Audiobook Talent Interview Part I: Nicole Gose, narrator of THE MUSUBI MURDER

Nicole Gose has done everything from voicing national and international commercial and radio spots, to voicing political campaigns, to mixing and producing jingles and scoring music for commercials, movies and theatrical plays.  She is the voice talent for The Musubi Murder audiobook, where she inhabits characters ranging from diplomatic inkeeper Mercedes Yamashiro to anarchist newsblogger Patrick Flanagan to outspoken biology professor Emma Leilani Kano’opomaika’i Nakamura.

And of course Nicole voices the first-person protagonist, Professor Molly Barda, the unwilling amateur sleuth who just wants to stay out of trouble until she gets tenure.

Nicole’s narration has received praise from audiobook listeners:

Her Hawaiian and islander accents were soo good and fun, I hope to find some more books narrated by her.

She has the excellent ability to change her voice for each character…She even does male voices that you would swear were being voiced by a man.

The narrative was well done, in fact I often forgot that one woman was also providing the male voices for the audio. That’s a great narrator!

The narrator Nicole did a wonderful job with all of the characters and their different personalities and the different accents. She was very easy to listen to and I am looking forward to listening to more books by this narrator.

[Nicole] certainly is a talent. Her voice is very clear, she has good timing and tells a story well, this is so important. I loved the regional accents.

Fantastic narration.

I’ve had so many questions from audiobook listeners about my talented narrator, that I’m delighted to be able to share our interview! Here is part I of my interview with voice artist Nicole Gose.

Background:

Q: What got you into a career as a voice actor?

A: I had been working on some commercial music and jingles for clients a few years ago and sometimes I would get a request to add in a tag line like, “Call us at 1-800…” or, “For the best in the business, go to…” and I started seeking out commercial voice over opportunities after that. However, my desire to be a voice actor really came from many years before then, back when I was a kid watching cartoons. I always preferred animation to live action tv shows, and I had wanted to voice act for cartoons, but had always assumed that only a handful of people got the opportunity to do that and it was impossible to do what they did. And while that is somewhat correct to a certain extent, doing commercial voiceover and starting to do a little audiobook, animation and video game work has made it seem more attainable, so I’m going to keep at it!

Q: Did you always know that this was the career you wanted?

A: I’ve always been involved in some kind of creative pursuit for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid, I used to write a lot of stories and illustrate them. I taught myself how to play piano when I was six and have been composing songs since then as well as singing and acting since around the same time. For the longest time my plan was to become an actress. It was a lot of fun to play and become other characters. However, when I was a little older (around 16) I had decided that I would get more into music and I started a band around then, and began my quest to pursue music. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided that I also wanted to get into voice acting, and I rediscovered my love of acting and the theatre. Now I’m kind of pursuing two careers at the same time, but it’s funny how much crossover the two fields have. I’m finding that many people in Los Angeles work in both areas, especially the people behind the scenes, and having multiple skill-sets is very important down in this ultra-competitive city in this incredibly competitive field.

Working as a voice artist

Q: Aside from the Musubi Murder, what was your favorite voiceover job?

A: I usually do a bunch of commercials, training videos and IVR (the automated voice that you hear when you call your cable company and yell at because it’s not directing you properly..Yeah, that’s me) but I’ve been starting to do games and animation lately, and the most fun I’ve had was doing a live session as a playable character for a MMORPG. I had to say my character’s lines, and then I had to make a bunch of fighting noises, then followed by dying noises and screams. That was a lot of fun. I’ve since done more video games after that with more fighting and dying noises. I had a session where I needed to voice six different playable characters, and all of them needed to have their own unique set of attack and dying noises. It was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to come up with their own fighting sounds based on their voice pitch and personality.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you? 

A: On the days that I’m feeling productive, I like to record around seven to ten auditions for voiceover work. If I have any outstanding projects, I like to spend time working on that. If I’m not working in the studio, I’m interning at a voiceover recording and production studio and learning the ropes there while networking. And if I’m not doing that, I’m spending time with my colleagues in the field or meeting new ones and networking. A huge part of this business is networking, and I’ve found that people here do like to help, and I’ve been doing the same for others.

Audiobooks

Q: What led you to consider narrating audiobooks?

A: I started listening to audiobooks around four or five years ago when I wanted to prepare for a 20 hour road trip from Portland to Los Angeles and didn’t want to get bored. I thought that it would be cool to narrate audiobooks as well, but again, didn’t know how to get into it. A few years later I went to a voiceover seminar and spoke to another voice actor who said that she narrated audiobooks through acx.com and suggested that I do the same.

Q: What aspects of audiobook narration do you find the most challenging?

A: The most difficult part is probably keeping up the energy throughout the long recording sessions. Generally for shorter voiceover projects like commercials, the final recording part is only on average about 15-30 seconds long, and while I find myself recording about 5-10 takes for these projects, I can generally do them all in a row while keeping that same high energy. For audiobook recordings, I will often read several pages at a time, and will take mini pauses throughout to take a breather and re-build that energy so that certain paragraphs don’t sound like they’ve fallen flat, compared to others.

Q: Do you read the entire book first, before you begin recording, or do you prefer to be surprised along with the reader/listener?

A: I feel that it’s ideal to read the entire book first so that you can get a good understanding of the characters you’re portraying, but when you do not have much time to do so, you’ve just got to make do. So in this case, I would often just read a page or two before going in to record, mostly so that I would feel prepared for recording that little bit, just as I do before I record any other script.

Q: How do you decide how to voice a character? What is your process for determining the voice for any given character?

A: When figuring out a character’s personality and how they might sound, I go straight to the dialogue. There’s a lot to be gleaned from the words that they use and the phrasing they choose. Sometimes the author will add details like “speaks with a southern drawl” which will inform me to give them that type of accent, but the rest of it is personality. Just about anyone can do some sort of southern accent, but for there to be believability, we need to be able to feel that it comes from a real person, and…this is a little method actory, but if you go into the headspace of someone who would say something with a certain phrasing, you can imagine how they might say other things and the type of personality they would have that would lead them to say those things and do the actions they do. For minor characters, sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking, “Hmm, this scene has a lot of lower voices… I’m going to make this character who only appears in these few pages have a high voice”.


Q: Where can readers follow you? 

A: You can find me at my website, hear me on SoundCloud and follow me on Twitter.


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THE MUSUBI MURDER August 2015 Amazon / B&N /Powell’s /Audible / iTunes

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