top of page
  • Writer's picturePam Johnson

Is my voice who I am?

There was some backlash from a young woman when vocal fry was being discussed in the news a few years ago. She felt the she should be judged on her qualifications, not on whether her voice sounded young (vocal fry being used mostly by young people). "It's the way I sound, it's who I am!"

I can understand her point and the feeling by some young women that this was just a new type of discrimination against women. All of us want to be judged and hired based only on our qualifications and our character.

Here is a reality check. Vocal fry, up speak (that's when someone makes every statement sound like a question by having their voice go up at the end of every sentence), and other bad vocal habits tend to be accepted by people in their late 20's and 30's. Those vocal habits tend to really annoy people in their 40's, 50's and 60's. Guess the age group of people doing the hiring at most companies!

The sound of your voice is not "who you are". It is simply one aspect of you that has been formed by what you hear and often unconsciously imitate. Most of us probably have some type of regional accent. People from Minnesota rarely say "y'all", Wisconsinites can sound quite nasal at times.

One of the main reasons I wanted to work as a voice coach was because I was hearing bright, talented young women and men stuff their voices down in their throats. Being a bit older, I was having a hard time hearing what they were saying and often missed the ends of most of their sentences. I realized that the vocal habit they had adopted caused their voices to travel only about 6" from their mouths. My voice training had taught me how to project my voice to fill an auditorium. I wondered if I could use that training to unleash their voices, tested my theory on a young friend and sure enough - her voice moved out of her throat and out toward me.

I want to help bright, talented young people make their mark on the world. To do that they need to be heard clearly and their voices need to be compelling, not annoying. It takes very little time and can make a huge difference in their careers. If you know someone who could use my help, tell them you want them to succeed and know someone who could help them along that path. You aren't criticizing who they are, you are helping them break bad habits to become a better version of themselves.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page