Pop-Culturalist Chats with Kari Wahlgren
Kari Wahlgren has spent years honing her craft and learning her voice, a skill that’s made her one of Hollywood’s lead vocal talents. Her impressive résumé puts us all to shame with over 350 credits. Some of her projects includes The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Bunsen Is a Beast, Rick and Morty, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Pop-Culturalist was lucky enough to chat with her about voice acting, misconceptions, and how she approaches a new character.
P-C: How did you get started in voice acting?
Kari: I was a big fan of cartoons as a kid, and I always had a sense that someone was doing the voices. I told my parents I was going to be the voice of a Disney cartoon one day! I did a lot of theater and singing growing up, and I kept recording my voice on tape and mailing it to anyone who would listen. Eventually I started to book a few things, and the rest is history.
P-C: What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Kari: Get to know your voice. It sounds obvious, but I meet so many people who don’t know what their voices can do or what they’re right for vocally. Getting an idea of what your strengths are is so important. Read out loud every day. Read phone books; read technical manuals; read poetry…often times, we don’t get our scripts in advance, so cold reading is a very important skill.
P-C: What’s the biggest misconception about being a voice actress?
Kari: That it’s just doing a funny voice and it’s easy…it’s fun, definitely, but it takes a lot of talent and stamina. The most talented people I know are voice actors; it’s not just something anyone can do!
P-C: When you’re working on a project, what does a typical day look like?
Kari: There aren’t really “typical” days in voiceover…your schedule changes day to day. But most days, you are recording auditions, doing a lot of driving around to various studios, and recording sessions that last anywhere from ten minutes to four hours.
P-C: How do you create unique voices and personas for each of your characters?
Kari: I think you approach the character first. If you have artwork, it’s a huge help. If it’s based on pre-existing source material, that’s research you can do. You take clues from the script. You use anything available to help you make character choices.
P-C: Of all the characters you’ve played, which has been your favorite and why?
Kari: I can never pick one! I’m having a lot of fun with Amanda on Nickelodeon’s Bunsen is a Beast right now…villains are always really fun to play!
P-C: Have you had any fun interactions with fans recognizing you by your voice?
Kari: Surprisingly, I get recognized more by my face than my voice…the power of social media, I guess!
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Kari: Face Off on the SyFy channel
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Kari: All the Harry Potter films
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Kari: Phantom of the Opera (guilty pleasure!)
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Kari: Marilyn Manson, TONS of 80s’ hair bands!
P-C: Hidden talent?
Photo Credit: Michael Becker