The voice says a lot about a person – and Lake Bell knows it.
The 43-year-old actress/director launches her new audiobook INNER VOICE: my obsession with the way we sound November 1, an exploration of the social sciences, cultural constructions, mechanics and psychology of human voices.
“I spent the last year writing the script and creating this project based on my true passion, love and obsession for the voice,” Bell told PEOPLE. “I think of it kind of like this extension of my already documented vocal obsessions via In a world…my feature that went to Sundance and put me on the filmmakers map so to speak.”
As in the 2013 film, the upcoming audiobook explores the power of the voice. She says she felt compelled to lead both projects because “the voice is clearly the most underrated and underqualified communication tool in that it’s not valued as much as how we relate to our peers”.
“Usually we rely so much on visual forms of communication or bodily forms of communication as much as on the very sound we make,” she adds. “I think I would just say in a respectful, loving, playful way that our voice carries all of our personal history.”
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Bell explains that everything from “physical appearance to personal stories, traumas, loves, losses and influences” can impact the voice: “It’s your passport to wherever you’ve been.”
INNER VOICE found its footing when Lake spoke with Malcolm Gladwell, co-founder of Pushkin Industriesthe audio company that publishes the book.
“Malcolm Gladwell and I have been friends for a very long time, and he knows that I will not let go of this subject and that there is still a rich landscape of subjects that I needed to explore. And so it is really an exploration of all those things,” Bell says of the creation of the audiobook.
Along with taking listeners on a journey of voice exploration, Bell’s audiobook also includes interactive exercises and games, spoken word poetry, and interviews with iconic voices, including Drew Barrymore, Tracey Ullman, Jeff Goldblum and more.
“It’s a highly kinetic and playful ballad for the ears, because it’s all about what we hear and how we express our ideas through our voice,” says Bell.
Bell’s fascination with the voice is lifelong.
“I think I noticed early on that the voice was my ticket to laughter around the dinner table; that tool, that mechanism for making adults laugh was purely vocal,” Bell recalls. “It was really my entry into storytelling in front of and behind the camera. So voice and voice manipulation and voice acting is really the road map for a lot of storytelling. It’s something that I take with me wherever I go.”
Bell thinks the audiobook has something for everyone. “It really comes from all delicious angles so that as you listen to it you become fully aware of your own voice. The goal is that in the end you can embrace your voice in whatever form and maybe self-loathing will dissipate somewhat.”
“So there are darker times when we talk about trauma and voice loss in relation to your physical experiences of trauma,” she continues, “and then we can also talk to Bugs Bunny’s voice. Even when we let’s talk about serious things, we allow there to be space, love and healing.”
INNER VOICE: my obsession with the way we sound comes out November 1.