CUERO — In a tiny closet of an old Cuero home, the voice of Catt Wolf recites lines for commercials advertising all manner of products and locations: the taste of Gentleman Jack whiskey, the serenity of a seaside resort in the ‘Western Canada and the scent of a perfume.
Wolf is a professional voice over artist. Her voice has been featured in commercials, audiobooks, short films, and marching band performances.
Of the 6 million people who auditioned to be the voice of Amazon’s Alexa, Wolf finished in the top 10,000.
Wolf’s adventure in voice acting began in 2015, but her path to the profession began with the voice lessons she received from her mother before enrolling in kindergarten.
Growing up in a family full of artists – his parents were music teachers at Cuero schools – Wolf grew up with Mozart and Glenn Miller.
“I knew I was just a little different from the norm in my family,” Wolf said. “My mother had a beautiful operatic voice. I was a jazz girl who could also sing blues.
During her childhood, Wolf traveled the Crossroads with her talent as a singer.
“I’ve sung in at least half of the churches in Victoria and I’ve also sung in the Miss Cuero pageant,” Wolf said. “I played for the Victoria Civic Chorus all through middle school and high school with my parents.”
Since some of the voiceover training methods overlapped with what Wolf needed for his singing, she felt the new gig was right in his wheelhouse.
“It started as a side hustle,” she said.
To make a living with their voice in the long run, speakers need to acquire perseverance and tenacity, Wolf said. Someone has to “invest a little” time and money to get a foot in the door.
Inside its recording space, Wolf uses a condenser microphone, which is good at picking up only nearby sounds.
“You mute the sound. You make it as quiet as possible and then adjust your microphone setup to give you as clear a recording as possible,” Wolf said.
Voiceover isn’t as easy as it looks, Wolf said, because it forces the person behind the microphone to emphasize the emotions in their speech.
“You get behind the mic and find yourself speaking more clearly, but you lose the sense of conservation,” Wolf said.
For the modern voiceover actor, storytelling is key to captivating an audience, Wolf said. People want to hear from someone they’d like to have a conversation with.
“My dream job would be to narrate one of Discovery Channel’s wonderful documentaries and be like Sir Richard Attenborough,” Wolf said.
Even though his voiceover work has become a full-time job, Wolf still has time to sing. Wolf is part of the duo Catt Moon, which performed Tuesday night at El Paso Tacos & Tequila in downtown Victoria.
Jim Kovacek is the acoustic guitarist for Catt Moon. He said playing retro pop music covers with Wolf at the Mexican restaurant was a fun experience for him.
“Catt is so engaging on stage,” Kovacek said. “She wants everyone in the room to have as much fun as she has.”
Wolf said her voiceover career opened doors for her that also benefited her singing abilities.
“I learned an exponential amount about myself as a creative since I was able to devote more time and energy to it,” Wolf said.
Leo Bertucci is a member of the Report for America body that covers energy and the environment for the Victoria Advocate.