We’ve started a new series to introduce you to our talents by going even more in-depth than their profile listings. So, Meet Debbie Irwin, Blue Wave Voiceover Talent!
Tell us a little about your broadcast-quality home studio. Where is it? What kind of equipment do you have? What do you like about it?
I have 2 studios– one in NYC and the other on the border of NY and MA. You can call it Columbia County or The Berkshires. The former is technically correct and the latter is more widely known. 🙂 In the country, where I’ve been since March 2020, I have a new Studiobricks VO One Plus, two mics: Sennheiser 416, Neumann TLM 103, two DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations): Adobe Audition and Twisted Wave, and two audio interface systems: Sound Devices USBPres 2 and Focusrite 2i2. I can connect to clients and studios via a wide variety of platforms, Source Connect, ISDN Bridging, ipDTL, Zoom, Skype, and tin cans if necessary! I love every bit about the Studibricks set-up, which I completed last summer. I wanted to be agnostic as to whether I was in the city or the country, so I have duplicate set-ups in both locations (although I don’t have a Studiobricks booth in NYC!) What’s not to like?
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Take your pick!
- I was the voice of the Statue of Liberty on the landmark’s audio tour.
- Outside of the political sphere, I am an expert medical narrator and am now coaching students privately.
- I lived in Italy as a kid and went to Italian public school.
- My dad was a world-famous entomologist and considered the Father of Modern Forensic Entomology.
- I was a successful stockbroker in a past life.
How did you get into voiceover work?
Long story. But I’ve been at it for nearly 20 years.
Do you remember what your first voiceover spot was?
I remember my first in-studio session. It was for John’s Contemporary, a high-end furniture store in Philly or Baltimore. I had an out of body experience, where I was outside of myself, looking down and feeling so in awe of where I was in that moment!
Do you remember the first political voiceover spot that you did?
That was a loooong time ago! Maybe 15 years? It was for a local political action committee in Great Barrington, MA. A young kid had been locked up in jail for having some marijuana on him and he was near a school. What’s ironic is that now there is one of the most successful marijuana shops in Great Barrington. They pulled in 5 million in sales in their first quarter of being open!!!!
Why do you think voiceover will be an important part of political advertising in the 2020 election?
People from ALL walks of life need to be heard and that’s what BWVO is all about. Representing America so America can represent us!
What issues would you like to see at the center of the Democratic platform for this year’s election?
Women’s rights to make their OWN decisions about their OWN bodies. Restoring rule of law and not rule of Monarchy. Protecting our planet. Immigration. Racial inequities. Domestic violence. Opioid/Addiction Crises.
What is your biggest voiceover pet peeve?
1. People who think this work is easy to do. 2. People who ask basic questions that can easily be answered by visiting Google.
If you could tell political voiceover clients one thing that would help you do your job better, or help them get what they want faster – what would that one thing be?
Most helpful is an audio reference to my work that they liked and/or a voice sample from somewhere else. That puts me immediately into the ‘sound’ they’re looking for. Also, if music has been selected or even narrowed down to a few choices, that is HUGELY informative for every voice actor I know, and can totally change a read!
What advice do you have to aspiring voiceover talents that want to work in the political arena?
Same as any other genre. Do your homework. Research the styles that are out there. Learn from the pros who are already marketing themselves in this genre. Build a network of leads so that when you have a political demo (and yes, you need one just for this genre!), you will be ready to seek out opportunities.
What hobbies do you have outside of your voiceover work?
Gardening (flowers), collecting art, travel, theatre, museums, symphony, Jasper (my 4 year old grandson), entertaining, cooking, dancing and yoga!