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Vocal Dissonance
"The first rule of thumb for all radio personalities is to look absolutely nothing like how they sound."
Strong Bad, Homestar Runner

While it may be wrong to judge a book by its cover, it's something that happens. You see a person, you expect certain things. This extends even to their voice. If you see a muscular man, you expect a deep macho voice. The Vamp will have a sexy, sultry voice. A child's voice is high pitched. And so on.

This trope is about when those expectations don't match up e.g. when the muscular man has the sultry voice, The Vamp has the childish voice, and the child has the deep voice.

This trope is generally played for comedy, since the idea of a squeaky voice off a big person or vice-versa is generally seen as absurd. For better or for worse, this can sometimes come about by chance, depending on how casting in a voiced work goes. It also can occur because people tend to expect all the inhabitants of a given country to look basically the same, so hearing, say, a British accent and then realizing it's issuing from the mouth of an ethnically Chinese person can be quite a shock.

Cute, but Cacophonic is a subtrope of this, specifically referring to when "an extremely cute and/or tiny animal turns out to have a surprisingly loud cry." Instant Soprano, another subtrope, occurs when the Vocal Dissonance arises in response to a Groin Attack. Not to be confused with Larynx Dissonance, which involves an actor attempting to impersonate their opposite gender, or Lyrical Dissonance, which involves song lyrics.


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  • In a couple of Pepsi commercials, when cute little Hallie Kate Eisenberg asks for a Pepsi and gets a Coca-Cola instead, she breaks out the man's voice.
  • Hilariously used in one of the "La Llama que llama" spots for an Argentinian telecom. The baby of the llama family is about to say his first words and his relatives (parents, older brother, grandfather) are waiting anxiously to hear them... And he speaks in the voice of a grown old man.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Common in One Piece, in particular favoring high pitched voices on unlikely characters.
  • In Trigun, Milly Thompson is a tall, strong woman with incredible strength, yet has a squeaky, childish voice.
  • Played for Laughs (and Up to Eleven) in Excel♥Saga, in a scene where a character is seen for most of the episode in a mask and with a deep male voice, then when the mask is taken off, it is revealed to be a hot blonde woman (an old-timey love interest of Nabeshin). But the thing is, even after the reveal, she continues to talk in that male voice to the end!
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse Elric has a little boy's voice contained in a man-sized suit of armor.
    • At the climax, after absorbing God and the souls of Amestris, Father transforms his body into one that is identical to Ed/young Hohenheim; that is, he turns into a Pretty Boy. When this happens in Brotherhood, he keeps his "old man" voice for some reason. Most likely they were trying to make sure that fans didn't sympathize with him due to being hot.
  • Enryu from the Filler Arc in Bleach is an enormous, extremely strong man who never speaks. When he finally does speak, he has an insanely high, squeaky voice.
    • Luppi, one of the Espada, looks and acts pretty girly...but in the Japanese version he has a deep masculine voice courtesy of Daisuke Kishio.
  • In Ai Kora, the short and petite Kirino Ootori has a husky, womanly (and apparently very sexy) voice.
  • Soul Eater: Excalibur is small lizard/anteater-like creature with the voice of an adult man.
    • And Lord Death's funny high voice fits his funny appearance most of the time. When it doesn't, running away would be a good idea. Presumably if ever his deep, old-school voice matches his appearance during the 'grim times', he will become even more badass.
  • Gaiking's 2005 remake, Gaiking: Legend of Daikuu Maryuu, featured several counts of this trope in the epilogue.
  • Dragon Ball: Goku. A massive muscleman who can destroy planets with his bare hands and routinely fights for the safety of the universe retains the same innocent voice full of wonderment he had as a child. Justified in that the Japanese audiences loved Masako Nozawa's performance so much, they refused to accept the idea of having her replaced as Goku grew up.
    • Averted in any English dub of Dragon Ball Z, where the grown up Goku sounds manly all right but he still acts like a child.
      • Also averted in the Latin-American dub, where child!Goku is voiced by a female and teen/adult!Goku by a male. Said male (Mario Castaneda) sounds like a playful young man most of the time, until it's time to get serious and he goes borderline Badass Baritone.
      • Also averted in the Brazilian dub. The same happens, with only the fact that the voice actress sucks.
  • Digimon Tamers was the first Digimon series where all the Mons (save Beelzemon because Evil Is Cool) keep the same voice from one form to the next, resulting in a Knight In Shining Armour, a Humongous Mecha, and a Miko sounding like a Ridiculously Cute Critter or the preteens they've merged with. Though since Renamon always had a rather adultish voice and Cyberdramon was already at the Ultimate level, it only affected Guilmon and Terriermon, and all the voices still fit their characterization.
    • It's really bad in their debut appearances, when the Fusion Dance characters really aren't portrayed with the same characterization as their components. Day-one Gallantmon's bombastic speeches set new world records for Narm when coming from a child and his even-more-childlike dragon partner.
    • Even outside Tamers, there's Silphymon. When it's Fusion Dance time, the resulting form sounds like the unchanged voices of the component 'mons talking at once. This rule was followed even with Gatomon, a Rookie-sized Champion with the expected childlike voice in the dub. It sounded all kinds of wrong alongside the deep, gruff voice of Aquilamon.
    • All Digimon series did this originally in the Japanese version, albeit inconsistently (not all Digimon did this) and with subtle variations for the upper forms; it's arguably inverted in the case of Tailmon, who (like Renamon, and unlike her American version Gatomon) had a very mature voice in her base Adult form (which is still a Ridiculously Cute Critter) which doesn't change at all when evolving to Angewomon.
    • In Digimon Frontier, we get it with Lucemon, to work against the character in one form and for him in another. Lucemon is voiced by Mona Marshall (aka Izzy, Terriermon) in her Izzy voice but with more evil. It works when he looks like a child. But then he gets a more adult form... and still sounds like a ten-year-old. Somehow even blowing up moons doesn't make it possible to take him seriously with that voice. Then he gets a monstrous form... and his voice becomes that of a Creepy Child. It was actually quite effective.
      • Partially averted in the Japanese version, where Lucemon's more adult form is voiced by none other then Ryūsei Nakao. Nakao also provided the growls for his ultimate monstrous form, but child!Lucemon's seiyuu Kumiko Nishihara returned to do his larvae form inside it.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, Shoutmon's fused forms retain the base form's childlike voice in both Japanese and English.
  • In Samurai 7, while the Bandits and Guardians have disconcerting appearances, both groups have urbane voices and somewhat aristocratic speech patterns.
  • In Anpanman, one of the shortest characters in the series, Mushibakinman, has a deep and demonic voice.
  • Vasilisa, a minor character in A Certain Magical Index sounds like a little girl when she casts her spells, which are based on a folktale involving a girl with an Evil Stepmother.
  • In the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Mad Dog, who is a muscular man, has a squeaky voice likely inspired by Mike Tyson.
  • Chloe from Noir has extremely sharp features and demeanour, and you'd expect her voice to be cold, with some sinister edge. Instead her voice is extremely soft, and she sounds almost like a little girl in a young woman's body. This heavily underlines her personality as a ruthless assassin who is extremely sheltered in every aspect of life outside her work.
  • When Toriko meets the legendary blade sharpener Melk I, he's shocked to see that this giant, hulking mass of muscles...has such a soft voice that unless he has a special rock that amplifies sound, it's impossible to hear him talk.
  • The Beyblade dub has chirpy, blond, often Cat Smile Max Tate, due to his VA undergoing Vocal Evolution. From V-Force onwards he's got one of the deepest voices of the five main characters.
  • Anthy from Revolutionary Girl Utena is voiced in the Japanese version by Yuriko Fuchizaki, who's more or less speaking with her natural voice, and thus sounds noticeably older than many members of the mostly high school cast, especially opposite Tomoko Kawakami's performance as the titular Utena, who sounds convincingly 14. This being Utena, this was most likely done to highlight the fact that Anthy is in fact way older than her appearance suggests and has a lot more to her than meets the eye.
    • A similar effect is done in the Latin-American dub, where "Angie" is voiced by Rocío Prado aka Kodachi Kuno.
  • Even before getting a voice actor, Ichiya Vandalay Kotobuki of Fairy Tail is introduced via his silky smooth voice that would make any woman swoon... Then he appears in person and is shown to be the defining example of Gonk in the series. Then he appears in the anime, and who's cast to play him? Show Hayaminote  in Japanese, and Chris Guerreronote  in English.
    • Later comes Panther Lily. When first introduced in Edolas, he is a large, imposing feline figure with a deep, gruff voice to match. Then he gets sent to Earth-land and gains a Sleep Mode Size no bigger or more adorable than Happy and Carla, yet his voice sounds exactly the same.
  • Japan of Axis Powers Hetalia is the shortest and slimmest of the main 8 characters and has a very youthful appearance, but his voice is rather deep and mature, reflecting his business-like nature and very old age. Russia the Psychopathic Manchild is sort of the opposite; he's by far the largest of them yet has a high, childish voice, but he also looks cutesy. However, his signature kolkolkolkol... and a few other lines suggest that he does the voice on purpose and his real voice is rather deep, or at least that he has a ton of range.
    • It should be noticed that Japan was originally given a rather light voice in the CD dramas, but later Hiroki Takahashi resorted to using a deeper tone. Heck, his first seiyuu ever (in the Flower of Iris CD) was a lady.
  • Chiyo's father (maybe) in Azumanga Daioh looks like a cute cat plushie, but speaks with the booming dramatic voice of Norio Wakamoto. Also applies to the English dub, where he sounds like a suave adult man.
  • Rosario + Vampire has Inner Moka, whose deep voice contrasts Outer Moka's high-pitched voice (in Japanese, both modes are played by Nana Mizuki). Tven for Evil Sounds Deep, Moka's voice is incredibly so for a teenage girl. It takes Up to Eleven when a flashback reveals that Moka had already a deep voice when she was nine years old. There was a childish undertone in her voice, but it was still too deep. Averted in the dub, where Moka has separate actresses for each mode.
  • In Naruto, Gaara sounds like a big, hulking 36-year-old biker dude. In actuality, he's a tiny 12-year-old boy.
  • In the English-language dubs of Steel Angel Kurumi and Kino's Journey, the titular characters are voiced by the same actress. The former contains Kurumi doing a lot of high pitched Squee while in the latter Kino sounds like a very calm young man. The latter is close to her natural voice.
  • Many English voices for various Anime/Pokemon sound completely unfitting for them - examples include Scolipede (an eight foot long giant centipede) having a high-pitched voice, Leavanny sounding like someone going through puberty (complete with sudden voice break in the middle of speaking) and one Genesect (a four foot tall cybernetic insect with red eyes and a pernament Slasher Smile on its face) making garbled Dalek-Gremlin noises for its voice, yet telepathically speaking English... sounding like Fluttershy while doing so.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Kojima sounds very girlish despite being a studious young man.
  • In Kill la Kill Nonon Jakazure has a voice that is an interesting mix of rasp, growl, and squeak.

