There's Something About Sweetie AudioFile Best of 2019 Young Adult
The Golden House AudioFile Best of 2017 Fiction
Save Me A Seat AudioFile Best of 2016 Children & Family Listening
Nice Dragons Finish Last: Heartstrikers, Book 1 Audie Award 2016
5 Questions with Narrator Vikas Adam
When I see the name of this month’s featured narrator on the cover of an audiobook, I know I’m in for a treat. Vikas Adam infuses his performances with engaging warmth and respectful characterizations, adding drama and/or pitch-perfect humor as required by the story.
Vikas has long and broad experience as a narrator, with hundreds of titles in his audiography. He has performed an impressive range of audiobooks, including classics like A PASSAGE TO INDIA, contemporary political nonfiction like the THE MUELLER REPORT, and the very funny Klawde series for children. I especially like Vikas’s collaborative work on the young adult rom-coms written by Sandhya Menon, in which he voices believable American teenagers, most of whom are sons of Indian immigrants.
Whether you like nonfiction, contemporary fiction, or speculative fiction, you’ll find plenty to choose from when you pick an audiobook read by Vikas Adam. Read on to see how Vikas answered some questions about his life and work and find out more about who he is both in and out of the recording booth.
AudioFile : What is the one thing you wish you knew before you recorded your first book?
Vikas Adam: That in most cases, I will be actor and director and so it’s important to know the world of the book. By knowing the world, that means looking at the writing style and finding how best to interpret it. There’s a certain amount of creative license you may take, but every acting choice you make must still be rooted in connection to the text, the tone, and the story you are telling.
AF: Tell us something surprising about yourself.
VA: I am fascinated with and love Feng Shui and have decorated my house and studio accordingly with touches inspired by the practice; I enjoy continuing to learn in my spare time.
AF: What’s your go-to beverage when recording? How about after recording?
VA: Go-to beverage: Water, coconut water, hot water with lemon; coffee if needed. After recording, a complex and yummy bourbon.
AF: Is it difficult to avoid foreshadowing, especially when recording a book with a twist?
VA: I didn’t see this question coming.
AF: What do you never wear in the recording booth?
VA: The romance fans will appreciate this: When it comes to shopping for new clothes, if there’s a particular flirtation happening between me and an article of casual clothing, my mind inevitably questions whether there would be a future for us in the booth. How vocal is it when I move? If this particular relationship between clothing and model is meant to be symbiotic, then an understanding has to be made that in the booth, I am allowed to be loud and said article of clothing must be silent, especially as I physically move my arms and hands during a powerful scene. Thank God my torrid affair with corduroy was short ’cuz it would have been a painful breakup at this stage in my life.
Thanks so much for answering my questions, Vikas. I love your sense of humor! I hope one day we can talk noisy clothing over a fine bourbon.
For more audiobooks narrated by Vikas Adam, browse our reviews.
CANDACE LEVY | FEBRUARY 24, 2021
Vikas Adam and Josh Hurley, dual narrators of SAVE ME A SEAT, both pursued acting in college and have years of professional experience, but they entered the audiobook world quite differently.
Adam got into narration because of his ability to do an authentic Indian accent. Once he was in the studios, directors saw his talent, and his career broadened. “It’s not about being able to make a bunch of voices,” Adam says. “It’s the acting that’s important.”
Hurley holds AudioFile responsible for his success. He was working at Borders when a customer requested a copy of the magazine. He called Audible to find out about it, talked to a producer, was invited to audition, and has been recording audiobooks for 10 years.
Adam and Hurley have worked together before, but SAVE ME A SEAT is the first audio in which they’ve both had major roles--Hurley plays Joe, and Adam plays Ravi. “The moment I found out Josh was playing Joe I was whooping,” Adam says. Hurley feels similarly. “Vik’s fantastic; though we’ve never gotten to meet, we’ve talked hours on the phone.”
The two were quick to call each other. “Vik and I talked about how we felt about our characters,” Hurley says, “and how we’d make our cadences sound so they weren’t wildly different vocal styles. Vik’s accent is so gorgeous, and I wanted to give some flavor to Joe.”
Both narrators are fans of studio recording in general-- and specifically of Zane Birdwell, who directed them. Hurley felt Zane aided him in “trying different things to work with the subtleties of the characters and not becoming too overt. Given the character Ravi’s very dramatic quality, Vik was going a bit over the top. Joe, on the other hand, is so understated and quiet that I was afraid what I was doing might alienate listeners. Zane brought us to a middle ground where Ravi isn’t too dramatic and Joe isn’t too understated.”
Both Adam and Hurley had an affinity for the characters they played. At 10, Ravi’s exact age, Adam moved to India for a year. He even came back with an accent. “I had an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn who didn’t know what to do with me--she was terrified.” As an adjunct professor at UCLA, Adam also has an understanding of Ravi’s teacher “and her sometimes unstated empathy.”
Hurley felt much like the character Joe when he was a middle schooler. “I was a shy kid, so I felt super excited to give voice to that scary time when everyone was trying so hard to be what they were supposed to be.”
Both narrators juggle audio work with other kinds of acting, but adore doing narrations. Josh, by nature a collaborator, loves that he gets to be with a listener for four to twelve hours and really develop a relationship. “Audio fans are listening to the story, and I get to be part of their experience. Art is most valuable when you get to share it with somebody.” Hurley and Adam’s collaboration definitely makes SAVE ME A SEAT a valuable listening experience.--Susie Wilde[OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016]
© AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
Photo by Mikel Healey
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