Bienvenido, Bienvenue, Dobro požalovat; all ways of simply saying ‘Welcome’ to the masses. For one verse in speaking Spanish, French and Russian accent, Ramona Samuels hopes to introduce more of the public at large to her pet project, one voice at a time.
Samuels is the founder of Voicebox Jamaica, otherwise known as The Voicebox, a voice acting agency she created in September 2010 after voicing radio commercials to help promote a friend’s party and garnering attention from DJs and promoters for her accent-laded promos, deciding to turn this fast-growing hobby into a business. Her flirty, sensual voice can be heard across various promos in Jamaica, speaking fluently in foreign accents to garner listener interest.
Though it was four years ago Samuels opted to professionalize her craft, she developed a passion for voice acting during childhood.
“I have always been obsessed with accents from I was a little girl,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “I would always imitate the news announcers I heard on television and read to my friends while I was in school. It was mostly the British sound that I tried and loved; but I started taking it seriously when my friend Moyo asked me to voice his radio advert for his annual event. He usually uses a recording artiste but somehow, this time, he asked me. I thought to myself what could I do to make this advert sound different, and so I tried that spiffy English sound and he loved it. I felt very proud.”
Advertisements were the gyst of The Voicebox’s framework in the initial stages. But it has seen become more well-rounded, garnering the attention of corporate Jamaica and America in particular.
“The early days of The Voicebox was just mainly me doing party ads and being fun and quirky, with all different sounds and characters,” she said. “I now, however, have tapped into the corporate market and I am getting more corporate contracts.”
Some of her favourite exploits with The Voicebox include working on a local promotional campaign for last season’s UEFA Champions League as well as doing voice work for Australian disc jock, DJ Black Belt.
With her journalistic experiences, having worked with Jamaican entertainment stations, MDTV and RETV, public speaking has naturally become her forte, making voice acting a relatively easy skill she hopes to make relatable across the board. On the contrary, with voice acting being somewhat unheralded in Jamaica, Samuels admits locally there needs to me more education about it.
“As far as Jamaica is concerned some persons are still a little unsure as to what voice acting is,” she said. “The truth is there is so much to voice acting and it can be very diverse and there is really not much limitations. Everyone has been very encouraging and impressed with what I have started. I am hoping to do lots of work with animators and cartoonists because that's where the more challenging acting skills come in.”
In the meantime, she is passing on her knowledge of voice acting to others as she looks to recruit talent from across the world.
“Right now I am mostly writing and voicing radio and television commercials,” she revealed. “I also have new talent that I am coaching and getting to understand their voice acting skills. I am also studying Spanish which is another feature that will be offered. I have a few bookings coming up for the hosting of live events and as far as expanding the brand itself as an agency outlet for talent; artiste management is underway. I network daily and I am very excited about the opportunities that exist. There is no other like The Voicebox right now in Jamaica.”
For more information about The Voicebox, visit their official website here.