Colin McLean is the voice behind The Healing Voice, a podcast of Meditations, Stories, Poetry, and Healing which has a global reach. Here the Norwich-based voice actor explains how his podcast found its voice, just at the right time
The Healing Voice was born in early 2019, so pre-pandemic. Things started modestly at first. However, with the arrival of restrictions and then lockdown, it rapidly grew, both in terms of content but very much in terms of reach. In my introductory video on the YouTube site, I refer to The Healing Voice as ‘an oasis of calm amidst busy life’.
Little could I have foreseen how ‘busy’ life was to morph into something so very challenging. An oasis, though, it remains.
Stuck at home, listeners around the globe found their way to the poems, stories and meditations and things developed rapidly. The Healing Voice had found its moment, just in time.
Inspiration often comes from unexpected quarters. Opportunities seldom announce themselves in shouty capital letters; we must recognise them.
In April 2019 I was approached, via email, by a lady from Canada. We had never corresponded before. She had apparently come across my voice, in the Guided Meditations section of ‘Brain.fm’ – an online site promoting “Music for the brain to improve focus, meditation and sleep”. Her request was simple, where could she hear more of me reading meditations?
Now, I had never heard of Brain.fm so I was sceptical at first. I duly found the site, searched for ‘Guided Meditations’ and, well, yes, it was undoubtedly my voice taking listeners through their 15-minute paces. I recalled having been hired via a freelance site, several months earlier, to record meditation tracks so I reasoned that here is where they had ended up. Fine. But I had, and still have, no personal credit on brain.fm , so how had my voice been identified? I still don’t know the answer to that. A happy mystery.
Back to my Canadian lady. I hadn’t anywhere else to steer her so we briefly discussed her requirements and what she felt might be of benefit. During exchanges, she explained a bit more about her circumstances and that, in her words entirely, she felt that I had a healing voice.
That’s quite some compliment and quickly turned into a personal challenge. If one person had bothered to track me down, however that had been accomplished, then surely there must be others who also were deriving some benefit. After all, this wasn’t my assertion but hers.
So, the idea was born overnight; I would set up a dedicated YouTube channel and call it, however immodestly, The Healing Voice. I set about recording poems initially and later longer pieces, guided meditations and chapters of a few well-loved books – ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ and ‘The Wind In The Willows’ – characters with whom we can all find solace, regardless of our age. Principally though, the site is populated with short (sub three-minute) pieces, that can be listened to very easily and quickly. Or for as long as one chooses.
Some 30 months, and nearly 5000 downloads, after it all started, I sit in my studio in Norwich, reflecting on the fact that the podcast has regular listeners on every continent, including Africa, South America, Asia, and Australasia. Global reach in two years for something that is, and will remain, a one-man Norfolk-based enterprise.