How to Be a Non-Generic Voice

Research and publication, 2016
By Bollería Industrial / Factory Baked Goods (Paula Currás, Ana Olmedo, Enrique Ventosa)
Producer: UE university
Translator: Ángela Hernández Conde

During the last months, apps such as Instagram, which was once based on posing, leaving voice aside, has included the Snapchat technology in its software, allowing to record video clips and revealing our voices imperfections – something that is not as immediately controllable as the physical appearance.

Instagram Stories (left) / Snapchat Stories (right)

Voices have been judged as too strong, too nasal, too raspy, too tiny… In short, it’s almost impossible to do it “right”. Hillary Clinton’s voice has been described as “unbearable” and “piercing”. It has been compared with the voice of a “grumpy wife” by two political opponents. During Clinton’s first presidential campaign, Glenn Beck said that listening to Hillary was like having an ice crusher in his ear. In this electoral cycle, Donald Trump compared her voice with a robot.

When Hillary Speaks, Ben Garrison.

Related to these adjectives, the term “vocal fry” has become very popular – you may have heard it without knowing what this voice effect is, or you maybe produce this sound without even noticing. “Vocal fry” is a term for describing a scraping grump, produced nasally in the back of the throat and associated to females, from teenagers to celebrities such as the Kardashians or Britney Spears.

Vocal cords position during vocal fry.

If you watch a video of Kim Kardashian, you’ll hear this vocal effect every time she says a sentence. During the last year, the New York Times and the Washington Post have talked about Kim as a “vocal fry” icon, qualifying it as rude, annoying and disgusting. But why a certain way of speaking is able to disempower a whole community?

In How to Become a Non Generic Voice Bollería Industrial / Factory Baked Goods analyses these examples and more trying to answer this question through four chapters:
Generic Voices vs Real Voices, To whom I Owe my Voice, Cute Voices of Rebellion, Gardermoen Airport Common PA System Announcements.