with Kesha Monk
Have you tapped into the healing power of voiceover? In this episode of the Entrepreneur Hustle Series, Anne and special guest co-host Kesha Monk talk about how your health can impact your business. Listen to learn what keeps these two “fresh and flavorful,” how VO can be therapeutic, and why being your authentic self can help you rock your business like a BOSS.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
If you’re having a health crisis, you may still be able to accommodate and evolve your business
Sometimes a health crisis can bring new perspectives and joy to your work
When you’re not feeling well, sometimes the creative aspect of your business is a nice distraction
Voiceover can allow a flexible work-from-home schedule that can accommodate your health conditions
As horrible as it is to be chronically sick or ill, it can put things into perspective. If you can get through that, nothing can hold you back from being the real you behind the mic
Find something that brings you joy when you are ill, like voiceover
The emotional component of an illness and conquering your fears can be just as hard as the physical recovery
When you can bring an emotional component of yourself to the read, it will help you to sound more authentic
You can use the emotions of your healing journey to help your acting behind the mic
If you have a passion for authentically using your voice to read and express, you have a chance for success
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Read more on health and business on Anne’s blog
Recorded on ipDTL
>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, with very special, extra special guest and colleague and friend, Miss Kesha Monk. Kesha!
Kesha: Hello! How you doin’, baby girl?
Anne: I am doing fantastic. How ‘bout yourself?
Kesha: I feel good. I really, really do. It’s a new year, you know. It’s, I feel fresh and flavorful.
Anne: Ooh, fresh and flavorful, I love that. You know —
Anne: Speaking of, speaking of fresh and flavorful, I need to actually go on a diet. Well I’ve been needing to go on a diet since this whole pandemic thing, because my husband —
Kesha: Oh Anne, stop.
Anne: — my husband’s man cave is the kitchen. So he has been, you know, having a whole lot of fun in the kitchen, so. But he can, he can cook healthy just as well as he can cook, you know, decadent things probably I shouldn’t have as much of, but he’s so darn, so darn good.
Kesha: I’m sure, I’m sure. What a blessing, a man who cooks? What’s that?
Anne: I know, I know. Hey you know, speaking of health, Kesha, you know, you and I have been through a few trials and tribulations together in regards to health, and I think in talking with you, talking about it with you in the past, it has definitely affected our outlook in life and our outlook on our businesses. I thought it would be a good time to talk about those trials and tribulations, because you know, it’s crazy out there. And people are — thankfully I’m healthy, thankfully you’re healthy right now. But there are some people who aren’t, and I think there’s a whole mental game there that can maybe, I don’t know, we can strike some positivity in people if they’re not healthy and how they might be able to continue on with their businesses or evolve their businesses. You had talked to me about, you know — we’re kind of soul sisters in the fact that we both survived cancer. You survived cancer multiple times.
Kesha: A couple of times, three times, yeah.
Anne: Yeah, I think, let’s talk about, like what, what did that do for you in regards to your voiceover career? Or in life of course, that’s like the bigger question, right? What did that do for you in regards to being successful and wanting to make things, you know, joyful and just work for you?
Kesha: Well, so check it out. I actually, I was a radio personality before I made the transition to voiceover, right? And during my downtime, I, you know, admitted — and again, 20 years in radio, Anne. I’ve worked in the biggest markets, I’ve had an incredible career. And cancer kind of put my on my back, you know what I mean?
Kesha: And so once I accepted the fact I would not be able to go into the radio station — doing chemo and stuff took up all of my time. I used to do chemo like 12 hours at the, I like to call it the cancer correctional facility, you know?
Anne: Good name for it.
Kesha: Truly. Yeah, I used to do 12 hours of cancer in the, in the chemo center. And then I would literally have to go home with a pump as the chemo continuously flowed through my veins for an additional three days. And then you know, the nurse would have to come down and take the needles out, so forth and so on. I could not go in and out of the radio station. I don’t do well sitting still, you know.
Anne: Right, me either.
Kesha: Even though I wasn’t feeling my best —
Anne: You’re still active, your brain is active.
Kesha: Exactly. I’m kind of in love with touching people with my voice. I was trying to figure out, what can I do from home where I can still utilize my voice? And so that’s how I got into voiceover. Right? It was really, really crazy. I entered a contest where, you know, $100,000 contract was up for grabs, and the script that I had to read in order to aud — you know, get the gig, you know, was a cancer script, which was crazy to me. It is, and it happened several years ago, and I’m still like, really? [laughs] I didn’t get that gig, but they signed me anyway, and that’s kind of like how I got into voiceover. And Anne, I was incredibly sick for, I would say, the first year or two as I was kind of doing this. Even though I was a radio personality, making that transition to voiceover isn’t necessarily easy.
