At Home in Your Voice: NPR Funding Credit Voice Artist Jessica Hansen

In this episode...

Jessica Hansen is the voice of NPR’s funding credits, and serves as in-house voice coach at NPR headquarters. She coaches voice for NPR, member stations, corporate groups, executives, professional theater companies, as well as hosts, journalists, and private clients nationwide. Jessica began acting at age 5, and was a cast member of a tween TV series at 12. She’s performed Guest Star roles on NBC’s Parks & Recreation and HBO’s Veep.

In today’s episode of the Soul of Life, I speak with Jessica about how she’s helping performers work with new challenges while working from home.

Jessica Hansen playing opposite Amy Poehler on NBC's Park's and Recreation

“That separation of your home life just doesn’t exist now. Your kid is in the room with you. The baby’s on your lap while we’re doing this work…. …You can’t curl up in a ball under a bed spread, you can’t breathe that way you can’t make sound that way.”

What kind of vocal tips does Jessica give to people like Ari Shapiro, Mary Louis Kelly, or Sylvia Poggioli? What’s in a voice anyway? Does the way we make the sound of our voice really convey what we think it does?

Bob Ross’ voice is discussed, as well as the phenomenon of “vocal fry,” that lowest register (tone) of the voice characterized by its deep, creaky, breathy sound.

“I think it goes back to Paris Hilton, ‘That’s hot.'”

"Whenever people talk about [vocal] fry, a lot of people reference the Kardashians….Boomers and [Gen] Xers think fry makes you sound less credible, less knowledgeable. Millennials think fry makes you sound more authoritative." - Jessica Hansen, NPR vocal coach

Actress and NPR Voice Artist Jessica Hansen
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Episode 6