How to Change Your Voice
One of the most recurring questions that come up with a simple Google search is how someone can change their voice. But the real question is not how to change your voice. The real question is: can you really change your voice?
And the answer to that is yes.
With practice, some rudimentary exercises, and a lot of dedication, a person can be able to change the way they sound and give the impression of a deeper, higher, raspier, more interesting, or even completely different voice.
You might feel that your current voice is not a clear depiction of who you really are, and you might find yourself in the uncomfortable position of hating it — don’t worry, by the way, many people hate their voices, and we’ll expand on this topic in a minute.
But you need practice, repetition, and your body will eventually get used to using the voice you prefer. However, your voice is part of who you are, and it is determined the exact moment you’re born. There are so many qualities that shape the way you sound, and you need to take all of them into consideration when working towards your new vocal identity.
So, to understand how you can change your voice, we need to understand what makes your voice sound like …you. In other words, let’s talk about what makes your voice unique first so you can be able to change it.
Your voice is much more than a sound that your body produces when you want to communicate. It’s a combination of things that make you sound the way you do, so changing it is much more complicated than someone might think.
Let’s take a look at the five most important factors that, among others, shape the identity of your voice and make you sound like yourself.
If you’re older than 25 years old, chances are your voice sounds a lot like a parent, a sibling, or a relative. Genetics and heredity play an important part in shaping your voice since it’s also part of your anatomy.
Just like with physical features that form a resemblance between you and your relatives, your larynx — the place where your vocal cords are located — is assigned with a specific genetic code that shapes its anatomy and, by turn, your voice.
At birth, some basic characteristics of the voice are formed the moment you’re assigned with a specific biological sex. For example, girls have smaller vocal cords than boys, and lack of testosterone prevents the larynx from getting larger.
At the same time, male vocal cords become tighter as time goes by, which creates an effect of deeper vibration while female vocal cords remain loose, which is why the pitch in a woman’s voice remains higher.
- Body structure
The voice is not a separate function that doesn’t involve your body. Body weight plays an essential part in how a voice sounds, and the hormones and their impact on weight can also affect it. Men with obesity produce an overabundance of estrogen, causing their voices to rise. On the other hand, women with obesity have a surplus of testosterone, which may deepen their voices.
Being overweight may also affect breath control, making the voice sound raspy or breathless. In reverse, being underweight may also affect your voice by reducing your endurance and making your vocal cords more prone to injury.
Height also influences the sound of your voice. Taller people tend to have larger lower airways and lungs, causing them to have deeper voices than shorter people.
- Structural anomalies
Structural anomalies, such as a deviated septum or cleft palate, can affect the way you sound, as can your language, diction, and accent.
Your age, emotional state, overall health, and the cleanliness of the air you breathe can also alter the pitch, timbre, sound, and texture of your voice.
The way you walk, act, or talk is directly determined by your influences and the environment that shapes you as a person. Your pronunciation, the way you position your voice, and your speaking style can easily be affected by factors such as your inner circle, external influences (i.e., celebrities, personalities you look up to, etc.), as well as the place you come from.
Oftentimes, people mention that “Californian talking style,” “the London voice,” “the northern voice,” and more. This is what they mean when they talk about specific ways you talk.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but no. Changing your voice permanently isn’t and will never be an option. You see, your grown-up self is not a process that unfolds as you age. There are traits that hide deep down inside of your DNA.
Your voice characteristics and qualities are among them.
However, if you want to permanently change your voice, you need to consult with a doctor since this can only happen via hormone use or surgery.
But you still can give the impression of a different voice. Vocal exercises and techniques can help you sound like you’ve changed your voice. But if you want to make your voice sound different on the Internet or in the digital life, like in a video, for example, we may have a solution you’ll find interesting:
How to Change Your Voice Easily: Do It with an App to Change Your Voice
Like it or not, technology is the only way to go nowadays.
Recently, we launched Mauvio, a mobile app that helps you achieve professional audio quality in your mobile videos. But it also comes with a bunch of voice changing filters you can play around with. With Mauvio you can, among others, make your voice sound higher, deeper, or even robotic.
See how it works below:
The humans behind the app studied how the human voice works and applied all this knowledge to a smart engine that helps you experiment with your voice.
Download Mauvio from the App Store and give it a try!
However, speaking of the human voice and how it works, before we jump into the exercises to change it, we need to understand how the voice works. Here you go:
Before you change your voice, the very first thing you want to do is figure out how it works exactly. Most people don’t understand that speaking activates multiple areas in your body and is not just an activity that engages just your throat, mouth, or chords.
