Dennis Haybert: How He Got His Signature Voice

dennis-haysbert coverActor Dennis Haysbert has made his career playing strong, intriguing characters. He starred as the President Of the United States on 24 and as the head of an elite military special ops unit on The Unit.

The 62-year old actor could have been an athlete but went into acting instead. One of his jobs as he was a struggling actor was as grocery clerk, where, yes, he did the in-store announcements.

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“All my brothers have my father’s voice,” says ­Haysbert, 58, who stars in the upcoming dark comedy The Details. His acting ­experience in high school also helped hone his ­signature sound. “We had this 1,200-seat theater with a 50-foot stage and an orchestra pit, so I had to learn to project.”

dennis haysbertFrom there, Haysbert had to make his voice be heard physically & figuratively, so he began to train his voice. How does someone train their voice? Here’s a the top three key steps:

1. Train your voice just like an athlete: Don’t overuse the voice, get plenty of rest, eat a balanced, healthy diet. Singers are like vocal gymnasts who traverse their artistic range with apparent ease and flexibility. Gymnasts are extremely disciplined people who spend hours perfecting their craft and are much more likely than the general public to sustain an injury. Professional singers carry some of these same risks and must maintain a disciplined practice schedule with intervals of rest and recovery to perform at an optimal level, regardless of genre.

2. Let your voice shine. Attempting to imitate someone else’s voice or singing style can require you to sing or do things outside of your comfortable physiologic range or current vocal skill level. This could result in vocal injury. Find someone’s voice–or better yet, a few people’s voice–you may like and…