9 1/2 Questions: Jordana Klein

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Jordana Klein’s name came up in the Eddie Bower interview and I wanted to waste little time featuring her on the site.  Her work is very solid on its own, NOT just for someone as young as Jordana (in the 18-54 demo?).  You will learn all the details below so I will not waste any more precious internet real estate with superfluous intro typing. First Listen…then read on!

Jordana Klein CHR Demo

Jordana Klein Imaging Voice Reel

Name: Jordana Klein

Location: Toronto, Canada

Age: Somewhere within the 18-54 demo… Eddie Bower actually got my age wrong in his interview but that’s okay. 🙂 I love Eddie!

Years in the biz: 5

Give us a brief history of your career and where you’ve been, along with what led you to Virgin Radio.

 I got the radio bug when I was very young. I started out an ambitious fourteen-year-old with a radio show on her high school’s station (this wasn’t pirate radio – this was a fully licensed radio station that you could find on the dial with a low-watt transmitter).  I studied Radio and Television Arts in university and took on an internship at a radio station called PROUD FM in Toronto after graduating.  Soon after, I assumed the position of Commercial and Imaging Producer for the station.  A couple years later, I landed a production gig at one of the top CHR stations in Canada – Toronto’s 99.9 Virgin Radio.  I’ve always known I wanted to work at a CHR station and Virgin Radio was always one of those larger-than-life major market stations that I aspired to be a part of.

What is your day-to-day job like?  Full-time, part-time, on-air, production?

 Day-to-day… I work full-time in imaging production with Eddie Bower (Short Bus, Power 106, Y107).  Together we write and produce all the imaging heard on Virgin Radio Toronto.  I am also the female voice of the station and of the nationally-syndicated countdown show called The Twenty, along with several other Virgin stations across Canada.  I write, produce, voice and act as traffic coordinator for all imaging.  I also do a bit of production for our sister station, Boom 97.3.

Your voiceover demo is solid.  How much experience do you have in the realm of voiceovers?  Are you focused on imaging only or do you do V/O in other areas?

 Thank you for the compliment on my demo.  My voiceover days began when I would voice spots for PROUD FM.  After that, my ultimate dream was to become an imaging voice.  I mainly do voiceovers for imaging; my role as a producer often lends itself nicely to voicing for imaging, so I like to seize those opportunities.  I’m always open to other areas.  It would be awesome to do narration for audio books or work with advertising agencies.  I think I just found a really great niche with imaging voiceovers, and I really enjoy it.

Let’s talk training, first with audio production – what have been your biggest tools and resources? What has helped you advance and improve most?  What do you do to improve your V/O skills?  Coaching, online resources, instinct?

 One of my biggest tools is Reaper by Cockos for audio editing.  It’s solid.  So user-friendly and so customizable.  I have used Sony Vegas but vastly prefer Reaper.  The time-stretching algorithms are a lot better.  It’s a pretty powerful piece of software.  It’s not just about having the right tools… it’s about being resourceful even when you don’t.  Sometimes you have to get creative to work around obstacles and to solve problems… sometimes that perfect clip or sound effect you’re looking for is on YouTube rather than in your sound effects package.  Sometimes noises and V/Os that are unscripted or accidental end up sounding great when deliberately added to imaging.

In terms of improving my voiceover skills, I try to emulate other voiceover artists I like.  I also took drama courses through high school and I’m sure this helped me know instinctively how to inflect.  Voicing is kind of like acting.  You’re you… but you’re also convincing a listener to feel something and todo something.  To those looking to improve their voiceover skills, I would recommend taking an improv class.

One of my best resources is… my co-worker, Eddie Bower!  He is kind of a production legend.  He is so good at what he does and he makes it look so easy.  So when I have a question or a problem or I want to know how he made something sound a certain way in a promo… I ask him.

