This Is The Real Voice Behind Amazon Alexa

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There are millions of Amazon smart speakers sitting in kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms around the world. Each one features Alexa, a cloud-based digital assistant that's able to detect and decipher real human voices and react in kind. Most Amazon users know the digital assistant's name by heart, especially if they own a smart speaker made by the company. What most people don't often consider is the origin of the now-familiar voice behind the technology, one that started with a company in Poland and wound its way to a woman in Boulder, Colorado. 

In 2013, a year before the first line of Echo smart speakers launched, Amazon purchased Ivona Software, a speech synthesizer company based in Poland. The concepts and technology first created by Ivona wound up becoming the foundation for Alexa's voice-activated speech technology. Toni Reid, Vice President of Alexa Experience and Echo Devices at Amazon, was in charge of Alexa's audio team. Tasked with making Alexa sound like a human while being smart, humble, and helpful, Reid and her team needed to find the right voice for the job. 

Nina Rolle is most likely behind Alexa

Like many large corporations, Amazon is secretive about its proprietary technology and has remained tight-lipped about the identity of the voice of Alexa. Despite Amazon's secrecy, an extremely likely candidate source for the voice of Alexa has been revealed by author Brad Stone. According to Wired, Stone's research for his book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire," pointed to Boulder, Colorado, voice actress Nina Rolle

After questioning several people within the "professional voiceover community" and comparing Rolle's previous voiceover work, Stone wrote that he was convinced that Rolle was Alexa. Stone reported that finding the right person for Alexa's voice was critical, and Amazon spent months sifting through auditions until they finally found the right one. Stone even went so far as to say that Jeff Bezos himself signed off on the choice.

Voice actress and singer Nina Rolle's client list includes Turner Classic Movies, Honda, Jenny Craig, and Absolut Vodka. Above you'll see and hear a demo reel for Rolle — sound familiar? Neither Rolle nor Amazon have publicly confirmed — or denied — Stone's statements. As of April 4, 2022, Rolle's website contains no mention of Amazon, and the company does not appear in the scrolling list of clients she's worked for in the past.