From the recurrent ad spots of major brands like Access Bank PLC to British American Tobacco, the familiar voice of Stephanie Anene with its multi-racial accent profile is recognizable and resilient.
Christened Stephanie Chisom Anene, the 23-year-old undergraduate of Mass Communication has always had certain clearness about the trajectory of her dreams. Barely a month after graduating from secondary school she participated in the MTV base VJ search in 2016, alongside thousands of hopefuls, and emerged a top 10 national finalist.
Her ongoing success in the voice over space is as a result of an enviable penchant for hard work, a deep-seated desire to do more and an inordinate amount of cartoons.
“I trained myself to speak accents like American, British, Black American and Indian while I was much younger and still in junior secondary school, by watching cartoons and British films,” she confided.
“I also watched a lot of cartoons and movies when I was much younger and every time a cartoon ended and an advert played. I used to think to myself ‘why can’t my voice sound like this? Why can’t I do this too?’ then I started practicing. I would mute the audio of the TV and voice it out instead. I always thought Voice Over Artistes are a group of special people and not everyone could be one… and that motivated me.”
Since she moved to Lagos in August 2018, Stephanie Anene has ventured into one opportunity after another in a bid to prove to the world that she has a talent worth considering. A series of successful auditions has trailed her path, like the City FM female OAP search where she was selected as a top 5 contestant and the Inspiration FM Next Radio Superstar, that named her one of 60 golden ticket winners.
Her quick orbit around the audio ecosystem has given her a sense of the challenges in the space and how voice over artists are valued for the most part.
“You see one thing that I’ve observed is that people, especially here in Nigeria, don’t place enough value on Voice Overs Artistes. They think, ‘Oh is it not just talking. Is it not just to read the script out. Anyone can talk’ and because of that they underrate us.”
If I could, I would change that perception. We are not just “talkers” we are interpreters you see. We bring written words to life,” she adds.
Currently a TV presenter at Loveworld Entertainment TV and an On Air Personality at Xclusive gospel online radio, the audio diva has kick-started an ongoing attempt to dominate her space. With a vibrant social media page where she entertains and educates in equal measures, Stephanie Anene seems to have her hands firmly on the steering wheel, making all the right moves.
Her activities on social media pays off whenever she bags a new client off her efforts and that is more times than we care to believe.
“70% of my clients come from my Instagram page because that’s where I upload my works and videos. So I do receive dozens of messages in my Direct Message.”
Stephanie’s story runs like a predictable movie script; with both parents being Voice Over Artists themselves. She champions them as her influences as long as audio and voice over is concerned.
“My parents, Mr. Michael Nath and Cleopatra are both seasoned Voice Over Artistes. I still consider myself a learner when compared to them. My mum worked at 105.5 Cosmo FM in Enugu, Dream 92.5 FM in Enugu and at Minaj as an OAP too while my dad, Mr. Michael Nath worked at Minaj, TVC as an international news reporter and also at Core TV,” she explains.
A 2-time nominee of the Nigerian Kids Choice Awards and a recipient of the TV presenter of the year at the Loveworld Music and Arts Ministry, barely 6 months into her journey as a TV presenter.
Stephanie Anene is quick to point out that she is yet to get any type of formal training in the space and attributes her achievements to the workings of a higher power and consistent hard work.
“I didn’t get any formal training for any of the things I now do professionally: Voice Over, TV presenting or radio presenting, It’s just a God given gift, plus I practiced these things in my alone time back in secondary school.”
Like every other vocation, the voice over space is rife with challenges and pricing is a big part of it.
“The only challenge I’ve experienced is having to accept ‘low prices’ for a voicing project, but that was then, not now.”
Resting on her oars is not a very ‘Stephanie thing to do’; the voice artist is working on a few projects that she prefers to unveil when the time is right.
“I have projects I’m working on at the moment. When it’s ready it’ll be unveiled. But I’m certain my fans would love it.”
Meanwhile, we will take notes as we follow Stephanie Anene’s engaging voice accent lessons on Instagram and watch the audio diva take measured strides that are sure to skyrocket her to the top of her game.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here