To become really good at what you do… it takes a little bit of instinct and a lot of practice.  There’s something in the repetition that does it.  I also loved job shadowing.  It’s fun to watch other producers work.  The best way to improve is to listen to other producers and ask them how they do what they do when you hear something you like.  I try to push myself to do better.  I ask myself: Does this promo really need to be that long?  Does the sound effect I just used really add anything to the promo, or could I take it out?  I also think putting yourself in uncomfortable situations helps you grow.  It only helps add to your level of experience to take on new challenges.

Do you do work on your own, outside of Virgin?  If so, what type and how much?  If not, is that something you want to get into?

 Virgin Toronto keeps my plate pretty full.  I do a bit of production work for Astral, the company that runs Virgin Radio.  I currently voice and produce all imaging for the nationally-syndicated countdown show, The Twenty.  If I take on any new work, I’d like it to be voice-over based.  I love hearing what other producers do with what you give them – hearing their unique take.

 Tech: Tell me a bit about your favorite audio tools – e.g. Daw of choice, Mac/PC, plugs, outboard gear, mics, etc.

 Favourite audio tools… Reaper for Daw, PC, Waves plugins are great… I’m actually not a big tech geek… I just want whatever I use to work.  I’m a creature of habit… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  When I find a system that works, I usually stick to it.

Not including audio, name one piece of software/app you can’t live without. Name one piece of “hardware” (e.g. gizmo, calculator/watch combo, etc.).

 Software I can’t live without… other than audio software… Microsoft Word, I guess.  As for hardware… we have a timer in the studio and sometimes that can be handy, especially when trying to write for time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Where do you see the business in ten years?

 Nothing is outside of the scope of possibility.  I want to think even bigger.  I realized one of my dreams – being an imaging voice and a producer at a top CHR station in a large market.  I really admire imaging producers and voiceover artists like Ann DeWig.  I’d love to have my own voiceover business and would love to work from home!

 I can only assume the business will continue in the direction of being more social media-driven.  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are a huge part of promoting and branding a station… radio stations will have both a local space and a global online identity.

 From your point of view – if radio needs “saving,” as some have said, what should be done to “save” radio?

 There’s no need to get sucked into such a myopic notion about the radio business.  Frankly, I’m tired of the doom and gloom.  Yes, there are fewer people being hired to take on more roles… yes, the wages could be better but at least it’s more fun than being a corporate drone at a job you don’t like. You could make it suck or you could make it awesome… it’s all attitude.

If radio needs to be “saved”, do your part to help save it.  Do the best job you can do… and ask for resources or extra help if that’s what you need. Take some ownership and personal responsibility and you can do great things.  Just because the budget isn’t there, doesn’t mean you can’t still come up with a creative angle and can’t shine.  It’s kind of more fun and challenging that way.  In terms of what programmers / PDs can do… invest in good talent.  Recognize imaging production as an important function to the station just like all the other pieces of the radio puzzle – sales, promotion, programming, etc.  I guess I’m lucky because I am a part of a great team that stands behind those values.  It takes a lot of work but radio should also be fun!  When you’re not having any fun ever, what’s the point of it all?

Is that a Red Bull next to a coffee drink? Do you have a problem you would like to tell us about?

 That’s a really funny observation about the drinks in the photo of my studio.  Good eye!  Yes, that is a Red Bull and no, that’s not a coffee drink; that’s actually an ice water.  It’s from Starbucks.  I have kind of a strange quirk and it’s that I love Starbucks ice water.  It’s triple-filtered so it always tastes great.  I like their cake pops and hot chocolate but I actually don’t drink coffee at all, except for the odd iced coffee drink, once in a blue moon.  I also don’t drink Red Bull.  That’s kind of a prop… it was given to me by one of my greatest mentors… he actually signed it and I don’t have the heart to get rid of it!

Thanks to Jordana! Its great to get different perspectives on the industry and always good to get both the “Young…ish” and “Female” angle when possible.  We have less of both these days.

Remember, if you want to submit your info the offer always stands to get your stuff “In the Studio.”  Just send me Pics of your studio/surroundings, audio and a short bio.

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