More specifically, think of speaking as a bus, and it has some specific bus stops that it needs to pass:
Take a deep breath and start speaking. Your voice will sound steady, more powerful, deeper, and sensual. The truth is that your lungs give your voice some extra power and character. It allows you to color your tone, sound more like “the way you want,” and more confident. If you want to put your lungs to test, try talking while holding your breath. It’s almost impossible.
And the larynx comes next, the place where your vocal cords are located. Your vocal cords are basically two pieces of tissue that vibrate when you speak. In addition to that, they also make your voice sound unique because it depends on how loose or tight they are. Last but not least, at the end of the day, it’s your mouth that controls your pronunciation and how you color your voice.
Understanding your voice’s qualities is essential when you want to change it but, at the same time, it is important that you listen to it with no strings attached. To do so, you need to record yourself and listen to how you sound.
But (spoiler alert) you’re going to hate it.
If you’ve ever listened to your voice, the experience might have traumatized you. You thought you sounded a certain way and then, out of the blue, you listen to a voice that has nothing to do with you. It makes sense.
We’ve all been there but allow us to tell you something kind of harsh. This is you. This is 100% your real voice.
A recording of your voice might sound more high-pitched, nasal, and completely different, but there’s a whole science behind this phenomenon and why you hate your voice on video or an audio recording.
You don’t know how you really sound like
Think of your brain as a tricky computer that doesn’t really show the truth all the time. You listen to your voice all day, every day, and you are used to a specific way it sounds. But here’s the thing: You listen to your voice internally.
When people get to listen to you, sound waves generated in your body travel through the air and hit your listeners’ eardrums. When people listen to themselves, they hear their voices from inside their body, bouncing on head bones and generating internal vibrations.
This gives the illusion of a deeper voice that has nothing to do with reality.
Your old habits are dying hard
Getting used to a particular voice effect might not be scientific, but psychological reasons can also apply. Think of it this way. Let’s say your hair is black. You’ve always known how black your hair is, and you felt proud of it because you liked it. But suddenly, one day, someone takes a picture of you, and your hair is all of a sudden light brown. You tell your friends, and they also tell you that your hair has always been light brown. How would you feel?
Weird, right? Of course, because you always thought that black hair represented the real you. This is what happens when you listen to your real voice as well.
Ask a psychologist, and they will tell you that this is what they call the “mere-exposure” effect. You’ve embraced your voice, and you’ve grown to love it, no matter how good or bad you think it is. And when this condition changes, you have to hit hard reset and adore it from scratch.
You feel like a stranger in your body
Your voice is not just part of your identity. It reveals aspects of your personality that people might find attractive or completely repulsive. It’s almost a fact that you don’t really love the way you sound when you listen to your voice. But this shock leads to a bigger surprise that your voice might portray traits that you’re not in love with.
It may sound too ironic, too silly, or maybe much more intimidating than you thought it would. And this is not cool.
How to change your voice: Start with some warm-ups
Practice does make perfect, but you need to invest some time in exercises that will help you not exhaust or even wreck your voice. Your voice is an instrument that you need to take care of if you want to make sure that it keeps operating perfectly.
This is how singers and voice actors keep their vocal system healthy even though they work with it all the time. Starting to experiment with your voice positioning is a process, and you need to engage in it for at least an hour a day. Because your chords need some preparation and those exercises will be more effective because you’ll be able to control your voice more efficiently and make it sound better.
Before we talk about how to change your voice, let’s see how you can warm it up easily at home.
- Start with your body
The first thing you want to do is to monitor how your body performs. Check your breathing to see how much your lungs support your voice or how much air you exhale when speaking.
Take some deep breaths and try to control the air in your body. As you’re exhaling, produce a consistent sound like a simple “ah” or “oh.” This will wake up your breathing system.
- Continue with your vocal cords
This is the heart and the soul of your voice, and the main responsible part of that is making the sound you talk or sing with. The thing is that in contrast to other body parts that help you produce your sound, you can’t touch your vocal cords in order to relax them. However, to feel them operating, you can gently touch your throat and start speaking.
Now try to yawn as you’re touching them. This will help your muscles around your neck and throat relax, and they will prepare your larynx for what is coming — aka, your exercises to change your voice.
- Soften your muscles
You speak, and you learn. And you learn what other areas you engage when speaking. Apart from your vocal cords and voice box, other muscles come in to play as well. Your tongue, face, jaw, soft palate, and neck are a few of them.
Your articulators play an essential part in shaping and coloring your voice. And if you want to change your voice at home, you need to make sure you’re able to control them. And to be able to control them, you need to make sure that you have relaxed them. Makes sense, right?
Awaken those muscles by stretching them. Move your tongue around, stretch your neck a couple of times, open your mouth wide, and feel your whole face relaxing. Once warmed up, tension will go away, and you’ll be ready for the next steps. The steps that you’ve been looking for all along.
