ACK! AUGH!!! It’s horrible! It’s awful! And have I mentioned that I don’t like it?
Darlings, it’s not that I really want you to go out and buy an Acura (ha ha ha!! Like anyone here could afford one!). It’s that I want you to hear the voice over artist on this ad and her horrible, horrible vocal fry. This ad leading up to the NY Times article made me want to ball up a piece of paper and stick it in my ears.
Vocal fry continues to plague society, with young women being the main offenders but plenty of men also succumbing to the horrible affectation. I keep emphasizing this for anyone who works with their voice — and that includes clergy — the aesthetics and health of your vocal quality are an essential part of your professional performance. You can be brilliant, commmitted, compassionate and wise, but if your voice sounds affected and immature, I assure you that the other qualities will be lost or greatly (and unnecessarily) diminished.
Please, please, please take your voice seriously in your consideration of the people who have to listen to you. Speak clearly, project, enunciate, find a warm timbre and a pitch that is natural and easy to sustain (people are trained into all sorts of bad vocal habits and sometimes need help restoring their voices to their natural and healthier register) and keep working at it. Listen to recordings of yourself. Welcome feedback. Ask those with hearing assisted devices if they can hear and understand your speech in worship. Slow down if you’re a zoomy speaker. Improve your energy and pacing if you’re a draggy Eyeore type of speaker. Guard against affectation with all your might (I can’t bear to listen to Terry Gross of “Fresh Air” anymore — she has completely indulged herself the “liberal elite dumbing down” affectations of sprinkling her speech with “Um” and “Like” and “sort of” — the last of which is her verbal equivalent of communicating, “I am in complete control here, but I want to seem endearingly non-threatening”).
Here’s more vocal fry (the brunette woman named Hayley has a horrible case of it, but both gals would benefit from vocal coaching).
I am a huge fan of the BBC World News, and am very sad that we have lost the beautiful Komla Dumor, an African BBC reporter who had the most gorgeous voice. If you watch that first video of him on the page, you can hear him interview Bill Clinton, the male political figure with the worst vocal fry I can think of. Rest in peace, Mr. Dumor.
Your voice will be missed.
Rant over, darlings. Thanks for listening.