Behind the voice of Adam Behr

Listen here, Adam Behr is one of the most awarded, if not the most awarded, voice-over artists in South Africa. Having performed in over one thousand commercials to date, Adam is also responsible for voicing iconic documentaries, animations, movie trailers, in-house brand videos, audiobooks and video games. This living, breathing jukebox works in over 30 accents both locally and internationally, but he’s not just an accent hero. We share some recorded snippets from our interview with Adam to showcase the immense understanding, technique and development that goes into being the best of the best.

Iconic Adam

Before we get started, let’s just clear something up real quick. If you don’t recognise the name Adam Behr, that’s okay because you’re probably still a fan you just don’t know it. Adam’s pipes are responsible for voicing international brands like Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Sony, Shell, Microsoft, Deloitte, Harley-Davidson, X-Box, Land Rover, Kia (international), Nandos (Canada) and South African brands like Lexus, Volkswagen, Panarottis,, King Price, Property 24, Hyundai, Chicken Licken, KFC, Hollard, Sanlam, Momentum, Audi, MTN, Toyota, Stella Artois, Vodacom, and many, many (no seriously, many) more. Crank up the volume and enjoy some of our favourite spots from Adam’s treasure chest.

Uniball ‘Broadway’

Lexus ‘A range of self-charging possibilities’

Fun facts alert! Adam worked with legendary R. Lee Ermey who taught him to sound like Sgt Hartman from ‘Full Metal Jacket’ for the Uniball Drill Sergeant ad. As if that’s not cool enough, Adam studied movie trailer VO (yes, that’s a thing!) with Don Lafontaine. ‘Who is Don Lafontaine’ you ask? Only the original ‘Voice of God’ or ‘movie trailer guy’, now that is cool!

Adam might be an international star, but lucky for us, South Africa is his home. Based in Cape Town Adam joins our virtual interview from his high-tech recording studio which he’s been working from for the better part of his 15 years in the business.

Adam demonstrates some of his different characters, styles and accents to us, and with each transition he puts on a different hat. At first we think ‘How festive, the man loves hats!’, but turns out the hats act as an immediate entry point into a new voice for Adam. It’s like watching Peter Parker become Spiderman but with voices!

Understanding the source of the accent

Adam’s in-depth analysis and behind the scenes work is what sets his voices apart, and ask most who have worked with him, it’s the difference between good and great. His understanding of where specific accents originate from, both geographically and psychologically, are invaluable to informing his choices and finding his character’s intention or point of view in a script. Adam brings, what he calls ‘creative development of a voice or a character’ to each of his recordings or campaigns. He explains that when workshopping his characters, it is his intention to find ‘the real core emotional driver that will determine that character’s point of view or perspective.’ This approach, according to Adam, creates far more authentic 3-dimensional characters for the listener.

Here’s a snippet where Adam talks to us about how he goes about choosing and developing a voice for a character.

*Disclaimer: Adam Behr absolutely does not approve of the sound quality in these clips, but we bribed him with two sun hats and a trilby.

The smallest nuances makes the biggest difference

As versatile as a swiss army knife on speed, Adam does not only house a variety of accents and styles, his more ‘neutral voice’ range is immaculate. From corporate in-house brand videos to selling security systems to a global market – authoritative, reliable, rich, distinctive – give us all the good adjectives!

Here is Adam demonstrating some of those subtle nuances he considers when working on global corporate campaigns.

Campaign voice vs single ad voice – did you know there can be a difference?

The slightest changes in inflection or intention can totally turn any script on its head. This kind of detailed work can be necessary if a campaign has many ads with similar copy or the same tagline.

It’s the subtleties that Adam brings to a script that elevates the work. For instance, one of the many techniques Adam learned while studying with leading Hollywood VO coach Nancy Wolfson, at is ‘Admit vs Sell’. Adam explains, ‘There is a huge difference in the sound of the commercial if we change the intention of the voice from ‘selling the product as the best product on the market’ to ‘admitting that the product is the best product on the market’. It is this and so many more nuances that Adam brings to his work that makes it so textured.

Here’s Adam on how the voice would be different on a single ad spot vs a campaign vs any additions to a campaign.

Although there a very few accents, styles or voices that Adam can’t access at the drop of a hat (literally 😊),  his neutral South African accent is just so lekker.

Our three hour catch up with this incredibly gifted, wickedly funny and highly professional artist very quickly turned into a masterclass on the world of professional voice-overs, and we are the wiser for it. Maybe we’ll come up with a way to share more of what Adam has to teach, until then why not (s)talk some more? Adam Behr on IDIDTHAT and Business Website.

Contact Adam Behr
South Africa:  071 015 6370
Canada +1 (647) 558-6611

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View Adam’s Website

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of IDIDTHAT. Reprints must credit I DID ( as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.

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