    Comic Books 
  • One Gotlib strip that deconstructs the Western genre shows who provides the translated voices of the rugged cowboy, demure schoolteacher and stoic Indian: a weedy accountant-looking guy, a heavyset older woman towering above the other voice actors, and a Chinese midget with huge glasses and teeth respectively.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Finding Nemo, during the montage of Marlin's story being passed along, one scene shows a small fish telling the story to a larger fish. The small fish has a deep, booming voice, while the big fish has a high, squeaky voice. And the squeaky big fish's phrase is: "Golly, that's amazing!"
  • When Alpha is first seen in Up, he has a high-pitched voice because his voice collar is malfunctioning. When the collar is fixed later, Alpha has a voice much more appropriate to his appearance, causing Russell to comment he liked the old voice better. In the climax, Dug inadvertently causes it to break again.
  • In the original version of The Princess and the Frog, the hyperactive Charlotte has a mostly squeaky voice that drops when whenever she gets too excited or is trying to be seductive. The French dub version of her, however, has probably been eating cigarettes her entire life.
  • One of the gags in Bebe's Kids is that the baby is voiced by Tone Loc. He's famous for his deeeeeeep voice.
  • Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda is a ripped anthro snow leopard who has just finished tearing apart a prison... and then speaks in a smooth British accent.
  • During the Big Lipped Alligator Moment from Tom and Jerry: The Movie, the smallest alley cat that pesters the titular cat-and-mouse duo actually speaks in a low, gruff voice; while the largest alley cat actually speaks in a high, squeaky voice. This is apparently more obvious in the French-Canadian dub in which the large alley cat is actually voiced by a woman.
  • One of the racers in Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry is Gorthan, Destroyer of Light, a Tin Tyrant with Tom Kenny's high voice.
  • The joke was in the original cut of The Thief and the Cobbler that one did not expect the small, scrawny, shy Tack to have such a deep voice (provided by Sean Connery for one line at the end); however, the voices given to him by Matthew Broderick and Steve Lively match his appearance in the bowdlerised versions.
  • In Chuck Jones' The Phantom Tollbooth The Runt at the End of King Azaz's royal palace guards has the deepest voice.
  • Yellow Submarine: As the sub ventures through the Sea of Time, the Beatles regress to childhood and Old Fred to young adulthood. The Beatles' voices (Paul Angelis, Geoffrey Hughes, John Clive) as children are still the same as their adult voices, and Old Fred's (Lance Percival) didn't change either.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, Chris Pine (age 32) voices Jack Frost (who appears to be about 14) with his normal voice. This comes as quite the shock, but is actually an indicator that Jack is far older than he looks.
  • Sgt. Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph appears to be a beautiful young woman somewhere in her 20's or 30's but she has the gruff voice of Jane Lynch. Fix it Felix Jr has a very high pitched voice and the Sugar Rush racers sound like teenagers instead of kids.
  • In Batman Gotham Knight in the segment "Field Test", Kevin Conroy's deep voice doesn't really fit this Bruce Wayne's effeminate appearance.
  • Scamp from the Lady and the Tramp sequel is a young looking puppy who sounds more like a 15 or 16 year old. His sisters sound noticeably more appropriate than him.
  • Mei from the One Stormy Night movie has the type of deep voice you'd expect for an adult male.. The problem is he's a cute, androgynous goat.
  • In the animated version of "The Cat in the Hat" one of the Cat's little helpers Thing One had the deep bass voice of Thurl Ravenscroft, probably best known for voicing Tony the Tiger in Frosted Flakes commercials.
  • Chicken Little looks like he should sound like a little kid, so it's a bit jarring to hear him with the voice of Zach Braff.
  • The Lorax has a main character who is twelve years old, but voiced by Zac Efron, who makes him sound like he's at least in his mid-twenties.

