Most people tend to go through phases in their life where their different passions lead them to want to experience many things. When you're in school, maybe you want to be a firefighter or a businessman but as you develop so does your life's purpose. Eric Bell experienced the success of corporate America but had passions that went beyond the boardroom. He began doing voiceover work after losing his voice.
What inspired your decision to enter into the world of voiceover?
My entrance into the world of voiceover was many years in the making. I knew for years that I wanted to do it and I felt I could be successful in it. People had always asked me if I worked in the voiceover industry or if I was on the radio. I would say no, but one day I will be. The inspiration to pursue voiceover came in the form of me completely losing my voice. 3 years ago, I lost my voice for 2 days. I couldn’t talk and I was only able to communicate by writing. I told God, and promised myself, that if I can have my voice back, then I would use my special gift and pursue the voiceover world. That experience woke me up. I realized that my super-power, my voice, could be taken away so quickly and I knew I had to use it for its purpose.
How was your transition from Corporate America to becoming a voiceover artist?
I’m still balancing between corporate and becoming a full-time voiceover artist. I’m still working in senior executive positions for large corporate brands with a focus on education. Voiceover is acting, and like acting, you must always be training, always trying to improve on your craft. It’s continuous and keeps me busy. I’m always looking for the next voiceover opportunity. My projects in 2020 include a national commercial for Stillman College and narrating the trailer for the documentary film, “What About Me.”
You're a father, to a young Black man. How has that experience been in today’s racial climate?
This is the most turbulent racial climate that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. This year has been difficult, to say the least. It’s challenging for me to explain to my son what’s happening when I fully can’t understand it. The countless killings of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, with little to no justice, is more than heartbreaking. There’s no way to explain to my son why young people who look like him continue to be killed by police without any consequence. Today’s racial climate is another reason why the documentary film, “What About Me” is so necessary and timely. Despite the images that mainstream media portrays Black people as “criminals,” we must continue to remind and highlight our greatness and importance. As a father to a Black son, I keep him informed of our history, our greatness and share my experiences of being a Black man in America. I remain encouraged and hopeful that the racial climate will improve for future generations.
How has fatherhood impacted the man you have become?
Becoming a father was the greatest gift I ever received. Fatherhood is everything to me. It’s made me more patient, understanding, and grateful. When my son Justin was born, he became the most important thing in the world to me. I made a promise to him, and to myself, that I would be the best man and example that I could be. Truthfully, Justin is another reason I moved into voiceover work. Just as I encourage him to pursue his dream of playing college and professional basketball, I must lead by example in pursuing mine as well.
What has 2020 taught you about life?
I try my best not to worry about what I cannot control. That’s one of my stress management strategies. It’s hard to do, especially this year, but I try my best. This year has presented so many situations and events that were out of our control. I’ve experienced every possible emotion. With all the ups and downs this year, I’ve tried to remain patient and live in a space of gratitude. That’s my lesson learned. Be patient and grateful for the blessings received.
What is your advice to someone interested in pursuing dreams but don't know the first step?
This was me in 2018. I had known for many years that my voice is special, but I never pursued a career in voiceover. I finally asked myself, “Why wait any longer, and why not me?” I didn’t come up with any good answers. Once I began my voiceover career journey, my life changed for the better. I’m finally doing what I believe I was born to do. My question to someone interested in pursuing their dreams is "Why wait any longer and why not you?” Time waits for no man, as the saying goes. My advice is to take that first step now and see where it leads you. The first step is always the hardest, but at least you’ll be one step closer to your purpose.