Akshdeep Singh Vohra says, “Listening is more important than speaking, even in voice-overs/”
A school topper, Akshdeep Singh Vohra was expected to pursue the conventional “safe life” but the artist in him rebelled. When his monotonous office work wearied him out, Akshdeep decided to create his YouTube channel called “The Entertaining Influencer”. Thus, began his journey of finding peace in the creative. Choosing the road less travelled, he became a Voice-over Artiste by night and an Auditor by day.
Moreover, if you aren’t living under a rock, you have heard Akshdeep in the super-hit official trending song “Jalebi Baby”. Akshdeep chats with Storiyaan about what keeps him invested in the VO industry, some recommendations, tips for beginners and more.
Akshdeep Singh Vohra: The Voice in the song Jalebi Baby
Questions and answers
What was the stumbling block that led you to realise your niche as a voice-over artist?
I have been enthusiastic about extra-curricular activities since my childhood and was well aware that I was born to perform and utilize my talents. One day I created my YouTube Channel called “The Entertaining Influencer” when I got bored with my job. Subsequently, a friend noticed my voice and recommended that I create a career in voice acting. That somehow became a sweet realization and I have never looked back since.
You are an auditor during the day, who turns into a voice-over artist by night. How do you manage to strike a balance between the two?
Lockdown and Work-From-Home last year gave me adequate time to research more about voice-over acting and its career prospects. Luckily, I have been able to manage it well along with my day job. Having said that, sometimes, I do find a hard time juggling commitments and deadlines but working towards my passion drives me to work hard every day!
According to you, is it necessary for someone to get the collaboration of a manager, an agent or a management company to make their way and get work in the industry?
No, not at all! Fortunately, we have so many P2P (Pay-To-Play) and freelancing websites that we do not require an agent/managing company to get work initially. Notwithstanding, it is always helpful to have connections with them as they usually have regular work but they are not the only source of work.
How typically does someone with their demo get an agent and where is a good place to get one’s foot in the door?
It all depends on how high-quality your demo is. Someone who is just getting started won’t have the money to invest in a professional demo. So I would suggest you focus on creating accounts on freelancing platforms and creating your DIY demo to get the ball rolling! Thus, once you gain experience and momentum, you can get yourself an agent if you want.
Gaming has provided a new door of opportunities for voice-over artists. What are some of the pros and cons of that branch of the industry, especially in India?
Yes, gaming voice-overs are indeed very trendy. The pro is that the genre is extremely exciting as you can be more expressive and also act and feel the character you are playing. However, some games involve shouting, use of foul language and so on which is a con if you are not comfortable with them.
Podcasts and audiobooks are very much in trend these days. What are some classic podcasts that you would suggest to our readers?
Indeed. Podcasts and Audiobooks are already rapidly growing in India. I am into Mythological & Historical fiction and therefore I would recommend ‘Bharat ki Amar Kahaniya’ from Radio City and Holy Tales by Red FM.
Do people working in animation voice-over tend to float between animation and commercials?
Yes and no as you can go beyond these genres too. Especially when you are starting, the key is to experiment, take feedback, and then make an informed decision about the industry that suits you best. Moreover, you can focus on excelling in one field and also work in other genres. Hence, feel free to work on multiple types of projects and see for yourself.
Having worked with several Global brands like Cisco, BBC, Siemens, etc., what are some of the major pet peeves of the profession that you have discovered over time?
Sometimes the client is not clear about their expectations in terms of voice tone, pacing, mood. They want the artist to decide them depending on their understanding. However, very often this creates immense confusion which leads to multiple takes and revisions to deliver the same script. This has to be my biggest pet peeve when it comes to voice-overs.
You provided the Opener Voice Over for "JALEBI BABY" featuring Tesher and Jason Derulo. Tell us about the events that led you to accept the offer for this role?
Fun fact, I auditioned for the role thinking it was any other fan-based music video, unaware of the fact that I am being auditioned by a Director who has already cast multi-platinum artists like Nicki Minaj, Drake, John Legend and others! It was after reading the agreement that I realised I was working on the Official Music video of an already super-hit trending song! I was thrilled and my excitement was beyond limits.
What was the major highlight of the making of the video of "JALEBI BABY" and what made it so memorable?
I contributed and added value to the video song by just saying a few lines. But more importantly, the fact that I am the ‘First Voice’ you hear when you watch this music video, is what means a lot to me. Therefore, this has to be the major highlight of this project.
What lies next for you? Can you tell us about the projects you are working on currently?
I am currently working on some projects in the fields of E-Learning, Audio-dramas, and Commercials. Additionally, I am also focusing on my Marketing and Business growth, along with continuous learning to help me set a strong foundation for the long-term.
1. Most challenging project to date – A project where even after 5 revisions, the client was still unsure about the tone they wanted
2. One skill every voice-over artist must have – Being a good listener.
3. A project you loved being a part of – Jalebi Baby Music Video
4. Your inspiration – Parents, Teachers and BK Shivani
5. Your favourite Voice-Over artists in the industry – Mr Harish Bhimani and Mr Bill DeWees