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  • Payal Nayar

What does the audio platform mean to me personally?

Something about the audio medium has always been very powerful for me. While I was in college I would utilize all my free time to record audio books for the Blind Association at their recording studio and have a lot of fun with it. There was something very special and inspiring just walking into a studio and sitting in the recording booth in front of a mic which would then be my friend for the entire session. It is during these sessions where it dawned on me that I would much rather be a voice artist than be in the Corporate world at a desk.

I did enjoy the travel immensely because that was the industry I had been a part of for several years but I realized that I could continue to be a traveler because after all I am and will always be a nomad with quite a bohemian lifestyle so why not give my creativity a window and see where that takes me.

Thus began my journey as a voice artist. I remember my boss at the last airline I worked with being completely shocked and bewildered when I broke the news to her. It took a few months of convincing before she let me embark on this, according to her a very strange career move. There was a similar reaction from a number of people who thought I was foolishly giving up a successful career to step into an unknown and unexplored world. My family and close friends knew how determined I can be and that the explorer in me would find a way forward and they were not wrong.

The voiceovers world is very competitive and people think easy to break into. However, it is not as it seems. I also experienced challenges and disappointments while starting out. Some incidents will be engrained in me always, like the one time a producer wanted me to sound exactly like an established voice artist saying that the reason they hired me was because they could not afford that particular artist. I remember walking out of the studio feeling extremely dejected which in hindsight helped me to get even more determined to establish myself. Once the barrier was broken, there has been no looking back for me.

In my opinion voice acting is probably a little more challenging as compared to cinema and theatre. There can be as many retakes for sure but we always have to imagine we are talking to actual people and not just into a mic. The energy that we can absorb from people does not happen while doing voiceovers, it is just the mic that becomes an imaginary person. I have never done any projects in all these years where there has been a co actor in the booth with me. With years of experience, befriending the mic comes very naturally to me.

So as I mentioned earlier, there is no interaction with people other than the producer and sound engineer during a voice over and being a peoples person I wanted to also bring that into my voiceover profession.

After doing some research on podcasting, it got me very excited at the prospect of extending my experience as a podcast host something that would give me an opportunity to continue doing voiceovers which I absolutely love and simultaneously interacting with diverse, multi cultural inspiring people by interviewing them. Thus began my very exciting podcast journey as a host. The initial few months of interviews were absolutely phenomenal, spent globe trotting, meeting people from different cultures, inviting them to be guests on Melting Pot a series of straight from the heart stories from diverse societies and cultures who in my opinion are all change makers.

It gave me an opportunity to actually even if it was for a short while, absorb the energy and passion reflected in the body language of the person I would be in conversation with. It was an extremely exhilarating experience with every single guest I interacted with.

Then came March of 2020. The world came to a screeching halt like none of us could ever imagine possible in our lifetime or would have experienced before. This also meant, a BIG CHANGE with all us travelers indefinitely grounded. When the initial shock of it all subsided, the world over communication became virtual, I had no option but to switch gear as well, so no more zipping around the globe with my cool recorder, all chats became virtual. I must admit, it did take a little bit of adjustment because that human interaction was missing and of course for me the travel but I then adapted to this new virtual way of speaking to my guests and it has now become a new normal for me.

I have continued my conversations with some phenomenal people from all over the world literally sitting at my desk in Singapore and it has not been too bad. I believe this too shall pass, I stay focused, believe that what I have created is here to stay just temporarily adapted to working on it differently. I am certain that it is just a matter of time before I am on a plane again back to personally meeting my guests in different parts of the world. As Robert H. Schuller has said and I quote “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

- Payal

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