To determine that Rolle was the actual voice behind Alexa, Stone’s reporting was based on conversations with the professional voiceover community.
On Tuesday, he published an excerpt of his book on Wired’s website:
“Believing that the selection of the right voice for Alexa was critical, [then-Amazon exec Greg] Hart and colleagues spent months reviewing the recordings of various candidates that GM Voices produced for the project, and presented the top picks to Bezos. The Amazon team ranked the best ones, asked for additional samples, and finally made a choice. Bezos signed off on it.”
“Characteristically secretive, Amazon has never revealed the name of the voice artist behind Alexa. I learned her identity after canvasing the professional voice-over community: Boulder, Colorado–based voice actress and singer Nina Rolle. Her professional website contains links to old radio ads for products such as Mott’s Apple Juice and the Volkswagen Passat—and the warm timbre of Alexa’s voice is unmistakable. Rolle said she wasn’t allowed to talk to me when I reached her on the phone in February 2021. When I asked Amazon to speak with her, they declined.”
Stone tweeted the big reveal about Rolle being the voice of Alexa on Tuesday.
Meet Nina Rolle. She is the voice actress behind Alexa. This is one of several secrets Amazon has tried to keep relating to the arduous development of Alexa, as I write about on https://t.co/dI5uehN6Zj on publication day for my new book #AmazonUnbound! https://t.co/RdLWHH0nlA pic.twitter.com/ROJ8riQe6I
— Brad Stone (@BradStone) May 11, 2021
Initially released in 2014, Alexa was first used in the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Amazon Dot, but can now be heard on more than 20,000 devices around the world.
According to her website, Rolle a litany of big-name clients she’s done voiceover work for are listed – including Honda, Chase, Lockheed Martin, Jenny Craig, Turner Classic Movies, and Nationwide. But no Amazon.
But judging from the audio samples featuring Rolle’s calm, warm, and measured voice, Stone’s claims doesn’t seem that far off-base.©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.