performance, and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Though friends had suggested that Barnes consider voiceover work, it was during preparation for the opera The Mighty Casey that the show director convinced him that it was a pathway to explore. “Each assignment is different and pushes me to be more versatile in my delivery. It’s a wonderful thrill.”
Barnes has done voicework for regional and national clients including Procter and Gamble, Saks Fifth Avenue and eLearning, but his primary focus is on-hold messaging and audiobooks. In the Theatre of the Mind, Drew Barnes could easily pull off a one-man show. Visit his website at legacy-audiobooks.com.
Take a listen to Drew's voicing style by clicking his name below, and be sure to request him for your next on hold production!