Pass the Mic AMA with Naz Chaudry
To promote leadership, equality, and action, we have partnered with She Is The Music, a nonprofit organization increasing the number of women working in music. Together, we're sharing new possibilities with females pursuing their passion, and careers in the industry.
Our guest from September’s Ask Me Anything Event is no ordinary voiceover talent. From captivating vocals and jingles, to accents and characters, Nazia Chaudhry (aka Naz) is a multi-faceted and accomplished voice artist, actress, and vocalist. With over 25 years of experience, her whimsical voice has won over some of the world’s biggest brands, including Intel, TIME, Frito Lay, and many more.
In case you missed our live session, here are the top takeaways from our sit down with Naz.
## What was your very first job as a voice actor?
My very first job was for National Geographic. It was a TV narration job that I did.
__## What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a voice actress? __
You have to be fearless. They say “voice acting” for a reason. It's important to take those acting classes and to really prepare yourself, and train.
## What are the first steps to take on the journey to being a voice actress?
I think a degree in performance has helped me in so many ways. The degrees in music and voice, from classical to jazz, those have helped me. But what has really enhanced my performance level is the acting, and it's a symbiotic relationship.
## How do you improve your performance?
Answer: You build those skills, and it doesn't happen overnight, necessarily. It's a slow process. You chip away little by little at what you want to accomplish. So, back to doing both music and acting, or learning the acting side of things, it really brings a different level of performance, to your singing, your music, and your expression in art.
## Do you have any advice for someone starting in the music and acting industry in terms of how to get involved?
Well, I think getting started: take acting classes and get training. First and foremost, you need to understand that is the basis of this. Back in my day, there was really no information then. So, I had to learn on the job. And you guys are lucky at this point that there are workshops available. You can do it on Zoom now. I think within the last 8 to 10 years or so, voiceover conferences were popping up, and there are a lot more opportunities now to sort of get involved and get started.
## What guidance can you give for folks like us who want to be just like you and level up our voice over our music and acting careers? It seems so hard to connect to the right people and get a foot in the door.
Well, I think your demos have to be on point. And again, that goes back to the acting piece, and training, and making sure you're ready to do that demo.
## So are you just sending the voice demos out and DM-ing people? How do you get your voice demos out into the world?
Honestly, I'm not good at that sort of thing where it's cold calling or cold emailing. And there are specialized courses that people teach in the business of voiceover marketing. I glean information and use that information to help me be more confident in my approach, but I like to do the work. I'm really hands-on and into getting in there and practicing and getting better.
## What is your recommendation on pitching agents? Is there any opportunity to audition for bigger projects without an agent?
Okay, so I guess my question would be, does the person who's asking the question, do they have a demo that they're ready to pitch? So, again, the steps would be training, train, train, train, train until you feel like you can't train anymore, then go train some more. Right? You should constantly be in a workshop or a class of some sort or work on your craft.
## Where do you look up who produced the commercial? How do you know if a producer is good to work with?
Getting that demo production or that demo reel made. You can go to a specific voice over demo producers, and beware that there are people that specialize in certain demos. So, don't ask a person who specializes in commercial demos to do your animation demo, right? Unless you've heard their samples, and you're like, "Wow, they are badass." They're badass in both of those. But usually, somebody will specialize in one particular or a couple of particular genres of demos. So yeah, you'll get your demo reel really spot on. And it has to be high quality now. You're competing against the world. Right? Now that the internet has changed everything, can you imagine how many submissions an agent must get on a daily basis?
## How do you politely decline a job without ruining an opportunity with the client relationship?
That's a really good question because that's happened to me quite a few times where the pay is tens of thousands, and it's like, "Wow, that looks great." And then I scroll down, I'm like, "Oh. I'm not feeling that message." Or, "That doesn't jive with me." Or, maybe it's a political message that’s even in my same political party. I've recorded political as well. Maybe it's still in my party, but I don't agree with the message. You have to stand your ground and just politely decline. "Thank you so much for sending this to me. I appreciate you thinking of me." And this is even with my agents. You have to think it's a partnership. It's a business partnership with your agent. So, you just politely decline: "I appreciate it that you sent it to me, but I have to decline because I don't agree with the message." I'm pretty straightforward. Or, "I don't record those sorts of products because I don't consume those products." Let's say you're vegetarian. Would you do a commercial for meat? You know what I mean?