GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Chances are you’d recognize Khristine Hvam Kies’ voice before her face.
The professional voiceover artist and Glen Rock mom has recorded hundreds of audiobooks, radio commercials and animated films.
While she’s had the talent since she was a toddler, breaking into the industry took decades.
“When preparation meets opportunity, success is inevitable,” Hvam said, who is opening a voiceover coaching studio in Glen Rock next month, and will bring in talent agents and casting directors regularly to buoy her classes.
“You could sound like velvet and butter but,” she said, “if you get behind the mic and can’t put a sentence together, it doesn’t matter.”
Hvam, formerly of Cliffside Park, has been practicing for as long as she can remember.
At 12, she memorized Whoopi Goldberg’s valley girl routine and recited it at the dinner table.
At 14, she got fired from her job at a grocery store for refusing to break character of a southerner in front of her boss and a customer.
She can put on any accent on the spot, but has yet to master Australian and New Zealand.
Hvam ended up graduating college with a degree in broadcasting, and eventually quit a job in radio to pursue voiceover.
“My favorite part of the day was when someone called and asked me to do a commercial,” she said. “So I became a bartender and was just pounding the pavement until I got the voiceover thing off the ground a few years later.”
Tune into "A Beautiful Friendship" by David Weber, “The Jane Yellowrock Series” by Faith Hunter or “Dreams of Gods and Monsters” by Laini Taylor and it’s Hvam’s voice you’ll hear
Her work on “Frog Music” by Emma Donoghue was by far her toughest nut to crack, as she spent months perfecting the voice of a French woman living in the 1880s. It ended up earning an Earphones Award.
Even more challenging than the accents, though, is balancing her career with motherhood.
“I’m constantly struggling with the idea that I’m a better mom if I’m home,” said Hvam, who can’t help but do all the voices just that more over the top when reading to her kids. She also runs her own business, Hvam Voiceover Coaching.
“I’m ridiculously fortunate that this career allows me to have the best of both worlds. I can be hands on the with the kids and express myself as an artist.
“I may not be be famous in Hollywood but I’m working every day as an actor,” she said. “And that feels amazing.”