• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

From radio host to founder of an academy, Melissa Thom has always worked with the voice. Here she pays tribute to some of the inspirational people whose voices have influenced her.

Image of Melissa Thom

I’ve always worked with the voice in some way. I started in 1997 cutting my teeth in commercial radio.That journey started in Brighton where I was station voice at Surf 107.2, then I moved on to host the breakfast show on Gemini FM for the GWR radio group.

Steve Orchard

Steve Orchard is a very successful leadership coach but, at that time, he was COO at the radio group. In a media world dominated by men, Steve was different and always took the time to listen, respond and advise. 

So many of his one-liners have remained with me over the years and I am glad to say we have kept in touch. He is as interested and kind and generous with his wisdom and time as the very first day I met him. I will always be grateful for his ear and for showing me what strong leadership can look like. 

Gordon Campbell 

I adore Gordon. He was my professor of Renaissance Studies at university and we got on immediately. He is a brilliant conversationalist and a world expert on the King James Bible. 

I have often caught up with him in far-flung places where I was backpacking and he would fly in for some very important conference on Renaissance literature. We would chew the fat over supper. 

Once in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where my digs were disgusting - the bath kept filling up with dirty water through the plughole - I remember being so grateful, after weeks on the road, for a decent dinner in a lovely restaurant with fine conversation. We have remained friends 

Patsy Rodenburg 

I’ve always admired Patsy and have read all her books but I only recently worked with her last year. She is a firecracker of power and wisdom, with very strong opinions and bags of personality - I adored every single second. 

It’s hard not to be inspired by her long career working with the voice. We had some very candid chats and it was a dream to watch her work and explore my own voice in a much deeper way with her.  

Jeanette Winterson

Magic realism was in vogue when I was reading English Literature - I delved right in. Winterson’s work always feels like an old friend. The Passion was one of my favourite books for a very long time. I’ve recently read 12 Bytes - her take on AI - and I loved how she looked at this new technology through the lens of literature. 

She does tend to go off on many tangents, but this is partly why I love her. I read everything she writes. She is my dream dinner party guest, along with everyone else on this list. We’d get up to all sorts of mischief. 

Sheila Chandra 

This woman’s voice is incredible. Growing up with an Indian Mauritian mother, I had Indian music blaring at all times of the day – with the volume turned up LOUD. I discovered Sheila Chandra in my late teens and was just mesmerised by her sound. 

She has such clarity and control with the most exquisite tone. She spanned all genres - pop, jazz, world music - and her Indian chants pick up those traditional songs I heard in my childhood. Many will remember her in the charts with Monsoon’s Ever So Lonely - I listen to this track at least once a week. 

If I could find a singing group that just sang chants and added a few choral numbers, I would be ecstatic. So if anyone in Bristol wants to set up a chanting group à la Chandra, drop me a line.

Melissa Thom is a voice actor and founder of BRAVA - Bristol Academy of Voice Acting. 
 brava.uk.com | melissathom.me

Link to Author(s): 
Melissa Thom headshot