Saturday, July 18, 2015

The curious case of Vocal Fry

A while back I wrote about the hypnotizing voice of the new NPR ads voice over person, and even postulated what the owner of that melodious voice would be like (somewhat like Parmigianino's Madonna dal Collo Lungo).

Of course, several of you constant readers researched the issue and identified the voice in question, and not surprising (at least to me), she is almost exactly as I described her, based on her voice. She is also a vastly talented actress, by the way.

Case closed; listen to her amazing voice here.

However, in the process of obtaining that last unrequested bit of information, I've also discovered the uniquely young American female phenomenon of "vocal fry", and now I'm afraid that my radio listening habits have been profoundly affected.

If you don't know what vocal fry is, I would recommend that you avoid finding out. If you can't resist, then click here.

Now I hear it everywhere! Especially with younger NPR female correspondents, and it has somewhat affected my listening ear, as I tune to detect it.

Another interesting voice in the air is that of WMAL's Maria Leaf. While the NPR ad voice over person is generally anonymous and her voice is a like a drink of 100 year old port, Maria Leaf's recognizable 150 MPH voice is like a high dose of caffeine mixed with a lot of enthusiasm for the job!

Her voice wakes you up! The manner in which she drags the "L" in the station's call letters (WMAL) at the end of her reports is a thing of beauty, as is when she pronounces the name of traffic guy Matt DeFazio... she drags "De Faaaaazio" as a sport announcer would describe an amazing B-ball three-pointer!

Listen to Maria here.

If you can't resist the vocal fry challenge, then see the below video.


artsdc said...

Hi Lenny - - thanks for the public service of spreading the word on the Vocal Fryyyy

Anonymous said...

I recently started listening to Washington DC's WMAL, and was captivated by the voice of Maria Leaf. I searched on the internet and found your blog post. I'm an older guy, and generally don't want to hear women do news or media, but Maria has a bold and to my ear delightful delivery. I can't wait to hear her on the station.