A Familiar Voice

Chances are, at some point in your life, you have heard the voice talents of Amie Breedlove.

Perhaps that voice was conveying the latest safety features on a new car. Or pitching the latest wares at Bloomingdales. Or guiding you through an app. Or selling you a sandwich at McDonald’s. 

For the past two decades, Breedlove has leant her voice to some of the most iconic brands and organizations in the world as a voiceover artist. Most notably, Breedlove is the voice behind all Target stores self-checkouts reminding you to “not forget your receipt.”

From Disney to Cadillac, Breedlove has recorded spots for everything from sandwiches to medical equipment, and has appeared on thousands of local, regional and national radio and television commercials, promos, corporate eLearning and training videos, and has even done work on video games and on-hold messages.

“My first paid voiceover was for a local company, Mattress Warehouse,” Breedlove said. “That opportunity came during my time as Production Director at Bristol Broadcasting. One of the guys on our sales team suggested me to their client and it was that year that I started exploring voiceover work.”

From that moment, Breedlove has dedicated her life to studying the latest advancements in the voiceover industry. She consistently works with some of the top voiceover talents and casting directors and has even appeared as a finalist in “That’s Voiceover” for the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences three years in a row.

Like many talents, however, discovering her abilities as a voiceover artist did not happen overnight.

In fact, for Breedlove, it took many years in radio, a passion for music, and a trip through the broadcasting program at Marshall University for her to discover her true passion.

“I had a lot of folks tell me that they loved hearing my soft voice on the radio, but honestly I didn’t even know about voiceover until 1999,” Breedlove said. “The ‘station voice’ for one of the radio stations I worked for was in town during my time as production director, so I bent his ear and he gave me a lot of great advice. I suppose that is when I knew that I should consider voiceover as a career.”

Breedlove, then under her maiden name of Nutter, grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, as an only child. With no siblings to keep her company, she developed a love for music and has, by her own account, accrued a massive collection of records, CDs and cassette tapes – along with her 1979 stereo – that she still possesses today.

That passion for music lead her to want to pursue a music career, but her parents wanted to make sure she had an education first.

“Loving music as much as I did, I wanted to move to Nashville and sing. But my parents said, ‘you’re going to get the best education possible and then decide what you want to do,’” Breedlove said. “Being an only child and being so close to my parents, I didn’t really want to go too far from home. So I chose Marshall. It also helped that my high school senior English teacher, whom I greatly admired, was a Marshall grad.”

During her time at Marshall, Breedlove took full advantage of the opportunities before her. She ran for Student Government. She entered talent competitions with the support of her friends and dorm mates. She enjoyed watching MTV in Holderby Hall during dinner. And she began work at WMUL, Marshall’s award-winning radio station.

“Marshall gave me such a great base for my career,” Breedlove said. “Working at WMUL as a DJ and Blues Producer, I was prepared for the radio career I held for 16 years, as did my TV class, which helped me land a TV internship my senior year with WCHS. Working at WMUL was a part of my major but led to some amazing memories. Plus, I garnered in-depth knowledge and hands-on learning. People like Corley Dennison, my advisor, and Joan Mead, really helped shape my time at Marshall.”

After graduating from Marshall and working as an intern at WCHS, Breedlove went to work at West Virginia Radio Corporation and began her lifelong journey in the voice arts.

“I started out with the newbie hours of overnights and odd hours. Eventually, I landed my own show from 7 p.m. to midnight with a special ‘love songs’ segment on the radio station I grew up with, V100. It was magical,” Breedlove said. “I also had the honor of becoming music director. For six years, beginning in 1999, I worked for Bristol Broadcasting as production director and it was that position that introduced me to voiceover.

“I loved being in the production room voicing, editing and producing commercials much better than being on air.”

Breedlove’s time in radio took her on quite a few adventures, and even a few unexpected places, including a three-year stint in Anchorage, Alaska, working for KBRJ-FM as an on-air talent and production director.

“I had quite an adventure in Alaskan radio,” Breedlove said. “I got to do some live remotes in some pretty chilly weather, like the Iditarod when it was 7 degrees outside. Plus, learning how to warm up the station vehicle before cleaning off all of the snow was an experience itself.”

Those adventures in radio, Breedlove admits, help shape who she is and provided the groundwork for her transition over to her current work in the voiceover industry.

Over the years she has had an opportunity to work with several iconic brands as the official voice of those companies, listing some of her favorites as Cadillac, Gaylord Opryland, Bloomingdales and Disney. But commercials and training videos are not the full extent of her catalog.

Some of the more unique projects she has been a part of include being the voice of “MU-TH-UR 6000” in the Alien: Escape experience at Madame Tussauds in London, voicing a number of video game characters, and providing the voice of Sydney the Scarecrow and other barnyard animals on a children’s educational app.

“I’ve voiced three video games and a children’s app. Animation is not my forte, so I was surprised when the producers picked me for these jobs,” Breedlove said. “On the video game Oil Rush, I play a war-torn navy pilot named Firefly. I remember auditioning for this and giggling because it’s not something I’m used to. I can audition all day with confidence on commercials and corporate videos, but I auditioned for fun with this. It is a great lesson that you should always try.

“Animation is definitely challenging for me, but I plan on getting some coaching in the near future to up my game in this area. Both commercial and animation are 100 percent acting, however with animation, you have to take it over the top and become the character.”

Breedlove’s animated character “FireFly” in the video game Oil Rush

To this day, the number one question she receives from individuals is how one gets into such a unique profession.

“First and foremost, you must have the talent and also be willing to get some coaching. The voice is your instrument, so you must know how to play it, work it properly and keep it healthy,” Breedlove said. “Lots of folks have nice voices, but that’s only one aspect. You have to know how to bring the script alive. After all, it is voice ‘acting.’ Also, since I love to sing, I often compare voiceover to singing a song. You have to have the right rhythm, tone and inflection to make any script complete.”

Aside from her on-air work, Breedlove does some coaching herself and has helped several individuals get into the industry. But, she admits, you must be willing to accept honest critique for your abilities to make it in voice work.

“I always say, start by reading some commercials or animation to your most trusted friends, or anyone who will give you honest, constructive criticism,” Breedlove said. “Basically, have an American Idol voiceover moment for your friends. Tell them to be completely honest and, if they say yes you have what it takes, then my advice would be to grab a voiceover coach to get started. Reach out to a coach in the area that you’re interested in, whether that be commercial, animation or audio books. I typically do a 15-minute chat and give my thoughts on a small voice sample before beginning any coaching.”

Today, Breedlove calls Winter Park, Florida, home, where she lives with her husband, also from Charleston, and their two dogs. While voiceover work has become her career, her passion remains in music and, she admits, she continues to sing as much as possible.

“I still love singing just as much as I did when I was 7-years-old. Karaoke was a hobby before Covid-19,” Breedlove said.

Another new passion in her life is healthy eating, and she hopes to explore becoming a health coach in the future in addition to her full-time voiceover work.

After more than two decades in the voiceover industry, one thing that still surprises her is how many people recognize her voice and, more surprisingly, how much it surprises even herself to hear her voice in public.

“My regular voice and working voice are usually quite different because I’m not ‘on stage.’ When I’m behind the microphone, I’m focused on whatever the script needs,” Breedlove said. “Still, I get texts and messages quite often from friends asking, ‘was that you?’

“Even after 20 years, I still get giddy myself hearing my voice.”