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Tamara Linke’s versatile voice career

Tamara Linke has performance credits in most things voice-related from rock bands to radio announcing, classical to cabaret, as well as TV advertisements, opera and theatre. She has a knack for accents, songwriting and news reader imitations and so a voice over career was inevitable.

Tamara Linke, voice artist | photo by Oliver Toth

For a decade, Tamara has worked in the voice booth with domestic and international clientele. She produces voice tracks from her home studio or steps into another studio now and again for some human contact.

INTERVIEW

As a classically-trained vocalist turned voice actor, singer, and presenter. Describe how you ended up working in these professions?

That’s a bit of a winding road! I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember; performing in choirs and at school. As my singing teacher was classically based, it was a natural progression for me to continue studying voice at the Elder Conservatorium. They were the best yet hardest years of study, and I suffered from major performance anxiety because of it! What I worked out years later, was that producing your own art (in my case cabaret shows and rock bands) gives you so much more creative control, and is such a rewarding process.

Voice acting developed from my love of impersonations (think Sandra Sully), and an opportunity to voice a narration for an online program through the government job I was doing at the time. I didn’t realise until that point, it was actually something you could be paid to do! I fell in love with it, and went on to do a radio course then presented on air with Fresh 92.7. Later I sent my radio demo to Nova 919 and presented there as well. Radio presenting was limiting when it came to creative license, so I packed it in and decided to work for myself as a voice over artist, hustling and freelancing!

Your website boasts a varied portfolio of voice over work, what has been your favourite project to work on and why?

Ooh, I’d have to say I have an equal top two. I did a commercial for Go Daddy (internet provider) which had a well written copy. I had to jump on Skype for a directed session from San Diego which took about four hours to get the perfect take. The result was a lovely piece, and the process with the director was really enjoyable. The second gig was for Xbox. I had to voice about eight different characters with different accents i.e. Swedish, Cockney, Iranian and Spanish. It was another directed session and a great opportunity to act in various roles which you don’t get to do too often with voice over.

You are currently producer/presenter for The Guilt Trip podcast, what inspired this project?

The Guilt Trip is a fairly new project I started at the beginning of this year. I was listening to a few great podcasts at the time, and thought it would be the perfect balance between presenting on radio and being able to do whatever you wanted creatively. On the subject of ‘guilt’, it presents the guests with an opportunity to be vulnerable and open up about their talk topic, which I think is quite relatable to an audience.

You once sang back up for Michael Bublé on his Mr Irresponsible Tour, what was it like to work with him in such a big production?

It was pretty amazing! I don’t think you really appreciate how great a performer is until you are literally next to them on the stage performing. It’s funny I was never really blown away by him until I worked with him; incredibly professional and you knew for him it was just a job, but a job he did extremely well.

I had a lot of respect for him by the end of the show. The touring stage crew and band were the best of the best, so there’s a lot of energy in that room when you’re on that stage and you know what goes into that performance. The buffet food was also a highlight (laughs).

In addition to your voice acting career you have been working on an original comedy musical. Tell us a bit about his project?

A couple of years ago I wrote a script and score for The Hipster, a musical comedy. I’m not exactly sure where it came from as it felt somehow divinely inspired, but I knew I’d have to do something with it. It’s a great opportunity to produce something and collaborate with Adelaide performers and director Catherine Campbell, as I wanted it to showcase what Adelaide has to offer.

The Hipster musical | artwork by Alexandra Bellas

The process thus far has not been without its challenges, but it’s all part of the process of creating something. I do have nights I lie awake thinking about lighting cues and set designs! The plan is to perform a season for the 2020 Adelaide Fringe, and then beyond.

As owner of Soundbowl Productions, do you find it more beneficial to gain work through your own business or by having someone represent you and source work for you, such as an agent?

There’s something to be said for hustling! Marketing yourself is the hardest thing you can do, particularly as a performer, but when you land a client because you put yourself out there it’s always gratifying. I do have an agent for acting work, however I think an agent can only create the opportunities for you; you have to do the promoting and leg work.

As a creative mum and wife to a magician, how do you go balancing your personal and professional life?

Ha! Engineer/magician (interesting combo right?) Having a family does constrain you to a point. I can’t leave for an audition at a moment’s notice anymore, or consider moving interstate for work on a whim. But having kids especially, can inspire the best parts of you, and also give you more impetus to create more. I’ve also let go of most of my hang ups in regards to what people think of what I’m creating which is a welcome relief.

What are some challenges that you’ve faced working in the entertainment industry? And how have you overcome these challenges?

I’ve turned my hand to a lot of weird and wonderful things in this industry. When I was younger I pinned all of my hopes on others providing me with the opportunities. It’s quite excruciating; waiting to see if you made the cut, got the role, were tall enough, pretty enough, the best singer etc etc. But now I know it’s all beyond my control and doesn’t matter either way. If I get the gig then great, if not, I move on to the next opportunity. It’s that old adage; each ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes’. People in the industry can be very ruthless as well, so there’s something to be said for being kind to people in whichever medium you find yourself.

Tamara Linke, songwriter | photo by Ryan Pike

Is there any advice you could give to people who hope to work as voice actors, singers, or presenters?

There’s a lot of work and practise involved as is with everything, however, if you love what you do it’s not too hard to stay motivated. In saying that, you can study and do as many courses as you like, but eventually you have to get yourself out there. Practising on the job is the best learning you can do. Sure you’ll probably get it wrong in the beginning, but it’s a process you have to work through in order to see results.

At the end of the day, no one’s going to find you and your talent whilst you sit at home on the couch; you’re going to have to let people know what you’re capable of. Send out those demos, collaborate, perform as much as you can and network network network!

Thank you so much for your insight.

This article was first published in The Serenade Files Magazine Issue 3 (July – September 2019). Visit the Magazine page to read more features like this.

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