The voiceover industry is a $4.4 billion dollar industry and is expected to triple by 2025. Like many other industries the presence of Black talent and Black voices is underrepresented and, in some cases, not represented at all. The House of Genesis – where creation begins with sound – educates, trains, coaches, and casts Black voice talent and audio production professionals. Founded by 14-year-old single Mother turned corporate and entertainment PR professional then media personality, voice actor and entrepreneur, Tashyra Ayers now heads the first Black, female owned voice acting, and audio production company dedicated to introducing, educating, and training the Black community on the power of using their voice for impact and income. The House of Genesis is a resource that provides remote work opportunities, an additional income stream, and virtual courses to individuals. Based in Philadelphia, PA The House of Genesis provides businesses and entrepreneurs with voiceover and custom music production for advertising campaigns, TV and streaming radio commercials, YouTube and podcast intros, audiobook narration and corporate learning materials.
The House of Genesis was founded in July of 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company began by testing its business model with the soft launch of its virtual voiceover classes called Casting the Culture. Casting the Culture educated two groups of aspiring and novice Black voice actors by the Fall of 2020. Some of those students are now active, paid voice actors who can be heard on podcasts, audiobooks, social media ads, and radio commercials.
“The House of Genesis is more than just voiceover, it’s about our identity in our sound,” said Greg Brown, one of the voice actors in ‘the house’.
“The next voice of Siri and Alexa is at The House of Genesis! The next Samuel L. Jackson, Cree Summer, and Bryan J. Howard are in this house!” said Tashyra Ayers, founder of The House of Genesis, voice actor, media personality and serial entrepreneur.
The House of Genesis was able to launch Casting the Culture with help from some of the world’s most talented and award-winning voice actors and industry experts who serve as coaches, instructors, and mentors. The experts include Nakia Dillard actor, casting agent, and owner of Aikan Acts in Philadelphia; the Vocal Expressionist Stephanie of Lagos, Nigeria; Tyrone Ayers, vocal coach, and creative entrepreneur of Bernard Blain Creations; Abim Idowu of Voice of Abim from Lagos, Nigeria; and NAACP Image Award-winner James Lewis of TalkTime VO in Washington, D.C.
In less than a year, The House of Genesis has secured multiple contracts with clients as far as the United Kingdom and domestically in New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. The House of Genesis’ new clientele and partners include Aikan Acts, audio drama podcast, Concrete Growth Project; corporate coach, speaker, and author Carmen Breveeld of The Netherlands, and the New York Academy of Medicine’s Youthworks program. Tashyra and her head of production, Daevon Ayers will take the next year to inform, educate, and train youth in New York about the career opportunities that are in voice acting, production, and the power of using their voice.
When asked her inspiration behind the company, and how she came up with the name, Tashyra said, “In 2017 while new to the voiceover industry, I searched for networks, organizations, and even a marketplace specifically to train Black voice actors. Although there are groups that mention diversity, and even a network that houses an online platform for existing voiceovers, I did not find an organization who specifically trains and educates Black voice talent,” Tashyra said. “That is imperative as we naturally have a unique, identifiable sound that is often imitated throughout mainstream media. I was searching for a resource that could specifically speak to our sound,” Tashyra said.
One day while recording an audiobook at the iHeart Radio studio in Philadelphia, Tashyra told her producer that the two should launch a voice acting and production company that helps train and coach Black voices. “He loved the idea,” Tashyra said, “but ultimately, three years later I would go on to create the source for Black voices on my own and bring my son into yet another business endeavor. Now, it is a family affair that will help our voices and the voices of those ‘in this house’ to remain in the Earth long after we are gone,” Tashyra said. While she studied the voiceover industry, Tashyra produced her own projects as an independent voice actor securing audiobook deals through ACX, an Amazon company. Her published works can be found here and on Audible.com by searching ‘Tashyra Ayers’.
As for the name, The House of Genesis, Tashyra says that she took her time with naming this company – one of many she founded over the years. She began to study the context, presence and anatomy of voice and sound. What Tashyra found was fascinating in that sound is only second in travel speed to light, and travels faster underwater. Her spiritual roots did not fail her as she put prayer and meditation as the requirement when establishing The House of Genesis. Tashyra revisited the book of Genesis – defined as ‘the beginning’ – and was reminded that creation as we know it came to be because of the audible command of God. In other words, creation began with a sound that permeated out of a voice who commanded creation to be, and those creations remain where they are until this day. Therefore, when thinking about the purpose and the timing of life in which this business was forming, the tagline came to mind first followed immediately by the business name. “The House of Genesis – where creation begins with sound – does just that,” Tashyra said. “With our words we create, bring words to life; we dispel myths, defeat dissension, dismantle stereotypes, and erect structures. The voice is a powerful instrument that we must use intentionally and deliberately,” Tashyra concluded.
The House of Genesis plans to present the now and next generation of Black voiceover talent to the world. These voices are vital to a society that capitalizes off the Black culture in style, music, beauty, and yes, our language and sound. “Our voices are prepared for the big screen – for films, movies, plays, multi-media platforms, and more,” Tashyra said.