How a Dubai-based TV presenter reinvented himself during the Covid-19 pandemic
Joe Mohan, aka VoiceguyJoe, explains how he created opportunities during this peroid
By Michael Gomes
Published: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 8:45 PM
Last updated: Tue 23 Jun 2020, 10:08 PM
When Dubai-based TV presenter, voice-artist and actor, Joe Mohan, aka VoiceguyJoe, had to face professional challenges due to the pandemic, what did he do? He reinvented himself and found ways to beat the situation by making a living from home.
"When the epidemic was at its initial stages, I wasn't expecting it to take such a serious turn. In fact, I was preparing for my gigs which were scheduled for April and Ramadan, but all events came to a standstill," said Joe. However, that didn't dishearten him and he came up with new solutions to keep himself going during the 'stay home' period.
Recording studios in town were shut, but there were clients who wanted voice-over work. So Joe decided to invest in a home recording studio. This turned out to be a blessing for him. Once he started working from home, opportunities started pouring in. Seeing this as a positive way forward, he then looked towards working on other activities like hosting online games such as Housie, Bollywood quizzes and concerts. Since then, Joe has been busy.
Explaining how he came to be known as VoiceguyJoe, he said: "People used to call me the Voiceguy in the industry. Then in 2018, when I wanted to create an online identity, I realised what could a better name than 'VoiceGuyJoe' - after all my voice is my recognition."
Joe said that one vital lesson he learnt during this period is that no matter what, the show must go on. Also, nothing is impossible. "If you have the will and take action promptly, you will create your own path," he said.
In terms of work, the pandemic created fresh opportunities for him. "Usually, my work used to involve 70 per cent live events and 30 per cent voice-overs. But ever since the Covid-19 restrictions began, live events came to a standstill. My distance learning venture took a major hit and my income dropped. Realising this, I turned my focus to voice-over assignments. I then invested in a home recording studio and connected with clients from all over the world and the UAE. To my surprise, opportunities started pouring in. Another good thing was, I able to spend more time with my family."
Talking about the shows he hosted over the last few months, Joe said. "In the past three months, I had to evolve in order to stay connected with my audience, hence I ventured into virtual events. Besides voice-over and dubbing jobs, I hosted a number of online events like Housie Nights, Quiz Nights, eConcerts, Antakshari, etc."
During this time, Joe was also involved in an online Antakshari show for Covid-19 charity. "The online Bollywood Antakshari was organised by Music India Association (Dubai), which is founded by singer Prashanti Chopra. We had more than 100 participants and the proceeds from the event went to Dr SP Balasubrahmanyam (legendary Indian singer) Fans Charitable Foundation for their fight against Covid-19."
Talking about his post-Covid plans, Joe said. "I feel things won't be the same as before - the world around us and our lives will change, especially in the media and entertainment segment. We will have to adapt and evolve. I am exploring new concepts and using digital platforms to create a better and sustainable future in the events industry."
Joe has a reasonably good singing voice and even sang on a local radio programme, when asked how he developed his voice, Joe explained. "I did a bit of Hindustani Classical music training in my younger days, but I didn't pursue it, as I was more focused on becoming a TV host or a voice-over artist. Recently, Suno 1024 gave me an opportunity to come on their show called 'Local Vocal with Jaggu & Tarana', and I had a chance to showcase my vocal talents."
According to Joe, most of a voice-over's talent is acquired through self-learning. "The more we practice, the better we get at perfecting voice-over techniques. There's an abundance of information available online for anyone who wants to become a voice-over artist," he said.
On why he chose voice-over as a career:
"As a child, I have always been fascinated with radio, that's what led me to become a voice-over artist at the age of 15. Initially, there was a lot of struggle. It went on for many months, then I got my first break. I have now done more than 700 voice-overs since I started in 2000. I have enjoyed doing them all, but I would say, the Voice of Bank Nizwa IVR Systems (Oman) and the VOX Cinema ads are the closest to my heart."
On his most memorable shows:
"I have hosted over 500 events, but the most memorable ones I did were The Atif Aslam Concert in Oman in 2011 which had a crowd of over 7,000 people, then the World Education Summit in 2016 in Dubai and more recently, the Miss POLO International Beauty Pageant & Stallion Awards 2019 in Dubai. As a TV presenter my most memorable one was my debut show 'Double Trouble - The Padma Show' which was telecast on ZeeTV Middle East."