Charese Fruge’ Talks To Issa Lopez

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on April 26, 2022 

Issa Lopez is from Puerto Rico but moved with her mother to Colorado when she was about five years old. She always had a love for the microphone and anything that had to do with the arts. “I was always in the choir room or the theater at school…. I was a lot like my father,” she says. “My father was a very successful musician in Puerto Rico, so I was always comfortable with a microphone. I started out as a singer. I used to demo songs for a lot of great artists like Pussycat Dolls, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and many more. I really thought I was gonna end up a singer, but the industry is really rough.”

“Today, I am a bilingual Voiceover Artist, I do a lot of things radio, imaging, television commercials, radio commercials and a lot of IVR.” Says Lopez. “If you don’t know what IVR is–it’s the lady you hear on the phone when you call a lot of businesses like ‘welcome to Target, for the pharmacy press one.’”

“I would’ve never thought that I would end up in radio, but it was a great run, almost 12 years,” she says. “iHeartMedia was really, really good to me. I ended up losing my job though, in 2016, and I decided to go for it. I already had a studio in my house, so I decided to try to live off my savings and try to get my full-time voiceover career going. It’s taken a lot of hard work and it still takes a lot of hard work every single day, but I love what I do, and I love all my clients. Being bilingual has helped me a lot in the voice over world.”

So, Issa’s original singing career path took a different turn than what she expected. “Here’s how I ended up in the radio business,” she explains. “After leaving a record deal that was offered to me that I didn’t think was a good record deal, I decided to step away from music for a while and I became a nanny. The man that I worked for provided glasses for a lot of people who worked at iHeartMedia. He expressed to me that he overheard a couple of program directors talking that iHeartMedia was coming up with a concept to do Bilingual radio and he thought about me right away. So, I went and auditioned for the job, and I got my first morning show!” Says Lopez. “I know, I know that’s not very realistic, but it took a lot of hard work. I stayed with iHeartMedia for almost 12 years I learned a lot from radio.”

Moving further into the voiceover world has been very rewarding for Issa. “First, one of my biggest accomplishments is becoming represented by great agents in New York and Los Angeles. That was very important to me, and I am part of an agency where most of the people that I look up to are also there, says Lopez. “I was also just recently picked by Bad Bunny himself to do his concert tour promos. And I think one of the cutest gigs I ever got was, I did a ‘The More You know’ campaign for NBC. I grew up watching those commercials, so it’s pretty cool that I got to do one myself, my career stays exciting which I’m very grateful for.”

According to Issa, one of her biggest challenges in the voiceover world was landing commercials at first. “When I first left radio, because commercials that you do while you’re on the air are very different from commercials that play on television, like the national ones, they require certain skills,” she says. “And that took me almost a year and a half to do. I had to get the ‘radio’ out of me and that took a lot of practice and a lot of voiceover coaching.”

Obviously, her experience and coaching paid off. “Over the years, my goals have changed. You see, a person may want to do promos, but once you learn what that all entails you may not want to do them anymore. It’s about learning your craft,” says Lopez. “I used to want to move to Los Angeles to be more into the ‘Voiceover World’ but honestly, I like living in Colorado Springs with my husband and my Frenchy, so for now I’m good with where I’m at.”

“As I get older, I just like to chill more, she says. “I love to walk my dog, cook sometimes and just watch television, it took me a long time to learn this, but doing nothing is okay sometimes. Take a break. I’m so hard on myself and I know a lot of us women are.” Issa has found a good balance: “My Frenchy is a trip and makes my day every single day and I also love hanging out with my husband. I live a very peaceful life and I’m very grateful. Also, one of my guilty pleasures, I’m not even into sports, but I truly recommend watching WINNING TIME on HBO. It is so so so so so so good.”

Issa often gives back for the success she’s achieved in the industry with valuable advice for those looking to get into the voiceover business, especially women. “Find out everything that it’s going to take. There’s going to be days where you’re going to doubt yourself, you are going to worry,” she says. “As women we must grow more balls for confrontation because we do not like confrontation. Know yourself and your worth. If something doesn’t feel right in your stomach, don’t do it. If you are trying to work from home, it is really important to create a routine. Make sure you step away from your work, go for a walk, look at the trees, take a moment. A lot of people think that people who work from home work less, but that is not true at all. We work more, at least I do. I’m always thinking about my job and how I can be better,” says Lopez. “And another thing, find yourself a mentor. Who do you look up to? Who do you wanna be more like? Try to reach out to them. No one makes it alone. Even Oprah had mentors. Find yourself one or two. I don’t know what I would have done without my mentors. When I was confused or I didn’t know something, I was able to reach out and ask questions.”

“I used to stress about my job before I built a clientele,” says Lopez. “It took a long time to get to where I’m at now, where I don’t worry about income, but as I told many people that ask me about getting into voiceover, there’s so many things that you have to ask yourself:

Do you read well?

Do you like being by yourself all the time?

How would you perform with eight clients in your ear live?

Are you prepared to wake up every day unemployed? Because as Voiceover Artists, every single day we wake up unemployed until we see what’s going to come our way that day. Not everyone could handle that type of pressure.”

But pressure is Issa’s middle name. Before her voiceover success, she was a professional singer, one of the toughest jobs in entertainment, and once, she won Star Search as a kid. No pressure there!

Follow Issa Lopez on Instagram @issavoice