Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Meet the Voice of Star Ghost

Nintendo Love Affair was able to catch up with Michelle Sundholm, the voice behind Star Ghost. She gives us the inside scoop on what it was like to work for Squarehead Studios.

Michelle Sundholm 
Michelle Sundholm, a singer/songwriter from Portland, Oregon, has been singing professionally for the past twenty years.  Her career has brought her many unique experiences including becoming the voice of Maggie in the recently released Wii U eShop title Star Ghost.  

“Maggie exists as an AI, originally based on the uploaded consciousness of a human.  In Star Ghost she is acting as the interface between the player and the ship.” - Rhys Lewis, creator of Star Ghost.

Check out our review of Star Ghost!

NLA: Why did you get into voice acting?

Michelle: As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for bringing words to life through spoken word and music.  I’ve been singing professionally for over 20 years and have always appreciated what a microphone does for the voice.  It brings out every texture and emotion.  It is the sidekick to the voice, the partner in crime, so to speak.   I’ve done some voiceover work here and there over the past 10 years, but it wasn’t really until September of 2013 that I decided to really go for it and make it my full-time ambition!

NLA: Any inspirational people in your life that have helped to move you forward in the business?

Michelle: Although I’ve always been very comfortable with a microphone, I felt I had so much more I could learn.  I decided to study voice acting from one of the best in the industry, a very good friend of mine, Melissa Disney.  She has voiced The Oscars, The Emmy’s, was the official voice of Snow White and was the first female ever to voice a movie trailer (Gone in 60 Seconds).  I trained with her weekly via Skype for a year and in the meanwhile started to create the Michelle Sundholm Brand.

Michelle with Melissa Disney
NLA: What is some of your most notable or enjoyable work?

Michelle: I’ve had so much fun working with different companies and their producers, writers, and editors.  I’d have to say, I was beyond thrilled when Squarehead hired me to voice Star Ghost.  There has been such great feedback on this game and I’m very proud that I was asked to be involved.

NLA: Any non videogame related work?

Michelle: I also voiced a job for Canon.  I have great respect for their high quality equipment and customer service.  I voice the spot called “Treasure Hunt” for their Canon Selphy Printer.  It’s a very clever way to tell a story. (video starts at 1:19)

Michelle: I’ve had the privilege to work with other high profile companies such as Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Seagate Technologies, IBM, Domino’s Pizza, Mars Inc. and more.

NLA: So how did you come about the Star Ghost job?

Arriving in 3..2..1.
Michelle: Star Ghost game developer, Rhys Lewis with Squarehead, emailed me directly and asked if I’d like to voice his upcoming project.  It took all but a second for me to decide, and the rest is history.  

NLA: Particularly for Star Ghost, what is the recording process like for you?

Star Ghost's Maggie is so encouraging!

Michelle: For most jobs, I record in my vocal booth and I’m my own engineer and editor.  I work from Pro Tools.  However, for recording Star Ghost and other jobs where the client wants to give live direction.  My husband, Steve Sundholm, is a professional record producer and engineer.  He gives great direction and has quite the keen ear for both music and voice over.  It’s always great to have another set of trained ears and perspective.

NLA:  Did you get to meet Rhys and work with him directly?

Michelle:  I didn’t get to work with Rhys face to face, but he gave me sound bite options with artistic direction, which was very helpful in know his vision.  I combined the direction from Rhys and from my husband, and made sure it was to their liking, but also kept the character true to what my voice brings to life.  I think it’s important to always put your stamp on everything you do.  That’s what makes it unique.  With Rhys, we did a few changes back and forth online until it was just right.  Rhys was a great guy to work with.  

NLA:  How have video games been a part of your life?

Michelle:  I love video games!  I enjoy how they take you from one world to the next and the complex challenges of each level.  The epic music and brilliant designs capture my ear and attention.

NLA:  What games do you play?  Are you a proud Wii U owner?

Michelle: Star Ghost of course!  It’s very addicting.  I also really enjoy playing Mario Kart 8.  I grew up playing Pacman, Galaga… all the classics.  I have much respect for the gaming world.  Nintendo was a big part of my childhood and continues to impress.  I really enjoy the concept of the Wii U.  It really brings each game to life in a whole new way.

NLA: Where do you go from here?  

Michelle:  My plan is to always go where my passion, my ambition and my voice lead me.  I go with my gut a lot.  It leads me to great people where I get to work on an amazing game like this!  I feel very blessed.

NLA:  Is there more video game work in your future?

Michelle: I would love to voice more video games.  Challenge accepted to any developers out there who might be looking for a female voice.

The Michelle Sundholm brand.
You can find out more about Michelle Sundholm and or follow her on twitter @msundholm.

No comments:

Post a Comment