     Film — Live Action 
  • Marilyn Monroe didn't invent the gimmick of The Vamp having a childish voice, but she certainly popularized it. Six decades later, the stock character of the blonde with a "breathy little-girl voice" has actually become a bit of a cliché.
  • Singin' in the Rain uses this as a main plot point, since none of the audience expects the beautiful silent film actress to have such a razorblades-on-pianowire voice.
  • This was done to comedic effect in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the opening cartoon short, Baby Herman sounds like a real baby, but when the cartoon ends and the movie cuts to the "real" world, we find out that Herman's real voice is rough and gravelly.
  • Suburban Commando has two badass bounty hunters from space (one of whom is played by Mark Callaway) who never talk. During their fight with Shep, it's revealed that this is because they sound like they're on helium.
  • Brief gag from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, with a showgirl and stormtrooper who stop to give directions in the movie lot.
    • And then there's Pee Wee himself (the gag is that the studio found his regular voice too grating and decided to dub over it):
      Pee-Wee: (incredibly deep, fake voice) Paging Mr. Herman. Mr. Herman you have a telephone call at the front desk.
  • Inverted with classic Hollywood actor Cesar Romero. He was a native of Cuba and looked it, but by the time he broke into movies he had moderated his Latino accent a great deal. Because, however, he gained his greatest fame playing Latin Lover characters, film directors made him affect a relatively low-pitched, "foreign" voice to lend his characters some necessary sex appeal. In some of his earliest roles, though, he has a perfectly ordinary, midrange Anglo-American accent, and his natural laugh was a high-pitched, effeminate giggle - something he famously incorporated into his role as The Joker in the 1960s Batman series.
  • Sri Sumbaji, the Indian pirate lordin Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is silent for most of the discussion, with his aides speaking on his behalf. This becomes apparent when he finally talks: he has a high-pitched, squeaky voice.
  • In a Deleted Scene from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing an army sergeant voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, narrates a promotional video for SkyNet's new line of battle robots. One of the execs says he doesn't like the voice, so another exec, played by Jack Noseworthy with Arnold's voice, says, "We can fix it."
  • Godzilla. Yeah, a Kaiju big enough to tear down all of Japan has a cry like an air raid siren on helium...??
  • In Wayne's World 2, Wayne and Garth enjoy listening to a radio show hosted by Handsome Dan, who they imagine as a cool babe-magnet of a man. When they finally meet him, it's Harry Shearer.
    • The joke doesn't work that well today, now that Harry Shearer's voice and visage have both become much more recognized.
    • They also play the reverse joke: The same radio show features a soundbite of a guy screaming loudly. When they meet him, it's Ted McGinley.
    • Speaking of Harry Shearer: in A Mighty Wind, he plays the bass (both the bass fiddle and the vocal bass) in The Folksmen. However, at the end,he decides he'd be happier as a woman, and they're shown doing their signature song "Old Joe's Place" with him in a dress. When it comes time for his solo, he goes ahead and does it in his signature bass style, then does a girlish laugh and flirtatious hand wave gesture.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island captain Kermit Smollett does a roll call of his new crew, ending with a pirate "Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien". What he gets is a beautiful corset-clad lady who croaks a deep, manly "Aye". Cue Beat with Jaw Drop from the cast.
  • In the Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups, his character's wife and the wives of his friends start flirting with a tall handsome muscular man, only when he starts talking to them he speaks in a high squeaky voice.
  • A running gag in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother has what sounds like a woman knocking on the door to Sigerson's office and calling him, and when he tells "her" to come in, it turns out to be his manservant Hunkston.
  • Froggie in The Little Rascals shorts.
  • In the 1967 Doctor Dolittle movie, the heroes arrive on Sea-Star Island and are greeted by the stereotypical grass-skirt-wearing, bone-through-the-nose style "natives" ... who speak in perfect BBC English accents.
  • Before Lee Tamahori became a (more or less) mainstream Hollywood director, he specialized in cinema verité in his native New Zealand, particularly with the 1994 melodrama Once Were Warriors. If you are completely unfamiliar with Maoris in modern-day New Zealand, watching this film will probably be quite a shock. You'll be introduced to a poor family of former Maori tribe members now living in an urban housing project, with dark brown skin and looking vaguely Mexican or Puerto Rican to American audiences - and then they start speaking, and it's the typical New Zealand accent, which sounds not unlike Cockney British to most Americans. (And yes, that is the actor who played Boba Fett's father as the head of the family.)
  • In the obscure 1987 comedy-adventure Jane and the Lost City (based on the notorious Jane comic strip of the World War II era), the main characters are in Africa and encounter the queen of a jungle tribe who at first doesn't say anything. When she does start speaking, she turns out to have an "educated" British accent.
  • The 1933 political thriller Gabriel Over the White House has as one of its minor villains a gangster named Nick Diamond, who fancies himself an Al Capone-style "tough guy." So it's pretty surprising when we hear him speak and learn that he still has some unidentifiable Southern/Eastern European accent from his native country. Another character subtly lampshades this, noting how far Diamond has traveled from his roots. (Truth in Television, as quite a few Prohibition-era gangsters were European-born.)
  • Played with in Police Academy, when the timid, tiny-voiced female police recruit lets loose with an uncharacteristic bellow of "Don't move, dirtbag!" when she actually makes an arrest.
  • Subverted in Austin Powers in Goldmember, when a man at Studio 69 appears to address Austin in a sexy black woman's voice. Then it's revealed that an actual sexy female African-American spy is sitting directly behind the man, using him like a ventriloquist's dummy to deflect attention from their conversation.
    • The Spy Who Shagged Me has Mini Me sporting a bass singing voice.
  • Played with in Spaceballs, when Lone Star and Barf are looking for Vespa; they hear a very deep voice singing "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Been Through"... and it's coming from her. "Whaddya know - she's a bass."
  • Cats & Dogs has The Russian, a little Russian Blue kitten that spends the first few minutes being absolutely adorable. Then the owner walks away and it begins to speak with a thick Russian accent. The next few minutes plays like a James Bond movie.
  • Bernard, the bull, from Where the Wild Things Are, is one of the largest, most intimidating, and by far the most reserved Wild Thing on the island, to the point of never speaking at all. Everyone else avoids interacting with him as much as possible. When he finally talks (and speaks the only two lines he has in the whole movie), he sounds like a timid, soft-spoken young boy.
  • The movie Pitch Perfect actually uses this as a plot point. After Chloe has her vocal nodules removed, she can no longer sing above a G sharp, which drastically limits her solos as a soprano. However, after Aubry and Becca make amends, and all the girls go in for their hands-in battle cry, they discover that with her "messed up vocal cords", Chloe is capable of singing bass. This revelation, in conjunction with Becca's coordination of the group, earns them the championship win. Bear in mind, this is Brittany Snow that the jarringly deep, masculine singing voice is supposed to be coming out of. This is also a Brick Joke in hindsight because at the beginning of the movie, the male commentator for the competition makes the misogynistic comment that because all-girl a capella groups don't have bass singers, they can't reasonably compete with all-boy or mixed-gender groups because their harmony will never be well-rounded enough without a bass.
  • The main character in Cannibal is The Bear. The few times he speaks, it's with an oddly girly voice.
  • In Stir Crazy the intimidating mountain of a prisoner everyone craps their pants at the mere sight of turns out to be a singer with a high tenor voice.

  • Nunzio, from M.Y.T.H. Inc. is known to have this issue.
  • The radio soap actors in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter are described as quite unattractive with very wonderful voices. The author even says explicitly that many men would get Blue with Shock if they realized that the very sweet, silky voice of the soap heroines comes from an old, fat, badly dressed and worse groomed lady. The titular scriptwriter is also a radio actor: he is short and thin, but with a powerful voice and such a big charisma he gets a lot of admirers even with his poor looks, at least until the burnout begins to hit him hard...
  • In the first scene of A Mighty Fortress, the fourth book of the Safehold series, male Merlin speaks to Sharleyan using the voice of Nimue Alban.
  • Harry Potter has this reaction the first time he hears Dolores Umbridge speak in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She speaks with a high, girlish voice, whereas due to her froglike face, Harry had expected a croak.
  • In The Pale King, Nugent's little sister can imitate Regan MacNeil's voice perfectly, much to the delight of Nugent's bored coworkers.
  • In Maledicte, Maledicte is a slight, pretty young man with an incredibly harsh, rasping voice. Justified in that he purposefully took poison to damage his voice.
  • During the final confrontation with Victoria in Twilight: Eclipse, Bella is shocked to see that the obsessed vampire's voice is less of a menacing growl and more of a high and childish squeal.
  • Near the beginning of "The Brain Stealers of Mars", Rod Blake meets something on the surface of Mars that looks like his partner Ted Penton—but it's new to imitating humans, and when it first speaks, it speaks in Rod Blake's voice.
  • Owen Meany from John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany. A dwarf, he's by far the smallest kid in his class...and he has No Indoor Voice.
  • Shadowslinger, an elderly, morbidly-obese sorceress from the Garrett, P.I. novels, has a voice that sounds like she's eight years old. As this conflicts with her self-promoted image as a terrifying wielder of dark magic, she usually has her son Barate Algarda speak for her.
  • Applies to several characters in the Honor Harrington series. The titular character is a 6'5" Heavy Worlder Lady of War, who has a soprano voice. Thandi Palane is a genetically modified Amazonian Beauty who can literally punch a guy's face in, and a mezzo-soprano (one step down from soprano). The Memetic Badass (both in-verse and out) Victor Catchat is a tenor (highest male voice within the modal register).
  • Link in the Belisarius Series has this. It is an AI from millions of years in the future that uses specific women as host bodies, transferring to the next body whenever one dies. As a result, the age of its host bodies over the story ranges from seventy to eight, and while it can use its host's normal voice, it usually uses a vaguely described but utterly inhuman and emotionless voice that most people find highly unsettling.

     Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Jonathan crooning a forties pop song in the Season 4 episode "Superstar". Pro athlete, military genius, star of The Matrix, and now he's Sinatra.
    • Drusilla dresses like a Goth singer, acts like a Serial Killer and talks with an extremely soft voice.
  • Seinfeld had an episode featuring this as a subplot, which resulted in Elaine accidentally smack-talking her friend's new boyfriend because his feminine voice caused a case of Mistaken Identity over the phone. The actor was actually (pretty obviously) dubbed over by a woman.
  • A horrifying example (to those involved anyway) occurs in Married... with Children. The men get hooked on a new phone sex line, only for them to eventually discover the woman behind "Butter's" sexy voice is Peggy's big and far-from-beautiful mother.
  • The Electric Company had a song about "Hircus of the Circus," an enormous strongman with a high-pitched voice.
  • Sesame Street: You definitely wouldn't expect Elmo to be voiced by some burly-looking black man. [1]
    • The Muppets have been known to do this with a few of their actual characters as well. On Fraggle Rock, for example, Brool the Minstrel is a furry, hulking, fanged cave monster with a jarringly sweet, soulful voice.
  • In Doctor Who episode "The Eleventh Hour", this is played for drama and used to throw a shapeshifting alien straight into the Uncanny Valley. The first instance involves it shifting to look like a man holding a dog on a leash...only for the man to bark with the dog's voice. Later, what looks like a woman and her two daughters is discovered to be the alien when it uses the wrong mouth for the woman's voice, resulting in a very small girl speaking with an adult woman's voice, while the "mother"'s mouth remains closed.
  • A frequent gag on The Benny Hill Show was to have male vocalists singing in high female registers, and vice versa.
  • KARR in the Hungarian dub, due to the robotic echo effect layered over the voice actor's performance, has such a high-pitched voice, he almost sounds feminine. A more accurate description would be to say he's an Ewok disguised as a car. It does a great job of undermining his malevolent aura.
  • Scorpius of Farscape is rather freaky looking, which makes his smooth and urbane voice a surprise. He also fits it on another level, in that the soft-spoken voice is a conscious effort, and when really angry, Scorpius loses control, and in keeping with his Scarran ancestry, talks in a deep Guttural Growler voice. This is also a contrast with his weak-looking body (as is the Super Strength he also generally keeps repressed).
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai have a situation similar to Digimon. (Makes sense, with the same sets of The Powers That Be - TOEI making the original, Saban adapting it.) In the American version, the Monster of the Week as well as major villains will sound growly or squeaky or otherwise be not-normal-human-y to better sound like they look. When watching the Japanese version, where this is often not so, it's strange when a beast of destruction or a cheesy rubber suit talks in a voice that could belong to any guy on the street - especially if it's a bad guy you know and remember sounding the part.
  • In Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, Yumeria, who is introduced speaking with a high, cutesy voice, switches to a deep, gravelly one when her cat ear headband falls off.
  • The Stephen J. Cannell series Sonny Spoon had an episode called "Who's Got Tonsillitis?" about a missing soul singer called Tonsillitis Brown who was so called because of how his real singing voice sounded like; he mimed to the voice of another singer. A pudgy white guy.
  • An episode of Veritas: The Quest had neo-Nazi villain Heinrich Cordova, who looked like a prototypical Aryan Ubermench yet spoke with a Latino accent. The first words spoken to him in said episode are "You know Heinrich, I can never get used to that accent coming out of that face."
  • Invoked in an episode of Frasier. Frasier and a lot of the KACL employees put on an old-time radio murder mystery to celebrate the station's anniversary and Roz was supposed to play a character with a very sexy voice. Unfortunately, she had to have an emergency dental procedure which left her mouth still numb from the Novocaine. Frasier spends a few moments building up her characters sultry, exotic accent, and she speaks in a mumbling, slurring mess.
  • Very common on Ru Pauls Drag Race, where all the contestants, naturally, are Drag Queens, but in some cases a queen may look entirely convincing as a woman until they speak, at which point this trope comes into effect. Rebecca Glasscock and Tyra Sanchez are two such queens who are extremely good at presenting as female but possess contrabass voices that can be startling the first time you hear them.
  • In several Clutch Cargo segments on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Martha Stewart and Barbara Bush had blatant male voices.
  • Justified has Jimmy Tolan (Jesse Luken), a short, babyfaced man with a deep, imposing baritone.