Anne: Oh gosh, no.
Kesha: Voice — it totally isn’t. It’s voice acting!
Anne: Yeah, and I say that having worked with many people who were transitioning from radio into voiceover, and working with them as students, and so I understand the transition and how difficult that is. And I’ll tell you what, when I was sick and recovering, I’ll never forget, like you’re saying you like to be active. And so even though you aren’t feeling well, it’s not like you can just be mindless and just sit there, you know. You need to have something to occupy your mind, to take your mind off of either the pain or whatever it is —
Anne: — the boredom. I just remember when I first — I got into the booth really, as quick as I possibly could. And it was such a wonderful, like just to step in the booth and have something to audition, you know, whatever, that was great to have those things to do to keep my mind off of other things like maybe my pain. [laughs]
Kesha: Anne, it was totally therapeutic for me. And it, I, I really to be honest with you, I felt like I was kind of doing a lot of on the job training, because again I knew how to use my voice, but voice acting is like a different animal. But I’m home, so I can access YouTube, and I can, you know, just turn on the television.
Kesha: Just listen and learn and be inspired by others who were kind of like doing the thing, doing their thing. And so I just kind of was good at it. [laughs] And I just got better and better, and I’ve received more and more bookings. And again while I’m receiving these bookings, I’m still reaching out to, you know, folks like Randy Thomas — God, I love her. And I, you know, I’m starting to feel a little bit better as I’m healing. You know, I’m allowed to — that’s where I met you. I figured out, get my stuff together and right, you know take advantage of —
Anne: VO Mastery.
Kesha: — yes, VO Mastery and some of these conferences and rubbing elbows with people who are in it and doing it. And I’ve just, I’ve just been on a roll, girl. I really, really have.
Anne: I’ll tell you what. I think that going through that is horrible as it is, to be sick, or chronically sick, or chronically ill, it also really puts things into perspective. I remember myself thinking —
Anne: — wow, I can get out of my own way now. Because nothing really compares to like, if you can get through that, then really, what’s holding you back behind the mic? What is holding you back from being your best, or letting go, or being you, which I think is probably one of the hardest things for voice actors.
Anne: If they’re not used to being themselves, and just bringing themselves to the party, and being authentic, I think, you know, and it’s not a performance behind the mic, I really think that that was the one thing that really got me out of my own way. I thought, gosh, what am I, what am I, why am I so, you know, what am I holding myself back for? Why am I so stiff behind the mic? Just be me, because I remember in the depths of, you know, there’s a lot of mental things that happen when you’re sick like that, fear being the biggest one of them. But I do remember thinking to myself, I’ve got nothing right now, right, but you know, fear in my head, and so what can I do to get over that? And really, and I’ve mentioned this before on a podcast, the only thing I really could do was love people and love life and be grateful.
Anne: And once I could finally just breathe and think that way, I was able to really make some big progress in my own performance and in my own business in succeeding.
Kesha: Yes! Absolutely, and then bigger than that, Anne, I honestly believe that getting into the business of voiceover really was a part of my healing. You know?
Anne: Yeah, yeah, I agree.
Kesha: It helped me heal. That’s one thing that, you know, they kind of tell you as you’re going through cancer, you know, you got to remember, you’re not always feeling your best. But what the doctors were telling me was you got to kind of find something that brings you joy, even if it’s reading, singing, taking a walk. You know, they, they, it’s not a good thing to wallow in your sorrow.
Anne: Oh absolutely.
Kesha: But what I learned is cancer is not a death sentence. So once I, just like you said, once I got that out of my head, I learned to embrace voiceover more and more, and I truly, you know, find that voiceover was an intricate part of me healing. And not only that, I have been given — you’re actually helping contribute to that continuous healing, because even though I am cancer free, I still go through a lot of things mentally. I’m not as strong as people think, especially with three reoccurrences. I’m always thinking, “oh my God, is the cancer gonna come back?” You know, if I get a little bump on my skin, I’m like oh my God —
Anne: Oh my God, it’s a tumor. I totally, totally understand that. I think that’s the biggest game of this. It’s not the physical part of the disease, because I believe with the physical part of the disease, we’ve got won — I had wonderful doctors, and they saved my life, and we’ve got treatments, but I’ll tell you what. For the mental aspect of it and I think conquering fear of it coming back — and this doesn’t have to be, for our listeners, it’s just any type of illness that might bring fear, like this pandemic, right, can bring fear, and people react in so many different ways. And I think for me it’s helped, having cancer helped me to deal with certain aspects of this pandemic better —
Kesha: Right, right.
