The power of “YES”

UA Little Rock junior Karly Hutchins stumbled into a career quite by accident, by discovering the power of “Yes.” 

Over the past two years, the Dayton, Texas, native has said “yes” to an assortment of musical and theatrical projects that have landed her consistent work as a voice actress.

She’s voiced ads for Paula Deen’s “Family Kitchen,” Gold’s Gym, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, a Texas adoption service, a retirement center in Canada, political ads, and a children’s app that is played in dentists’ office. She’s also narrated wildlife documentaries and voiced ads for familiar soup and pizza brands.

Her specialities are bright, cheery voices and resonant soothing voices, but she’s just as comfortable speaking in a child’s voice as she is a Russian accent.

“If a client asks me if I can do a particular accent, I say ‘yes.’ And if I’ve never done it before, I figure it out!” she said. “Singing has helped a lot. I’m glad I took all those singing lessons.”

Hutchins, 28, is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication.

“UA Little Rock’s online program has allowed me the freedom to finally pursue a meaningful degree while working on my career,” she said. “The communication coursework has definitely expanded my mind on a subject that I used to think I was an expert in. I have been able to instantly apply much of what I have learned to my daily interactions with people and I have noticed improvement in my conversational skills.”

Before enrolling at UA Little Rock, Hutchins earned an associate degree in music in 2013 from San Jacinto College, a two-year college in Houston.

“Life got in the way, and I wasn’t able to pursue a bachelor’s right away,” she said.

An opportunity to sing with Opera in the Heights in Houston came along, however, and Hutchins said “yes” to see where it would take her.

“I was interested in singing, and opera ended up being the venue that let me express myself,” she said. “I learned about the stage, and I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

After the opera, she moved to Japan to study the language and found work singing Japanese pop, jazz, and traditional Japanese songs at events and festivals.

“It was so different than where I had grown up. I was living for the first time on my own – in Asia,” she recalled. “It was wonderful and terrifying all wrapped up.”

Two years ago, Hutchins moved to Little Rock with her boyfriend Nathan Kirk, who works as an audio engineer. For the past two years, they’ve been running a business from a sound studio built into the closet of their 700-square-foot Little Rock apartment. Nathan produces, and Hutchins is the vocal talent. They worked on their first audio book – the romance novel “Kiss me in the Rain,” by Lindzee Armstrong, which was released this summer on Audible and iTunes.

“When I settled into my career, the first thing I wanted to do was to finally get my bachelor’s degree,” Hutchins said. “I will be the first person in my family to obtain one.”

She enrolled at UA Little Rock in January 2018 and opted to pursue a communications degree rather than continuing on in music.

“I’ve already had some success in music, and I still sing and perform,” she said. “I thought there was more for me to gain by pursuing communication because I deal with clients.”

Because her audition and work schedule is hectic, she opted for online classes.

“UA Little Rock’s online courses have been interesting, fun, and flexible,” she said.

Last semester, Hutchins’ Intro to Communication Research teacher, April Chatham Carpenter, encouraged her to come to the university to give a presentation in person.

“Up until that point, I had decided to be a hermit,” Hutchins said. “I felt so welcome, and it was such a great experience, and I made friends doing that.”

Hutchins is on track to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication in 2019.

“My voice acting is my career. I’ve never felt so comfortable doing something as this,” she said. “I feel like everything has led me to this place. Getting a bachelor’s degree is the cherry on top.”

Photos by Benjamin Krain

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