  • Jimmy Somerville from Bronski Beat has an extraordinarily light, high and fluid countertenor/falsetto singing voice. Smalltown Boy could be sung by a woman. It suggests many looks, none of which is a short muscular bald man.
  • Boaz Ma'uda and David D'or, two famous Israeli singers who were in the Eurovision Song Contest. One looks like a strength trainer and the other looks like he's in his 40s. Both are tenors, if not countertenors.
  • Soul singer Michel'le - sings like Anita Baker, talks like Betty Boop.
    • Baker herself: That powerful voice comes from a woman who might be 5 feet tall in heels and 90 pounds soaking wet.
  • Debbie Harry looks petite but is one of the best female singers there is, and there's a definite dissonance when she occasionally raps.
  • John Hiatt (of "Have A Little Faith In Me" fame), as well. Skeletal, long-haired white guy with a voice that could easily belong to a black soul singer from the ‘60s.
  • Similarly, Country Music singer Josh Turner. You'd never guess a face that young would produce a fine bass-baritone.
  • Christian musician/puppeteer Marcy Tigner is an adult woman with creepily convincing little girl voice. [2]
  • And then there's Tay Zonday, the guy who sings "Chocolate Rain". He looks about 12 years old in that video.
  • The late Amy Winehouse was a skinny white English woman from the 00s, who sounded like a big black American woman from the 60s.
    • Ditto Joss Stone, a young blonde Brit who sounded just like an African American crooner.
  • Susan Boyle. She looks like a somewhat old lady, but has a beautiful soprano voice.
  • Aaron Neville had a brief movie appearance as "Man with gun," an intimidating character the hero confronted in a slum area. His singing voice, on the high end of tenor, almost into soprano, has been described as the voice the angels wish they had.
  • Sarah Stiles, age 32, who played Lucy and Kate Monster in Avenue Q for several years, has a little girl voice (both speaking and singing) similar to the aforementioned Kristin Chenoweth. Listen here.
  • Cayman Ilika has a rich mezzo/contralto singing voice that strongly contrasts with her girly looks and speaking voice.
  • Alison Moyet, once-singer of Yazoo. With that contralto voice, you'd mistake her for a man if you never had seen her.
    • To the point where Erasure's early reviews often remarked snarkily that Vince had simply replaced Alison with another singer who sounded the same. A male singer who sounded the same.
  • One word: GACKT. Many people have mistaken GACKT for a woman on first appearances due to his delicate and very feminine facial features. So it's quite surprising when this voice comes out of him.
  • Scotty McCreery, season 10 winner on American Idol. He looks like Alfred E. Neuman, but has a surprisingly deep bass-baritone.
  • Two words: Bianca Ryan. She was 12 when this song was recorded.
  • Jackie Evancho was only 10 when she sang "O mio babbino caro" with "the voice of angel." The judges asked her to perform another song to make sure that really was her voice.
  • Ray Toro, lead guitarist of My Chemical Romance, is 6'1'', has super-curly hair that ranges from an afro to long curls reminiscent of Slash, and has the voice of a ten-year-old. Especially noticeable in songs when he sings a higher harmony, and in this interview [3] (skip to 2:34).
  • America's Got Talent season 6 winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. is a black guy with dreads and facial hair who sounds like Frank Sinatra.
  • Rihanna has a mild version of this, in that when she sings she has no accent but when she talks she has a noticeable Barbados accent.
  • Jens Kastel of Funker Vogt looks like a handsome heartthrob, but has a guttural bass/baritone voice.
  • Cristian Machado of Ill Nino looked like he sounded for a while, until he physically went from 25 to 40 while his voice remained unchanged.
  • Alex Band of The Calling looks like a a teenage pretty boy but sounds like a 40-year-old who smokes too much.
  • Christian Alvestam of Scar Symmetry. He's physically a fat bald guy and has an incredibly heavy Swedish accent. But when he sings.....
  • Kyo from Dir En Grey. A tiny, Asian pretty boy who is the last person you'd expect to front a heavy metal band. His harsh vocals sum up why he fits this trope.
  • Chino Moreno of Deftones, especially after his weight gain. One would probably be shocked to know that some of the smoothest, most soothing clean vocals in metal comes from this guy.
  • Ryan Richards from Funeral for a Friend. He looks and acts like a nice guy, but performs the harsh vocals and drums.
  • Dave Grohl shows us time and time again he is the nicest guy in rock, and has a relaxed sounding power pop singing voice, yet he equally enjoys screaming his head off during songs (an example being the Foo Fighters cover of Darling Nikki).
  • Dani Filth is a tiny effeminate English guy who is very friendly when interviewed, but his vocals as frontman for Cradle Of Filth are terrifying. He also has a strong interest in the occult and keeps skeletons in his house just to scare visitors.
  • Justin Bieber, due to his late puberty, had a childish voice until about age 17.
  • Angela Gossow. That is all.
  • Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria. Big bear of a man, high tenor singing voice. And then there's the dichotomy between his clean vocals and his screams.
  • Katie Stelmanis of Austra. Petite Girl Next Door look, big classical opera voice.
  • Similarly, hi-NRG diva Abigail Zsiga has the kind of deep powerful voice that you would think shouldn't even be physically possible from someone who looks so much like a child's stick figure drawing.
  • French metal vocalist Guillaume Bideau. His speaking voice is very laid back, somewhat deep, and has a fairly heavy accent. He also looks like a tough guy who should sound like Phil Anselmo when he sings. This (skip the intro if you aren't patient) is what his melodic vocals sound like. While he's still a good singer, it's not hard to see why Mnemic fans accused them of selling out when he joined the band. At least his screams don't contrast as much.
  • Jim Nabors will always be associated with drawling Gomer Pyle from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. but had a rich and powerful baritone voice. He released several albums. A lot of comedians made jokes about it back in the 1960s and 70s.
  • Khanh Doan is a 5'1" pixie who could still pass for a teen at age 36, yet has a mature mezzo soprano voice.
  • Queen's Roger Taylor has blond hair, big blue eyes, and a baby face, but sings in a gravelly, three-packs-a-day voice.
  • A lot of male Dominican merengue singers have a singing voice that comes as equally nasal and high pitched, contrasting with their appearances and talking voices. Juan Luis Guerra is one of those: his normal (and quite deep) talking voice suits his bohemian bearded appearance, but he has been doing the nasal singing thing for so long that, unless you had listen him on interviews, you couldn't believe that the both the speech and the singing parts on "El Niagara en Bicicleta" came from the same larynx.
  • Invoked historically in the case of castrati: male singers whose gonads were removed at puberty, ensuring that their boyhood vocal pitch would be retained into adulthood. Such performers were once in demand because they had feminine vocal ranges, but backed up with the powerful projection that only a castrato's large lungs and elongated chest could generate.
  • Morten Harket from a-ha was pretty much the living incarnation of a Pretty Boy and still looks damn fine. His vocal range is shockingly big, going from quite the depths to a borderline shrill falsetto. The famous chorus of Take on me is quite the proof.
  • Eurobeat vocalist Linda "Irene" Ongarelli has a rather high voice for her buxom physique, and it often gets chipmunked (pitch-shifted) even higher.
    • Laura Tartuferi (Laura Vox) is the opposite; slender build, deep soul/jazz voice.
  • Julie McInnes, Australian singer, cellist and circus performer, who has starred in many Cirque du Soleil shows including Amaluna, has a manly contralto voice despite her small frame and looking somewhat younger than her real age.
  • Peter Spilles of Project Pitchfork, despite his pretty-boy appearance, has a baritone voice and usually sings Harsh Vocals.
  • Rob Halford of Judas Priest, at least after he shaved his head and grew a dark goatee. Definitely a good example of Hard Gay.
  • Billy Joel. Voice: smooth, streetwise crooning tenor. Appearance: short, unsightly, bulbous-nosed, Jewfro'ed guy. The cover art for Piano Man would call to mind the VID mask on its own, but with his mug, it's slightly even more terrifying.
  • Andy Biersack, lead singer of the Black Veil Brides. A young man with a slender build, and a quite impressively deep growling singing voice. It's even more dissonant in the band's earlier songs when he was still a teenager and looked it.
  • The late Roy Orbison was a sharp-dressed, pale, dark-haired guy with Cool Shades. His powerful baritone voice was praised and envied by people like Elvis Presley himself!
  • The music video for Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" shows a conversation between a young man and a phone sex operator. At the end, they show what the operator actually looks like!
  • How come no one has mentioned Madonna while she was a superstar in the '80s? It is definitely quite a surprise to see the high-pitched singer as a deep-voiced woman in her mid-twenties. (Of course, that's all changed nowadays...)
  • George Ezra: 21 years young milquetoast with the singing voice of a thirty-something black gospel singer. You wouldn't believe it's him singing if you haven't seen it with your own eyes.
  • Similarly, there's the Scottish singer Paolo Nutini (aged 27 at the time of writing), who has the hoarse singing voice of an old Italian man.
  • Kazumi Evans, who provides the operatic singing voice of Rarity in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, looks quite different from what you'd expect.
  • Ella Fitzgerald, having the widest vocal range of any singer to date, used this to her advantage regularly.
  • It still throws off some people when they watch *NSYNC's a cappella performances that Chris Kirkpatrick actually sings and speaks like a choir boy and Lance Bass has quite a low and husky voice.
  • Italian jazz singer Mario Biondi is a skinny, bald white guy with a very deep and soulful singing voice not unlike Barry White.
  • 2D from the virtual band Gorillaz has a tall, lean figure and distant black eyes that match his singing voice quite well. While his singing voice is rather low and clear, his speaking voice is a ridiculously heavy cockney accent with a mild case of Elmuh Fudd Syndwome. Justified as his singing voice is provided by Blur's Damon Albarn while his speaking voice is provided by a different actor


  • Stephanie Miller of The Stephanie Miller Show, a morning political and comedy show, is a skinny, white, middle-aged, brunette woman. Many a listener, however, call in and express surprise after seeing pictures of her on the show's website that she is not a blonde and/or fat. One caller even thought she was black.
  • From his voice, one would definitely not expect John Tesh to have blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • CPO Pertwee (Jon) on Navy Lark doesn't sound anything like he does in real life.
  • High Pitch Eric from The Howard Stern Show, who is 6'1", probably weighs over 300 lbs, and sounds like Mickey Mouse.
  • Beulah, the maid on Fibber McGee and Molly (who later got her own spinoff series), was played by a Caucasian male named Marlin Hurt.
  • Amos 'n' Andy starred a pair of white men (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll) as the title characters. When the show moved to television, the roles were re-cast with African American actors.

