A New Direction
One odd job has caused a singer to re-calculate her career route
Karen Jacobsen always figured drivers would listen to her voice as they traveled down the road. It’s just that in her dreams she was singing hit songs that were blasting from car radios rather than giving driving instructions over GPS systems.
Still, she’s certainly a hit in this role. “I am told I am the most popular voice. I think it’s because the Australian accent is considered very attractive,” says Jacobsen, aka The GPS Girl. “People definitely develop a relationship with their GPS.”
Australian Karen, as she’s known in GPS circles, can be heard in Garmin, Mio, Navman and TomTom systems worldwide.
Jacobsen was singing and doing voiceover work in New York City when she got the call that literally changed her life’s direction.
“I was asked to go to an audition,” she recalls. “They were looking for a female, Australian voiceover artist who was living in the Northeastern part of the United States.”
Hired on the spot, she went to work recording 50 hours of script, all melded together to tell people around the world which way to turn.
“They didn’t want me working more than four hours a day so my voice wouldn’t sound fatigued,” she says. A weary voice would do nothing for a driver’s spirits in the middle of the night.
“I get a lot of feedback,” Jacobsen says. “I’m told my voice sounds calm and consistent.”
And now her career is taking another turn. She and her husband, Tom Hudak, are developing a television show — Travel the World with The GPS Girl — as well as series of books. “The GPS Girl gives you directions for life, directions for love, directions for pregnancy,” she explains. “Anything you can imagine.”
— Tim Ghianni.