An old lady voice impression can be achieved primarily by creating a breathy, shaky voice and speaking at a slower pace without the care in the world of what people think of you. In this article, we’ll review some simple tips and methods you can follow to do the old lady voice which might land you some extra voice acting gigs. Also, you’ll find some useful links to other resources that might help with the voice.
1. Sound Breathy and Raspy
Sounding a bit weak and tired is usually applied in speaking with an old lady’s voice. To achieve this, you have to be able to control the air that comes out while you speak. An exaggerated exhale where you push more air than required will give the breathy voice effect.
In addition, you want to incorporate some raspiness, you can do that by creating the ‘ahhhhh’ sound where your voice is crackling or popping. Combine that with the breathy voice and you have a signature old lady voice.
2. Slow Down when speaking
Most older women are portrayed as mild-mannered and speak slowly. When speaking as an old lady, take time to enunciate each word and exaggerate your pronunciation. Speak as if you’re explaining complicated instructions even though you’re saying someone as simple as how to make microwave popcorn.
Your attitude should be oblivious to whatever is happening around you, spoken with no care of whether someone is listening or not. Take your time while delivering your words.
3. Maintain a shaky voice
A quintessential old lady’s voice is shaky. Your jaw should be unsteady and somewhat shiver to achieve the shaky sound. Imagine being very cold, and your jaw is all over the place. Breath regulation also plays a big part in this technique. Try to open and close your vocal cords to create a shaky sound. Your voice should be inconsistent as if you’re trying to speak but sometimes you lose strength in your voice and it’s hard to express yourself.
4. use a higher pitch voice
When speaking as an old lady, make your pitch higher. Putting your pitch up is vital to sound authentic. The high pitch comes from older women having dry or tired vocal cords. Try to emulate this by manipulating your vocal cords by contracting them.
It also helps to speak from the upper part of your facial mask. Avoid throaty voice, rather focus on speaking from the front part of the mouth or nose.
5. listen to how older women speak
You need to know your subject to portray them well and thoroughly. For researching an old lady’s voice, try to do the following:
- Listen for accents – Older people have different accents compared to most younger generations. Listen to old ladies in movies and choose an accent that is appropriate for you. Practice copying the quirks and nuances and apply them to your voice.
- Hang out with an old lady – Sometimes movies are a bit exaggerated and don’t precisely portray older people with justice. Try hanging out with an older woman to observe how she speaks and moves. Spending time with an old lady will help you create a realistic profile of what an older woman’s voice sounds like.
- Watch videos – If you do not know an older woman who can hang out or speak to, watch actual interviews and authentic videos of older women on the internet.
6. embody the old lady character
Standing still while doing voice acting is quite tricky. Move as if you’re an elder to help put yourself in the mindset of an older woman. You can hunch over, saunter, be shaky, or sit on a rocking chair to embody your role. Completely submerge yourself in character to be convincing.
This will help to set you up in the right mindset and context. Also, your body posture affects how you sound. A hunched back will create constrictions on your airflow, for that reason acting physically even if you’re not being watched will help to nail an old lady voice impression.
7. express yourself from a perspective of an old lady
Your emotions are essential for voice acting. How would an elderly woman react to certain situations? What would they sound like? One of the worst mistakes you can make is being monotonous when the role requires a dynamic range of emotions.
While trying to do an impression of an older lady imagine how they would react to certain situations. For example, an older lady might not be knowledgeable about the current music and if the character you’re portraying is being told about the new album by Billie Eilish, they might sound puzzled as they don’t have a clue of what that is.
Therefore, try to stay in the perspective and context of an older lady to have appropriate reactions, especially in dialogues.
8. Practice and record yourself
Apply all the techniques mentioned above and practice them over and over until you get comfortable and satisfied with your voice. When practicing record yourself once in a while and play it back so that you know how well it sounds.
Practice with different dialogues or monologs so that you become more acquainted with how the voice might sound in different circumstances. For example, an older lady might sound very excited while talking about her grandchildren and not so much when talking about upcoming sports events or the latest smartphone release.
9. Be consistent
You might want to pick one particular voice from a movie or a real-life person when learning to do the old lady impression. You can add some unique twists to the chosen voice but once you settled on it stick to how it sounds throughout your whole gig to stay consistent. It’ll make your performance more believable.
Once you polish the sound, record yourself and listen to these recordings once in a while so that you don’t forget how the character is supposed to be portrayed.