     Stand Up Comedy  
  • Gabriel Iglesias describes times he uses a high pitched cheerleader voice to mess with Drive-Thrus that mess up his orders. He orders in his girly voice, pulls up, waits until they ask if he's the one who ordered, and proceeds to hit them with "Oh my God, yes!" The Drive-Thrus in his neighborhood have wised up though. He tries it on them and their response is "Okay, Gabriel, pull up."
  • Korean-American comic Henry Cho was born and raised in Tennessee and it shows when he speaks. The last thing you expect to hear out of someone who looks like him is a southern drawl.
    • lampshaded in one of his routines when he mentions traveling in Korea, and being asked for directions by an American in a patronizing, faux-Asian pidgin "EXCUSE ME, IS THIS THE BUS-Y GOES-Y DOWN-Y TOWN-Y?". He replied with an exaggeratedly twangy "...I reckon so."

     Theme Park Attractions 
  • In Disney's The Haunted Mansion during the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" song we are treated to a line of various ghosts singing the song, one featured a small bearded old prisoner speaking in the deep gravely voice of Candy Candido while the executioner leading him away has a high pitched Mickey Mouse like voice (by Bill Days).

     Video Games 
  • The turtle in Psychonauts talking in a sexy voice.
  • Prototype: Captain Cross (also known as "the Specialist") is the sort of person with a reputation of being a hardened, experienced badass capable of taking on Alex Mercer in a straight fight and getting away alive. He also has the softest voice of anyone in the game (except maybe Karen Parker), particularly when compared to Alex.
    • Additionally, Alex Mercer can shapeshift; in cutscenes he can also mimic voices but in normal gameplay he doesn't. Which means you can be disguised as a young woman, but keep the gravelly voice.
  • In Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, there's Actress, a female Entei who has a voice that's easily the among most feminine sounding in the entire series, despite the fact that she's a towering, musclebound, humanoid dragon.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Mario (since he gained a voice actor in Super Mario 64) has a very high falsetto voice, especially when he's excited, almost like Mickey Mouse. Especially noticeable when contrasted to Luigi's more down-to-earth tenor.
    • Bowser for some reason, actually spoke in a high, squeaky voice in the game Super Mario Sunshine as opposed to having a more appropriate-sounding voice in the game Super Mario 64. Either this, or they actually made Bowser feel out of character.
      • Fortunately, Bowser was once again given a more appropriate-sounding voice in the game Super Mario Galaxy, which made him a more sinister character than in the past games.
  • Guilty Party has Butch. In appearance, he's Shaft-lite. His voice, however, is high pitched and slightly lisping. While never the subject of an actual joke, it is suggestive of his nature as a Gentle Giant and is definitely one of the more comedic aspects of his character.
  • Tony Jay voiced many characters in the Legacy of Kain series, usually powerful and intimidating beings. He also voiced the kindly, polite and unsure boy King William the Just. His delivery was fine, but his voice was too low and mature.
  • Xavi in Sengoku Basara is one of the biggest characters ingame, yet his voice sounds quite odd and high.
  • The adorable little raccoon teacher in Star Fox 64's training mode originally spoke in clicks, but in the 3DS remake, he was finally given a smooth, deep voice akin to Barry White.
  • In The Space Bar, you spend a lot of time chasing after a hidden criminal who taunts you occasionally over your PDA with a deep, very creepy and threatening voice. When you finally catch up with him, you find out that his true form as a shapeshifter is a tiny little utterly adorable blue Smurf-like alien thing.
  • For the most part, bosses in World of Warcraft sound about how you'd expect them to. Then there's the XT-002 Deconstructor: an absolutely enormous killer robot...with a child's voice and personality.
    • Unintentional example with Deiza Plaguehorn, a draenei Master Pet Tamer in the Eastern Plaguelands, who despite appearing to be a Death Knight with necrotized skin and brown Acherus Knight gear has a regular draenei female voice instead of the gravely voice that DKs have.
  • Yuri in Tales of Vesperia is a thin, Long-Haired Pretty Boy who has been subject to numerous instances of Viewer Gender Confusion (and in-story gender confusion), so many are surprised to find that he has a rather deep, masculine voice.
    • From the same game, there's also Duke; a somewhat dandy-looking Pretty Boy, who happens to have the voice of Jamieson Price.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2, you'll occasionally run into some very unusual sounding cats. Said cats are actually voiced by the actors who provided the voices of the main cast, and they generally aren't even trying to sound convincing. For instance, one is obviously Alvin going "Nyao, nyao" in a sarcastic manner, while another is clearly Gaius meowing in his usual tone.
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Anton's boyish face and deep, seductive voice don't seem to match.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, in the Japanese version, the shy yet sensual and ladylike dancer Olivia has a voice that sounds more fitting for a toddler or a child than for a grown woman - in fact, her voice actress (Rei Matsuzaki) also voices Nah, a preteen-looking (and, occasionally, preteen-acting) girl who is more fitting for that voice overall. Karen Strassman, who voices her in English, gives her a voice more befitting of her probable (late teens/early twenties) age. Similarly, all three of the English voice options for a male Avatar are very deep and mature, and they clash with the fact that one of the Avatar's three body types includes a childlike appearance. A similar effect carries over to a female Avatar's youthful-looking son, Morgan, except that he has a deep voice in both languages.
    • In the dub, Danielle Judovits gave Nah a more mature-sounding, late teens/early 20s voice, possibly to match Nah's personality being mature for her age.
    • Some people are rather surprised when they hear dub!Inigo talk, expecting the voice of a boy in his mid-to-late teens and getting one more fitting of a young adult.
  • Unintentional yet remarkably common in the Space Stage of Spore since voices of aliens contacted by the player are chosen based on class, regardless of how the aliens in question actually look. This tends to result in things like attractive females with gruff masculine voices, Eldritch Abominations with soothing lyrical voices, and hulking Humongous Mecha with overexcited high pitched voices
  • In the Kirby series, this trope is definitely in play when you consider Meta Knight's voice. He has a deep and mature voice, befitting his role, but he's still just a Waddling Head, and is just as cute as Kirby when he's unmasked.
  • Rosie in Valkyria Chronicles smokes quite a bit in the manga and apparently off-screen as well, leading one of the character artists in the VC Design Archive to wonder if this could give her singing voice a gravelly tone. It doesn't, and no part of this habit is reflected by her Japanese or English actresses during the scenes where she can instead be heard singing with perfect clarity.
  • Harvest Moon: Magical Melody has a more Super-Deformed style than other installments of the series - looking a lot like like Animal Crossing - and some of the male characters can come off as this.
  • Rika from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is at youngest 9 and at oldest 12 but can put on an incredibly adult voice when she wants to. This is apparently not just for the audiences, as it's implied (and even stated in one of Keiichi's character songs) the other characters hear it but never say anything.
  • T. Hawk's English voice in Street Fighter IV. You wouldn't expect a Native American man that's built like a mountain to have the voice of what sounds like a teenager.
  • Shaymin, introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, is a hedgehog. Its cry sounds like birds chirping.
    • Dialga, introduced in the same set of games, takes this to Narm-levels. Its cry sounds like a scared chicken.
  • Ratchet & Clank series
    • Libra. She's female, but her voice is that of a man's, thus, explaining why Dr. Nefarious sounded annoyed when he said her name.
    • In the discounted game Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, there is also Luna. At first, it's averted, as she sounds like an adorable little girl. But once you free her from Mungo, she suddenly speaks like an adult woman when she pulls a Face-Heel Turn. It's later revealed that "she" is actually a genderless puppet-ship shaped like a child, and is The Dragon to Otto Destruct. When you finally confront Luna on Dayni Moon, it speaks with a male voice.
  • Teddie from Persona 4 is a mascot character who looks like he should be voiced by a woman, but is voiced by Dave Wittenberg and Sam Riegel, doing an impression of a typical mascot character in the English version. (Albeit his Japanese voice actor, Kappei Yamaguchi, does actually fit the character to a T.) Of course, being a mascot character, this isn't really all that noticeable, until he gains a human form, who most definitely should be voiced by a woman, as this is what you would expect from a prepubescent boy with his ultimate Bishounen looks, but the voice actors go, in fact, for an even deeper tone of voice when voicing Teddie as a human, which can be quite jarring in the first few scenes after the human form's first appearance and takes some time to get used to. For the Japanese version, Kappei Yamaguchi stated at one point that he originally even intended to use the same pitch of voice for both of Teddie's forms, but the Dissonance was so startling that he needed to change one of his different voice-types instead.

    Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • In the Regular Show episode "Don", there is a flashback to Rigby's sixth birthday party. The human children at the party sound appropriate for that age, but Mordecai, Rigby, and Don sound almost exactly like their adult selves.
  • The Venture Bros.: Doctor Girlfriend (now Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) has a really gravelly voice that doesn't sound like it belongs to a woman, especially one of that figure. Jokes about her being a transsexual aside, it seems to be that she just smokes a lot.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart gets hold of a construction supervisor's bullhorn and starts giving out destructive orders. The supervisor grabs the horn away and complains that people should have been able to tell the difference between his voice and that of a 10-year-old boy - the joke being that the supervisor sounds exactly like Bart (including using the Catch Phrase "¡Ay caramba!").
    • Ned Flanders screams like a girl, and at one point Bart mistakes his singing for that of Jessica Lovejoy.
    • In an early episode, Homer is put in a mental hospital. His roommate, who claims to be Michael Jackson, is in fact a very large, intimidating man...with Michael Jackson's voice. Subverted when it turns out his real voice is actually deep and gravelly. (He's actually a white, Polish-American from New Jersey, but Homer fails to pick up on this important clue, not having ever seen Michael Jackson before.)
      • In an interesting twist, the character actually was voiced by Michael Jackson (who was surprisingly gifted as a vocal mimic). However, due to a contract dispute, he was billed as "John Jay Smith" in the credits.
  • Shannon from Home Movies is a school bully who happens to have the voice of Emo Phillips.
  • Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time has a gruff voice that sounds nothing like a princess. Combined with a Valley Girl accent for Rule of Funny.
    • For bonus points, the season 5 premiere promos featured a clip from the episode of teenage Finn in full Badass Action Hero Mode followed immediately by an audio clip from season 1 of 12-year-old Finn shouting "Aaaaadventure Time!" in a much higher-pitched voice, a result of averting Crossdressing Voices.
    • A major stylistic theme of AT is pairing over-the-top-cartoony character design with matter-of-fact, naturalistic voices.
  • Family Guy:
    • Baby Stewie has a deep if slightly-effeminate theatrical British accent. That's hardly the wackiest thing they've got.
    • Chris is a big lummox, but has a really grating, high-pitched voice. To add to the irony, his voice actor, Seth Green, is a rather short man with a naturally deep and gravelly voice (especially when he does his documentary narrator voice on Robot Chicken).
    • Mike Henry, who voices Token Black Cleveland, is actually as white as a guy can get.
  • In an episode of Sabrina: The Animated Series, an adult man walking down the street had a high-pitched little girl voice. Done by a girl.
  • The title character of Dave the Barbarian is a tall muscular man but he has a high pitched, scratchy voice. This is justified in the series as he's a coward.
  • Happens to Fluttershy in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Bridle Gossip", when the normally soft-spoken Pegasus is highly embarrassed to find herself speaking in a Contralto of Danger. Spike jokingly calls her "Flutterguy".
    • That's nothing compared to Spitfire from the Polish dub. She's voiced by a guy and sounds like a transvestite. Thankfully, since season 2, she is voiced by a female and sounds quite good.
    • Derpy Hooves, as voiced in "The Last Roundup"(before it was redubbed), has a husky, almost boyish voice in contrast to her airheaded appearance and personality. According to Tabitha St. Germain, she didn't realize Derpy was female and did the voice with a neighbor's son in mind. In the Hungarian dub, she's actually voiced by a male.
    • Babs Seed seems to be about the Cutie Mark Crusaders' age, but her voice sounds significantly deeper than even Scootaloo's.
    • Invoked in "Filli Vanilli" when Fluttershy drinks a Poison Joke-laced potion to purposefully get a deep voice and temporarily replace Big Mac in Rarity's singing quartet after he loses his voice doing a turkey call. Everypony even refers to her with that voice as Flutterguy.
    • Similar to the Derpy example above, in "Trade Ya!", Minuette has a boyish voice similar to Spike; possibly a mistake on Cathy Weseluck's part.
  • Originally Jerry from Tom and Jerry had a deep voice in the few times he spoke, which was at odds with the fact he's a small, cute mouse. In recent adaptations Jerry is given a much more high pitched, often even feminine, voice whether he speaks or is just making noises.
  • Henry from Thomas the Tank Engine, despite being portrayed as a large tender locomotive like Gordon, actually speaks in a high pitched, whiny voice.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Granny Goodness is voiced by a man (Ed Asner) who is not trying to hide or pitch his voice at all. Hearing an old woman being voiced by what is obviously a man is disconcerting at best, which is probably the effect the creators were gunning for given the kind of person Granny Goodness is.
  • In Disney's Adventures in Music, The Runt at the End is a bass, whereas the rest of the characters are sopranos and tenors.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Mary Dahl (better known as "Baby Doll") looks like a little girl and usually sounds like one but actually has the voice of a bitter middle-aged woman. Justified in that she has a condition that stunts her aging, never being allowed to grow up physically.
  • Disney's Kim Possible once featured a "sumo-ninja," and though he remained silent for his first appearance, he spoke during his second, the voice he used was so high it prompted Ron Stoppable to tell him "Dude, don't talk. Seriously, it ruins your mystique."
  • In the episode "Hero of the Hourglass" of American Dragon Jake Long we discover that, when young, the future Huntsman had a very pitched and childish voice (getting him mocked by everyone, from his fellow Huntsclan apprentices to his teachers and a time-travelling Jake) while still being a formidable foe. Then, after Jake threw him in a pit to get mauled by a giant crab-thing, his voice changes to the Evil Sounds Deep we know, scaring the other apprentices with his oath to slay all dragons. And causing another vocal dissonance: while his deep voice is scary and appropriate for his modern self, he was slim and almost wiry when he was young.
  • The Adventures Of Blinky Bill gives us Slick Possum, an adorable possum with a foxlike face and Puppy-Dog Eyes who sounds like Eddie Murphy when he talks.
  • On Looney Tunes, whenever Wile E. Coyote talks in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, he sounds like a refined gentleman.
  • In Pepper Ann Pepper Ann's younger sister "Moose" is around 8 or 9 years old and she has a deep husky voice like a teenage boy.
  • General Iroh II from The Legend of Korra appears to be at least 30, but he shares the same voice actor and voice of 16-year-old Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, since Basco is 37, and he sounds exactly like that even when not acting, making him a real-life example of Vocal Dissonance.
    • The same thing happened with Zaheer in season 3, who's in old enough to have his hair go grey but sounds much younger. This is Henry Rollin's natural voice and he's in his 50s.
  • In an episode of American Dad! Stan meets a Strip Club bouncer, who's a Scary Black Man with the voice of a little girl, due to a rather odd medical condition...
    Stan: Wow, your voice is...sweet.
    Bouncer: Yeah, my gonads are tucked inside my abdomen. I was born with what doctors call "Bashful Testicles".
  • Some of the Smurfs in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute had extremely deep voices.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Bottomless Pit!", twelve-year-old Dipper is embarrassed about his squeaky puberty voice, and takes a voice-altering tonic that gives him a deep announcer voice. Dipper thinks it's awesome, but everyone else is creeped out. Grunkle Stan drinks a similar tonic by mistake, and winds up sounding like a Sassy Black Woman.
    • It should be noted that Dipper is still an example of this, since his voice is way too deep and mature for a twelve-year-old kid.
    • Grenda is another example. Despite having a huge build it is obvious that she is female but her voice is deep and manly. Apparently she isn't aware of this due to the fact that when Stan asks if she has a cold or if something was wrong with her voice she seems genuinely hurt and asks "Why would you say that?"
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood when Fox and Vixen's offspring are young pups they sound more like teenagers even though they're supposed to be the animal equivalent of 7 or 8 year old children at that point.
  • Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, took umbrage of having Paul Frees and Lance Percival as the voices of the group in their Saturday morning cartoon show, (Frees as John and George, Percival as Paul and Ringo), which ABC insisted to make them understandable to American audiences. Epstein ordered the cartoons to never air in England, even though the group's corporate entity, Apple, now owns them.
  • On Terrytoons' TV series The Mighty Heroes, Diaperman—a baby—has a deep, rough, husky voice.
  • Lightning on Total Drama. He's a built, black Jerk Jock with an incredibly high-pitched voice.
  • Looney Tunes director "Friz" Freleng liked this gag - in "Yankee Doodle Daffy" his protege, a slack-jawed little juvenile duck, sings in a booming baritone. In "Back Alley Op-Roar", Sylvester hands over singing duties to a big, bulky, dim-looking cat...who breaks into a dainty, lilting soprano.
  • Isabella of Phineas and Ferb is an adorable Fireside Girl with exactly the voice you'd expect, until called on to announce a monster truck rally or hockey game. At that point she switches to a deeper voice with enough volume to knock a grown man out of his seat.
  • The Dog City episode "Radio Daze" took this tack when Ace met the cast of the WFIDO soap opera It's A Dog's Life. The Vamp was overweight, The Hero was a broken-down drunk, etc.
  • In the two-part Grand Finale of Peter Pan & the Pirates "Ages Of Pan" in which Peter is tired of being a child and causes himself to age several decades at a time, when he's an adult in his thirties he still has the voice of a then 16 year old Jason Marsden. As an old man Marsden uses a slower, weaker, sounding voice.
  • Sofia the First: The Silent Knight avoids talking because he fears people might mock him for his voice.

