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Narrators

Spotlight on popular narrators

Golden Voice Award Audiobook Narrator
JD Jackson

JD Jackson

Listen to JD Jackson read from HEAVEN MY HOME by Attica Locke

"My eyes [are opened] to the skill and insight that go into a voice for young people."

JD Jackson
JD Jackson

 

Talking with JD Jackson

Golden Voices June July Cover

In June 2020, JD was inducted as a Golden Voice, AudioFile's lifetime achievement honor for audiobook narrators.

 How did you get started with narrating?

Around 2003, I was living in NYC, and signed to Atlas Talent Agency, my commercial agents at the time. I was sent to audition for Recorded Books. When I got there, I met with the legendary Claudia Howard, who took me to the booth and had me read for her. Afterward, she basically welcomed me into the fold, and my audiobook career began. She taught me the basics, gave me great advice, and immediately started giving me work.

 What’s your favorite genre to narrate?

I really like doing all genres because they each present unique challenges. But if I had to choose one, it would have to be a well-written first-person urban crime/detective novel. The grittier, the better. I love getting caught up in an inquisitive mind on the hunt for truth. Some of my favorites to record were Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke, What It Was by George Pelecanos, and Cemetery Road by Gar Anthony Haywood.

 How do you approach narrating audiobooks with difficult subject matter?

I try to focus on the language and the imagery as much as possible and not internalize what I’m reading too much. Easier said than done. Sometimes there are moments when I get caught up. In those situations I find it’s best to pause and take a moment to feel whatever emotion has bubbled to the surface, then begin again. I want to be careful that I’m not dictating to the reader what they should feel. I believe my job is to respect the author by telling their story, and not emoting it.

 What has surprised you the most about your work in audiobooks?

I’ve been surprised about a number of things working in audiobooks. That I’ve been able to make a living doing something I love, storytelling, has to be the biggest. That I was able to move my family across the country and still continue working without missing a beat was an amazing surprise. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how kind, helpful, and supportive the audiobook community is to each other.

June/July 2020

Read More

Podcasts

JD's Accolades

Look Both Ways  AudioFile Best of 2019 Children & Family Listening
Heaven, My Home  AudioFile Best of 2019 Mystery & Suspense
Sting Like a Bee  AudioFile Best of 2017 Biography & History
Bluebird, Bluebird  AudioFile Best of 2017 Mystery & Suspense
Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad  AudioFile Best of 2015 History
Crow  AudioFile Best of 2013 Children
Malcom X: By Any Means Necessary  AudioFile Best of 2013 Young Adult
What is Was
  AudioFile Best of 2012 Mystery & Suspense
Cemetery Road
 AudioFile Best of 2012 Mystery & Suspense
Just Another Hero
 AudioFile Best of 2011 Young Adult

Videos

Photo courtesy of the narrator 

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