Here at Such A Voice we bring together some pretty incredible professionals from all different parts of the world to provide our students with a top voice-over education. Our staff members have such a wide variety of backgrounds and unique personalities. From working VO actors starring in movies, video games, and national TV commercial campaigns, to producers spending their days working on voice-over demos as well as broadcast voice-over work, to copywriters, casting directors and many other industry skills in between! We genuinely love bringing our expertise and our experiences together to create the best programs for our students.
For this week’s spotlight in the series, we’d like to introduce you to Such A Voice’s Customer Service Manager, Raymond Friend.
Your name fits you perfectly, Mr. Friend, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks Heather! I’ve been with Such a Voice (SAV) about 3 ½ years now. When I took the SAV program, my coach Steven Wahlberg told me about the opportunity to apply for an open position shortly after I completed my training and recorded my demos. After 40 years of working in Property Management, Housing, and Housing Development, I retired and thought that taking on this “part-time” position would be a great use of my spare time when I wasn’t auditioning and doing voice-over work. When I was offered the job, the next great adventure in my life was underway.
I graduated from Temple University and now live in Philadelphia with the love of my life, Yvonne, who I have been married to for almost 30 years. Together, we have four children who all have great careers: Raymond (an aspiring writer), Rahsaan (a Gastrointestinal & Liver Doctor), Hataya (who’s an Actuary), and Nataya (a CPA). I also have two grandsons, Breylin and Braxton. They are all beautiful, good people who inspire me everyday.
I have always loved to sing! I started when I was eight years old in school. Along the way, I sang with various choirs, groups, and did a bit of solo work as well. I sang and traveled with “The Drifters” for about three years during the 1970’s and I continue to sing with a Ministry I belong to in South Jersey. I was first introduced to voice-overs through our Pastor at Living Faith Ministries in New Jersey who started doing a TV program. He told me he loved my voice and asked me if I would like to do the voice-overs for the program. I said “yes,” and did the voice-overs and commercials for about three years, for about as long as the TV program lasted. I really loved it and decided that I would look further into the industry at that time, really didn’t pursue it further until 2012 when I was thinking about retirement and what I’d be doing with my life when I finished with Property Management. When I joined SAV as a student, Steven Wahlberg was assigned to coach me and my life has never been the same.
What is your role in the Such A Voice family?
I am the Customer Service Manager for SAV, so if someone calls us, I’m usually the first person they speak with. I handle client and customer calls and emails for information and service requests. I also coordinate coaching assignments.
Who is your favorite movie or TV star?
I’m not really an avid TV watcher. I’m a big sports fan (Go Eagles and Sixers!) and I love movies! If pressed for an answer though, I would say Steve Harvey. He’s got a number of shows I watch from time to time.
How did you get your start in voice-over?
As mentioned above, my Pastor asked me to do the voice-overs and announcing for his TV program. It was a great experience! I knew I could sing, but I never really focused on my speaking voice. I also used to do a comedic spot with a fellow staffer for a Real Estate Development Company I worked for. During our monthly meetings, I did some silly commentaries with another Regional Manager to lighten the mood and humorously convey company news and make it a little more palatable. The broadcasts were pretty well received and I got plenty of those “you know you ought to do radio or voice-over” comments.
What was the weirdest VO job you’ve done to date?
I haven’t had any really weird VO jobs yet. I did a few technical VO’s like the “Fundamentals of Gas Chromatography” which had a lot of a tongue twisters, but I nailed most of them!
What is your favorite summer activity?
Going to the beach! My wife and I love the beach and we go as often as we can. Traveling to a tropical island is our favorite thing to do, but when we can’t, we drive to Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Maryland, or Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Are you the chef, or the clean up crew in your family?
Definitely the cleanup crew. My wife is a sensational cook! Anything I prepare would pale in comparison and in flavor! I’ve learned to stay in my lane and let her do what she does so well. I get out of the way and specialize in exemplary Kitchen Patrol.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes! Two sisters and a brother. I had an older sister who passed away a few years ago. I’m usually just referred to as “Big Brother” by all my siblings. No need to say Ray!
What is one of your favorite inspirational quotes?
“It’s in the moments of our decisions that our destinies are made.”
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