As with Banksy, the identity of those who pronounce Amazon’s Alexa assistant has long remained a mystery. Although Echo owners are familiar to users of over 100 million Alexa devices worldwide, they have not been able to give this iconic voice a name or a face. It’s been like that so far, with a new book claiming to reveal the voice actor’s identity for Alexa.
As The Guardian reports, a new book titled “Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire” may have revealed the identity of the voice behind Alexa.
And it has been claimed that Colorado-based voice actress Nina Rolle provided the voice of Alexa that millions around the world know all too well.
Rolle has done voice-over work for many well-known customers such as Honda, TCM, Absolut and many more.
And she was identified as the voice of Alexa after Brad Stone, author of the new book on Amazon, promoted “the professional voice-over community”.
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Stone said Rolle couldn’t talk about the role when he contacted her in February.
Stone’s book goes on to say that Amazon spent months weighing various candidates for the voice of Alexa before Jeff Bezos himself made the final decision.
It was claimed that the Amazon founder originally wanted dozens of different voices for Alexa, with different voices selected for different tasks.
However, this was deemed impractical as engineers instead found the ideal voice for Amazon’s offering to rival those of Google and Apple.
The book also details stumbling blocks Amazon experienced along the way, with Bezos allegedly once questioning whether the Alexa team could collect enough data to create a compelling voice assistant.
Tests were also conducted covertly in rented homes in a number of U.S. cities where Amazon employees attempted to use speech and language patterns in different environments.
However, this brought its own problems. As Stone writes in an excerpt from the book published by Wired: “The constant flood of random people into houses and apartments repeatedly provoked suspicious neighbors to call the police.
“In one case, a resident of a Boston condominium complex suspected a drug or prostitution ring was next door and called the police who asked to enter. The nervous staff gave them an elusive explanation and tour and closed then hastily. Occasional temporary workers would show up, review the bizarre script and vagueness of the whole affair, and simply refuse to participate. “
If you’re curious to hear more of Rolle’s work and put a face to Alexa’s voice, you can go to her official website by clicking here.
You can also listen to some other roll work on the website to compare and contrast with the voice of your Echo device.