Being Award Announcer at the WTA Grand Slam of Voice Over

Being Award Announcer at the WTA Grand Slam of Voice Over

WTA Awards Kim Handysides is Gala AnnouncerOne of the things I love about being a voice over announcer are the places and jobs it takes me vicariously or in person. This October, one of the biggest events in the female tennis world was held in Singapore. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals Gala Evening. And though I wasn’t there myself, I was there in voice… performing the award announcements and spinning the stories behind each player. This high profile gig was uber fun. I worked with the WTA team both in the US and UK. 

As it was an event highlighting the best of women in the world, personally I thought it was a great choice to hire a woman to voice the awards.  Announcing awards requires a different focus and mindset to most other voice over jobs. It’s a celebration, and we’re all here to have a good time!

Elite Voice Over

elite female standing out from crowdIf you’re familiar at all with tennis, you know the WTA Finals Gala Evening is the big one. It’s a night filled with the creme de la creme of the women’s tennis world, and people travel from all over the planet to be there. I was proud to be a part of it professionally.

Held in Singapore in October of this year, the international event saw many big names and players in attendance. The one thing all of these players had in common is their stories of overcoming obstacles, of strength of spirit and mind, of determination and focus – this is where I, as their Award announcer came into play. As each award nominee was announced before the winning player made her way to the stage, their stories, achievements, and accolades were told. Whether they won an award that evening or not, this night was special. It may have been the highlight of their careers and lives, being lauded among peers, or one in a string of more to come.  

Without heavy namedropping, the WTA gave me the opportunity to announce some extremely high profile names in the industry. And the best part of the whole affair was that the team was so happy with my performance this time around, they’ve pre-booked me for next year’s awards. Needless to say, I’m tickled pink.

Girls Rule… And So Do Our Voices

ladies at Award show announcerHappily, female voice overs in award announcements are growing.  Once, totally a male dominated slice of the industry, advantages of the female voice at events include (still) standing out and grabbing attention. Elements of a great voice for award announcer include warmth, depth and clarity. The delivery must come across as in-tone with the overall evening, and add grace and dignity to the event.

The step away from male voice in Award announcer, may be a step away from the traditional. But it is a step toward more visibility and more representation. This year Danica Patrick became the first female ever to host the ESPN ESPY Awards. While there have been a handful of female Oscar co-hosts (including Anne Hathaway, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn) there have only been two female Oscar hosts: Whoopi Goldberg (4 times) and Elen deGeneres (2 times). Happily, my colleague and friend Randy Thomas has donned heels and strappy black dress numerous times to be the live announcer of the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Tonys, showing a deep, pleasant, stand-out female voice over has the capability to cut through the clutter and calm any possible chaos during an awards show. 

This aspect of the voice over industry differs from others. Unlike much of the voice-over work I do, at award shows, the audience is not just one person. The Award Announcer is talking to a crowd of people. This approach requires a different focus and mindset.

As well as sounding more formal than regular speech, one needs to think bigger in order to sound bigger. At the same time, strike that balance between warmth and professionalism. My voice is there to be clear and articulate, but also captivate and hold people’s attention. To calm and relax nerves, but also amp up the excitement appropriately. 

A Celebration of Stories

The key to announcing awards is that while it is a formal event, it’s also an exciting event. It’s a celebration. Announcing the awards for the WTA was very much stylized voice over storytelling. Capturing the attention of everyone in the room and bringing them along for the ride to celebrate the most elite female tennis players in the world.

Many of the players become known in the media for loud or strange grunting noises or what they’re wearing on the court. But during an awards event, the voice-over helps to showcase their achievements, struggles and who they are as a person. As a professional female voice over artist, Award announcing holds a special place among the work I do. It’s an honor to be hired to venerate people, corporations and organizations who’ve gone above and beyond.

Awards Announcing is a Workout 

Performing as an award announcer requires a lot of energy. These formal, exciting events are quite the workout. It requires vocal care: good hydration, great storytelling technique and excellent diaphragm control to bring authority and charisma without blowing out your vocal chords. 

While the WTA may be one of the highest profile organizations I’ve announced awards for, it’s not the only one. I’ve been the pre-recorded awards voice for educational institutions, non-profit organizations, industry alliances and associations, and everything in between. In every instance, whether it’s red carpet, black ties, sparkles and champagne, or town halls lauding the heroes of the community. I am cognizant of the part I play in bringing it together. Vocally, I represent the brand, the event, and the people behind it – and that’s what I love about working with awards.

If you’re looking for a professional female voice-over artist for your own awards event, please get in touch. I’d love to discuss working together!

5 Comments
  1. Randy Thomas 9 months ago

    Kim I love seeing and hearing you in your element. That I could crash the glass ceiling is my honor and I am so proud of the women who stand behind the Live Announce mic. Break a lip Kim!

    • Author
      Kim Handysides 9 months ago

      Humbled by your comment Randy – I love how encouraging you and our voice community is. Thanks!

  2. Katherin Vasilopoulos 9 months ago

    What an incredibly fun opportunity for you Kim. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world. I loved reading your article.

    • Author
      Kim Handysides 9 months ago

      Thanks Katherin! I greatly appreciate your feedback 🙂

  3. Diana Birdsall 9 months ago

    This is a standout idea or spec for me:

    “My voice is there to be clear and articulate, but also captivate and hold people’s attention. To calm and relax nerves, but also amp up the excitement appropriately. ”

    Brilliant analysis of the situation and one I’ll keep in mind for my next VOG event.

    Thank you, Kim. Phenomenal words of wisdom and experience.

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