Woman’s World

What a job! The Voice You Love to Hate
Marsha Graham actually gets paid for talking on the phone…and talking…and talking!
Woman’s World; June 3, 1997

Her voice is heard by millions every day. She has a publicist. She has her own fan club. And everyone knows at least one of her numbers. She’s Marsha Graham.

Doesn’t ring a bell? You’ve probably heard her as recently as today – on your telephone!

It’s Marsha you hear when you call everyone from your boss to your mom and find they’re “unavailable.”

For six years, Marsha has been the official voice for Octel Communications, the country’s biggest supplier of voice mail.

Some people call her the queen of voice mail, others the voice America loves to hate. But either way, they know her voice.

“I always knew my voice would be my ticket to fame,” says Marsha. “I just didn’t imagine it would be this way.”

Marsha dreamed of a singing career, but after 11 frustrating years, she turned her focus to jingles and voiceovers.

Then, six years ago, she struck gold when she went on an audition for Octel and was chosen from 60 finalists to be the voice of voice mail.

Marsha spent days in the studio, recording such memorable lines as “Your call cannot be connected as dialed,” “To leave a message” and her favorite, “Are you still there?” for the caller slow in selecting from the menu.

Sound like fun? “It is,” says Marsha. She and her family and friends laugh about it all the time.

“I got your voice again today, Mom,” her daughter will tell her.

It’s also hard work. Marsha spends hours recording phrases over and over to capture the right tone. “A mix of professional and warm,” says Marsha. “At the end of the day, I can’t speak a word.”

And talking has always been Marsha’s favorite pastime. Her high school yearbook prophetically noted that Marsha “can usually be found on the phone.”

She still can – on every phone but her own. “It’s ironic,” she chuckles. “But my voice mail system uses another voice.”