where-did-your-voice-come-from Vocal Health

Where Did Your Voice Come From?

Does your voice have interesting qualities linked to where you were raised or those around you?
What does your “sound” sound like?
Regardless of where you were brought up or by whom, we can all hear something in our natural speaking voices that tells us where we’ve come from and can in effect chart the timeline of our vocal heritage.
Where did the sound of your voice come from?
Join the discussion in today’s VOX Daily.

Name That “Sound”

Name That “Sound”

While some people may wonder about where they came from, many voice artists might wonder, “Where did my voice come from?”
Your voice is unique. Just as a finger has its own set of prints exclusive to you, your voice has what is called a voice print.
Although genetics certainly play a role in the timbre or range of a voice, more often than not it’s the people we are surrounded by and places where we live that affect our sound. By virtue of living among other people, we are exposed to diverse vocal traits that present opportunities to develop or mimic people with vocal tendencies or characteristics that differ from our own.


Voice teacher Karyn O’Connor, of SingWise.com, states that vocal timbre refers to the quality or colour of tone being produced by a singer (or voice artist, in our case). Being a voice major myself, I’ve noticed that timbre can be affected by:

  • Physiology
  • Environment
  • Substances

Timbre relates to how you sound in terms of your instrument.


How your voice comes across through the use of language also plays a role. This is apparent in the way people speak where you’re from (regional accents) and manner of voice production and speech. You may even pick things up just by listening to someone on the television, radio or on film!

What Do You Hear In Your Voice?

What shaped your voice and or speech patterns? Can you hear any relatives in there? How about neighbours or broadcast personalities?

Time To Join The Conversation

Would be willing to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation? Perhaps there’s something I’ve missed that you wish to add.
If you feel that your heritage or community shaped the way you sound, let me know by leaving a comment!
Best wishes,

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  • Avatar for Sharon
    December 21, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I notice that the quality of my voice changes with each language that I speak – especially when speaking in Spanish and English since I consider both of them a part of my cultural heritage. French I learned in school so it is mostly influenced by teachers.
    I also hear my mom in the quality of my voice and other do as well. In fact, on the phone, my mom, sister and I are hard to tell apart. Interesting, isn’t it? We can tell each other apart easily, but others have more trouble. Many a friend has called and started a whole personal conversation with my sister thinking it was me. Thank God that my sister stops them asap and lets them know they are speaking to the wrong person. 🙂

  • Avatar for David O
    David O'Sullivan
    December 22, 2011, 10:02 am

    The test puts me tied at Northeast and Inland North. Thing is, I was born and reared in southwest Ireland but I have been living in the Inland North for 25 years. I do have a trace of an accent but more interestingly I have the same timbre my father’s voice had (as do all my siblings). My mother had a strong Northern Ireland accent which I can slide into easily.
    The test places me in the Inland North with equal reaching towards Ireland (via the Northeast). It would be interesting to know how other non-US bred voices score on the test (which is clearly to narrow too take non-US voices into account).

  • Avatar for Howard Ellison
    Howard Ellison
    December 22, 2011, 10:27 am

    This is another very interesting thread, Stephanie. Yes, I was shocked to discover echoes of my late father (very English RP) when a book role called for pomposity and fury! More humane tones emerge if I read my great hero Dylan Thomas, who I first heard articulated by Richard Burton. For that perennial ‘guy next door’ I draw upon my London cockney Uncle Walter: “Gor blimey, oafey – gid upstairs and gedda cuppa tea”. But don’t you folks find that voices spring on you almost by surprise, with no evident source?

  • Avatar for giovanni rassalone
    giovanni rassalone
    December 28, 2011, 10:31 am

    hi stephanie, im giovanni and i have to comment on this topic “where did your voice come from?” my voice is so unique i hear from things from strangers,people i just met to family and long time friends about my voice. my voice is deep tone and raspy and the comments i get from strangers is this my real voice? does it hurt when i talk? do i want a cough drop? family and friends ask when im going get my million dollar golden voice out there? i ve talked like this since puberty and i didnt do anything to make my voice like this and certainly my enviroment had nothing to do with it or regional accents. i wanted to get into voice acting because ive been bitten by the industry bug and got my first gig by accident where someone heard me talking and wanted to hire me for a character they ve been looking someone to voice for along time. so, i guess im one of those rare voices who was just born with his, thank you sincerely, giovanni rassalone

  • Avatar for Maria
    June 26, 2012, 2:06 pm

    I found it interesting when I came to my new school that there are students of many backgrounds – Caucasian, Indian, Asian and others and yet all the guys will have the same kind of deep voice that you sometimes don’t even recognize which one of them is talking! Same as the girls, many groups have such a similar tone of voice which wouldn’t be expected from how different they look…