Anne: — because I was like, “ok, I can hunker down and I can just do the things that bring me joy, because in the past, that has helped me to move forward and not be, you know” — it definitely helped, it definitely helped to be able to just dive into voiceover or whatever it is. Figure out what it is that brings you joy to be able to move forward.
Kesha: Yes, and the entire science of voiceover fascinated me. So you know, I would do a television spot, and you know, hear it on, you know, see it on television. And that would just propel me like, oh my gosh, you know? And I mean this in a humble way, but I’m like oh my gosh, that sounded so good! I can’t wait to get to the next — you know what I mean?
Anne: Yep, yep.
Kesha: It’s just, and I’m not necessarily in love with the sound of my voice, but I’m fascinated with the way I can take some words on a paper and connect with audiences with what I’m saying.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Kesha: Everything is so emotional to me. So that’s a lot of fun, and it keeps me going, even today.
Anne: That’s such a great point, everything is so emotional. And I totally, I totally think that that’s a great place to kind of, as an artist, right, as an artist, to creatively grow with that thought that it’s, it’s driven by emotion. And I’m always, you know, trying to tell people if they’re gonna give a different read, find a different emotion, you know.
Anne: Let’s bring that to the acting. When you can bring the emotion, whatever that emotion is, to the read, you then bring a piece of you to that read. And it makes it easier. You’re not so concerned about well, what is it I’m sounding like, or what do I think they want me to sound like? It’s really about the emotion and the connection, and that is such a wonderful like, I think, challenge. For every piece of copy that I see, it’s like oo, it’s like a little game. It’s like every audition, oh it’s like a little, what’s today’s game, what are the today’s game questions going to be?
Anne: And then it would be, “ok, how do I interpret this copy, how do I bring that to life?” That really became something, I know for myself if my brain is not active every single second, that’s really what brings me joy and really helps me to grow as a person and as an artist.
Kesha: So to me, voiceover is a complete science. So even when, even when, and again I’m emotional, extremely emotional, but whenever I, you know, receive a gig or a booking that I may not necessarily be familiar with the product, I will research the stuff, you know what I mean? If it’s, I don’t know, if it’s a commercial about, I don’t know, airbags, I don’t know, I’m not necessarily, I may not necessarily be, you know, well-versed in airbags.
Anne: An airbag expert?
Kesha: Yeah, I’m not an airbagologist. You know what I mean?
Kesha: I’m totally not, but because I’m fascinated with connecting people, I will, you know, I’ll get on YouTube, and I’ll, you know, I’ll just surf an hour or two about airbags. And here’s the emotion collect — connection. This is how I view something as simple as airbags. Airbags save lives, you know what I’m saying? And awareness of that can save a life — like I’m saying to myself, this commercial that I’m voicing could potentially save a life. That’s where, I don’t know, that’s where I reel in the emotion. And again it may not be some overly dramatic thing. But truly understanding what I’m voicing, oh man, it just propels me into like a different universe, you know. I can get excited about airbags. [laughs]
Anne: And that’s, and that’s awesome. And also you know, if, if it’s an e-learning module, right, you know, you’re teaching, you’re reaching people. And that’s, when I’m behind the mic doing an e-learning module, as boring as that may sound to certain, to maybe some people, it isn’t because I’m being a — I’m a teacher. I’m connecting with my students.
Kesha: Exactly, yes.
Anne: I’m going to be apart of their lives and journey in learning. That to me is what I emotionally — and it’s such an amazing thing what I emotionally bring to the read because that is so, it connects — that’s the connection.
Kesha: It’s fulfilling.
Anne: That’s what people respond to, and so yeah.
Kesha: I really feel like it’s my life work. And again to the listening audience, I, I hope you don’t think that I’m being overdramatic, but this is how much I love voiceover. I love touching people with my voice. And I think I’ve done this [laughs] for a really long time, you know. As, you know, as we enter a new year, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and just looking over my life, right? I turned 50 last year, so you know, I’m just doing all of this, you know, it’s like the years in review. Like when I was a kid [laughs]
Kesha: I used to get in so much trouble because I used to call those party lines. I don’t know if they — you remember the, I think they were like 976 numbers or 1900 numbers that cost like $1.99 per minute.
Anne: Yup. A minute, yeah, a minute!
