Vickie Lester will never approximate the Mid-Atlantic tones of Constance Bennett, but…
Walking around Boston I hear a multitude of voices every day, different accents; young, old, and in-between. Every era has its quirks, last year’s vocal fry will give way to something else, perhaps digital drawl or robot resonance? And while people can get very persnickety about cadence and intonation, speech has only ever been about one thing; connection.
It puts me in mind of last year, when I was doing more reading and speaking in public and was kind of edgy about it until I had a nice soothing interchange with a friend in Arles:
I was just reading about Constance Bennett playing cards all night with moguls and movie stars, and not sleeping a wink before she was to do a radio broadcast of Pirandello with David Niven — which she had stubbornly refused to rehearse. Result: she nearly passed out in front of the microphone.
I really like the slight gravelly aspect to your voice, quite unique and very appropriate for your material! Keep in mind that the lower registers are always more expressive than the higher ones (save for when you use the upper range on purpose) – one little exercise that you can do is to put one hand on your chest and one on your forehead (not your nose) while you read and feel how they vibrate. It’s kind of neat and helps to both ground you (good when you are nervous) and bring out a rounder voice.
I would just add two really basic exercises: to have a fuller sound and get rid of tension, it can be good to do a few fake yawns to stretch out the upper palate (the roof of your mouth) and blow out your lips like a horse. And for anyone that does yoga, a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing are very good for the voice and a case of nerves too.
Ah, that’s better!