To change your voice for a recording or for professional use, you need tools, high-quality microphones, or just a simple voice changing mobile app. But when you want to exercise on how to position your voice the right way, you only need one tool.
Yourself. Ok, and a voice recorder. “How?” you ask? Keep reading to find out. Let’s change your voice without a vocal coach or fancy, expensive, high-end equipment.
- Make a recording
First things first, you need to understand how you sound like. How does your voice sound like to other people? Search a short story or an article on Google and read it out loud. This will enable you to experiment with different talking styles, speaking options, and voice positioning.
Express emotions as you’re reading, color your voice and produce as many sounds as possible. Talk in your newscaster’s voice, your serious voice, your everyday voice, and your phone voice — we all talk differently when speaking on the phone, right?
Then, play your recording.
We know you’re going to hate it, and as stated above, there’s a whole science explaining why this is happening, but this will allow you to keep track of things you love, like, or dislike about your voice.
Keep notes, and you will have a list of things you want to change.
- Speak from different areas
You have a lot of voices. The whole human species does. Typically, there are three types of people: those who talk from the nose, those who talk from the throat, and the few who talk from the diaphragm.
Think of your body like a map. The lower you go, the lower your voice gets. As a result, your voice sounds much deeper when talking from your diaphragm than when talking from the nose. However, you need all of these voices because this will allow you to have a broader range of possibilities.
Close your eyes and visualize your voice moving as you speak. Think of it going higher, and you will instantly notice the pitch changing. Same if you picture it going lower.
Let’s see how you can engage different body areas to change the way you sound:
- To speak from your diaphragm: Touch your abdominal area above your stomach, and take a deep breath. Feel the area filling with air, and pay attention not to puff your chest while inhaling.
- To speak from your throat: Take a deep breath and start talking while pinching your nose. The trick is to speak but not sound like you have a stuffy nose. Keep in mind, though, that you can only do this with vowels. Hold a sustained note while saying “aah,” and you will notice that your voice is coming from your throat.
- To speak from the nose: Now you need to change things a little bit. Take a deep breath from through your mouth, and as you’re speaking, focus on exhaling through your nose and don’t open your mouth wide.
- Imitate someone else’s voice
As we’ve already said, the voice is part of an identity. And as you might remember the color of the hair of a person you admire, you might as well remember their voice. Try to imitate it to see what areas you’re required to use.
But there’s a tiny little secret you need to know. When imitating another person’s voice, go big. Really big. Listen to the voice carefully and try to produce the exact same sound. Mind the pitch, diction, tone, color. Make a complete impression and then slowly start toning it down by incorporating features and characteristics of the voice you like into your actual voice.
- Be theatrical
If you’re wondering how to change your voice, you’re not just wondering how to change the way your voice sounds but also the way you speak. Speaking is a complex process, and it’s not just about the way your voice sounds. It’s also about the way you use your sentences.
So, to change your voice, you need to be more theatrical and add emphasis when you need to tell a story, be kind of silly when you’re telling a joke, or sound deeper (and speak from your diaphragm) when saying something profound.
Listen to TV or radio ads, or even movie trailers, for example. See how the way a voice changes depending on the product or movie that is being advertised. This is what you need to do: act a little bit.
Remember: Changing Your Voice Is Not Just About Your Voice
After all these exercises, the warm-ups, and the technical tips that require you to play around with your voice’s qualities and traits, you have to think of the person responsible for changing your voice. You.
When you’re trying to change the way you normally operate, you need to think of it as a theatrical play. It’s a whole show you’re putting on and some physical performance is always required.
Tilt your head, lower it, bend your neck down, or stand straight. Think of the type of voice you want to produce, and get the attitude. If you’re smiling while speaking, for example, and moving your hands in the air, your voice will sound happier and higher. On the other hand, if you’re standing straight, confident, with your chest puffed out, your voice will sound deeper, more confident, and “serious.”
Use your body. Make it part of the whole experience, and it will make you feel confident and as if you were the actual person whose voice you’re trying to imitate and, eventually, develop.
Conclusion: Before You Learn How to Change Your Voice, Love It First
We can understand. Not everyone’s born with Morgan Freeman’s pitch, and indeed, those cut out to be voice actors or public speakers are quite a few. And, of course, you might want to change your voice so you can feel more confident.
But since it’s a long process, you need to start with loving it first. Love the way you sound because it’s part of who you are. Your voice tells a story, and it’s part of your overall character. People around you love you for your real voice, so why wouldn’t you?
If you love your voice, you will be more likely to start pointing out details that you want to improve. After all, completely changing your voice is physically impossible, so you need to be on good terms with how you already sound and then slowly add attributes that you want.
A simple way to identify how you’d like your voice to sound like is to download Mauvio the mobile app that changes, enhances, and improves your voice at the touch of a button.