Kesha: My mother could have murdered me for doing that. But I think as a child, I was just always fascinated with the voice. I used to like take greeting cards and I used to read them to the people on the party — this is a true story. I used to read them to the people on the party line, greeting cards. Like “happy birthday to you, I hope” — you know, people have always been, “oh wow, you just” — right! Yeah!
Anne: So interestingly enough when I was in college, I used to do, back in the day, I call it, I call it my very first voiceover, but I used to have the tape cassette players.
Anne: Panasonic, push play and record at the same time? And I used to record, I used to record for the college for the blind and dyslexic. I would record physics books and calculus books. And I would have to — I can’t even tell you, I’d have to like verbally sound out the problems at the end of the book, and I’d have to like rewind if I made a mistake and record over it. That was my rudimentary entrance into voiceover. [laughs]
Kesha: Right, I’m not even sure if you did that, you know, volunteered to do that intentional — you know, again, there’s got to be a certain fascination that you have with being able to just read and to express. And girl [laughs]
Anne: And I’ll tell you, I think the, I think the challenges, the health challenges that we’ve encountered, and I think anyone who’s encountered something that probably questioned your mortality —
Anne: Even if it doesn’t question your mortality, but you’re afraid that it might, being this pandemic, how do we respond to it? And so for those BOSSes out there listening, you know, if you can, no matter how you’re feeling about the pandemic — some people feel differently if they’re scared, they’re not scared, it’s a thing, it’s not a thing — whatever, maybe you have a chronic illness, whatever it is that you’re feeling, you know, if it’s based in fear, which you know, for me the health scare was based in fear — you know if you can just figure out what it is about voiceover that brings you the joy and what it is that can, you know, help you to, to, to bring joy to others, to bring joy to yourself, to grow your business, take that and really work with it. And use it, use it for that, not just because, “oh, I have a voiceover job and I need to get it done and get paid.” But use it to grow internally, you know, externally —
Anne: — in any way that you possibly can, and to bring love. I think that, for me, when I got to the point where I was scared and I thought, I could die from this, and what do I have left, you know? The material things didn’t matter. Like I had my husband, I had my family, I had people who loved me and cared about me, and I thought, well gosh, that’s what I have. That’s what I can bring to, you know, for the rest of my life, that’s what I can bring. And that translates into bringing, connecting, and bringing, and showing, and being loved, using my voice.
Kesha: Absolutely. Anne, we are so here. [laughs]
Kesha: I totally get it, this is why I love you so much. This connect-ability is just really, really amazing. Yes.
Anne: Well, BOSSes out there, I hope that we’ve maybe helped you in some small way to have a, maybe a different perspective on your voiceover career and your health. It is, for me, it is what it is. I think I remember back in the day, I was like, I was in denial. I was like, “no, I’m healthy. This is not, I do not!” You know, when you said once I finally accepted, I was like, “alright, I guess I have to deal with this now.”
Kesha: Can I just say something really, really quick, because you just made me remember something? It’s a story that I used to tell when I was on the radio, I used to tell my listeners all the time. So you know, you have a car, right, and sometimes the engine light might pop on. That’s an indication that something’s wrong. Like your body will tell you when something is wrong.
Anne: Oh yeah.
Kesha: You know, I was busy during the political season, my voice kind of felt funny, my throat kind of felt tight. I did not wait. And I think cancer told me that you have to pay attention to the warning signs. For the first time I found like a vocal doctor. I didn’t even know they existed. And you know, it was kind of fascinating because I actually got to see my vocal cords, so forth and so on. What I’m trying to say is pay attention to your body, especially if you are a VO BOSS, pay attention like if your voice is feeling kind of funny. Don’t just, you know, swallow Vicks and you know, pay attention! This is your gift. This is your — if it was a car, you wouldn’t ignore, you know, that engine or the oil light.
Anne: Exactly. And it’s not even if your voice feels or your throat sounds — if your body, like your body is the extension of your voice, really. If anything doesn’t feel right, yeah, don’t wait.
Kesha: Don’t ignore it.
Anne: Don’t ignore it. Great advice, Kesha. Don’t ignore it. Go get it checked out. And to the very — to all of you BOSSes, we wish you the very best health. Lots of love and wonderful things that will be happening in this new year. And I would like to give a great, big shout-out to, and a lot of love, to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can connect like Kesha and I, like a BOSS, and find out more at ipdtl.com. You guys have a great week. We love you, and we’ll see you next week. Bye!
>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at voboss.com and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to Coast connectivity via ipDTL.