Sounding “like our selves”

Sounding “like our selves”

“The voice is a question not yet organized, pure and free significant that pointing, waving and alluding without saying. The voice says itself in the moment it is said: it is pure demand. The inarticulate shout, the pure groan, the wordless vocalization, the cry of the war are explosions of the being that identifies itself with its own voice: the voice is the desire to say and to exist.”(Paul Zumthor)

I was with a client the other day. He just didn’t sound “like him” So descriptive isn’t it. Sometimes, it is the small things that we notice, but unsure as to why we might say them and come to some sort of conclusion. Malcolm Gladwell at the beginning of his book “Blink” describes an art dealer calling an art piece a “fake” and then the subsequent 6 months it took to say exactly why it wasn’t genuine. Sometimes that is how my job is. I know something is not right- so I ask, I tell a story, I question, I ask for reflection, I wonder and sometimes, more often than not, something evolves. 

My client agreed that he didn’t sound like he wanted. Often we don’t. What are our limitations and how exactly does our voice reflect our true self? Or give away our true feelings, despite our best knowledge. A friend of mine reflected back to me the other night that when i spoke about my art, my voice became hight, squeaky and like an unconfident child. And yes, that was exactly how i was feeling in relation to my relationship to my art at the time, and yet it was not available to my conscious mind until pointed out (in such a gentle manner).

So my client, well we explored the vocal range, a few trills, a few yawns, some resonance. Found out that loud was uncomfortable (in his body as well as disliking it when others around him were loud.) We found that there was a deeper, richer, stronger and gentler voice available. An open voice with a rich sound that made him sound more masculine, and more endearing. It was almost as if the primal aspect of his voice was not present before. It had been too uncomfortable, and with a few gentle invitations, the voice began to purr and then roar with unexpected delight.

I love my job. I love my ears as they lead me to listening deeply to the voice. I love how we say so much with our voice. Language is beautiful and I adore it in all forms and look for just the right word in each language. Just as much as I look for just the right vocal nuance that captures our truest of expressions. And when the two combine, true magic happens.