     Real Life 
  • In general, heavy smoking can cause Vocal Dissonance. Many 20-something year old men and women who are ridiculously heavy smokers have unusually deep and/or raspy voices, even if they still look reasonably young.
  • This can also happen with people after having children. If they do a lot of yelling/screaming while raising them (particularly during their infancy), they may gradually develop nodules in their vocal cords. Making their voices considerably deeper and huskier than before.
  • Older Than Radio. In chapter VII of his autobiographical Confessions, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was also a musician, tells how he once fell victim to this trope during his stay in Venice in 1743-1744. His full quote can be seen in the "Quotes" section.
  • Many classic Hollywood film directors were foreign-born, but the all-American iconography of their movies makes it quite jarring to hear them speak (Billy Wilder, for example).
  • This trope came up in spades during the late 1920s transition from silent films to talkies, with many famous silent actors not possessing a voice that fit their prior screen image. Famous examples of silent actors in this category include (but aren't limited to) Norma Talmadge, John Gilbert, Clara Bow, and Karl Dane.
  • Charlie Chaplin was British and had an upper class British accent, which caused vocal dissonance for North American fans who were used to his silent work and never pictured The Little Tramp as having a foreign accent. There were even fans who questioned why there was a British narrator for his 1959 compilation film The Chaplin Revue, when the narrator was Chaplin himself.
  • Baby-faced, bespectacled writer-director John Hughes, known foremost for wacky, light-hearted films, had a surprisingly deep, spooky-sounding voice.
  • Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi Governor of Bohemia-Moravia, likely schizophrenic and all-around nutter had a high-pitched, squeaky voice. This was the man who headed the Wannsee Conference.
  • No one looking at Mike Tyson expects that guy to have a Mickey Mouse voice. But he does.
    • Some say he has the voice of Tweety.
  • Former WWE/TNA wrestler and current MMA fighter Bobby Lashley sounds like Tyson without the lisp, or at least, not as noticeable..
  • Another wrestling example (albeit not as dramatic) was the strange incongruence of the voices of Chris Benoit and Edge (who were tag-team champions together on two occasions) to their respective physical appearances. Benoit was a short but very muscular man who often sported a "hobo beard", but his voice was relatively high-pitched. Edge was tall, rather lanky, and had perfectly styled long blond hair, but his voice was often a low growl and noticeably more masculine than Benoit's. (And just to add to the irony, both men were Canadian.)
  • Yet another wrestling example: Shawn Michaels, who was slightly small for a wrestler and adopted a somewhat effeminate ring persona for his "Sexy Boy" character, had a voice like an Old West mountain man (the result of his childhood in Arizona and Texas). (In the later years of his career, he grew a beard and began dressing and acting more like how he actually sounded.)
  • Another one, former WWE wrestler Kaval (a.k.a. Low-Ki & Senshi) is short and rather lightweight by WWE standards, so you would think he would carry a voice in the same range as Rey Mysterio Jr (a higher voice you'd expect from a Fragile Speedster). He actually has one of the deepest voices you can imagine, which is rather disorienting.
  • Stephanie McMahon is a rather interesting case. Starting around mid-2002, her voice on Raw/Smackdown immediately changed from a high pitched screamy voice to a much deeper and more womanly voice. This was actually her natural voice from the beginning (ie. her screamy/high-pitched voice from 1999-2002 was basically manufactured for her stage persona), but it's definitely an interesting contrast.
    • This interview from 2000 and this interview from 2012 show that, other than talking in a considerably lower tone now, her voice has changed a lot less over the last twelve years than one would think based on her Raw/Smackdown Vocal Evolution (it's more her way of speaking that's changed over the years).
  • Another Diva example: Lilian Garcia. A cute, skinny blonde girl...with a surprisingly deep, resonant voice that sounds not unlike that of an announcer at a monster-truck rally.
  • One more for the road, former WWE Diva Chyna was an Amazon any way you look at it. 5'10", very muscular and carried enough of a presence to hold her own against male wresters, her rather high, soft, nasal voice is fairly surprising (she also had a slight lisp, making her voice about as surprising at Mike Tyson's.)
  • Glee's Chris Colfer, who stars as Kurt, has a... very high, soft voice for a guy.
    • Amusingly enough his vocal range is so wide that he can go all the way to the other end and talk in an extremely deep voice. It too qualifies for this trope because of how out-of-place it looks compared to his boyish appearance.
  • Radio DJs everywhere. Almost a trope in itself.
  • Comedienne Felicia Michaels - though you wouldn't expect anyone to have that kind of helium-fueled voice.
  • According to the VH1 pop-up video, a number of critics thought Rick Astley was a front for a black singer. In fact, this happened when he sent his first tapes to music executives — he had to sing on-stage to convince them that yes, the deep baritone voice belonged to him.
  • Seth MacFarlane definitely doesn't look like he should have such a deep voice. Further complicated because he provides the voices of Brian, Peter, Stewie, Quagmire, Stan Smith, Terry the news anchor, Roger the alien, and Tim the Bear.
  • Christopher Walken. He's an Anglo Protestant with a pasty face...who frequently gets cast in Italian-American and other "ethnic" roles because speaks in a "tough-guy" New York accent.
  • Liv Tyler, contrary to her statuesque appearance, has a very, almost girlish soft yet deep voice.
  • Kate Hudson, on the flipside, who has a more conventional Girl Next Door look going for her, has a surprisingly deep voice.
  • Sarah Palin. She's a young-ish (for a politician) and reasonably attractive woman, and she's from Alaska, where people aren't imagined to have stereotypically Midwestern-sounding voices. But she often sounds just like that dowdy secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
    • Or, as someone else noticed, the mom from Bobby's World.
  • Ever hear a smooth collie bark? They've got a surprisingly high-pitched bark for such a large dog. Seriously, you'd sooner expect that bark to come out of a toy poodle. In comparison, other collie breeds, such as the rough colllie (Lassie's breed) has a bark that matches its size.
    • Likewise you wouldn't expect a basset hound to have such a deep bark considering it's a fairly small dog, you'd expect that bark to come from a larger hound.
    • Dachshunds, while being pretty small for a dog, still have the chest, and therefore ribcage and lungs, of a much larger breed. It's common among owners to see someone on the other side of the door sounding a little uneasy at the incessant barking of what seems to be a bloodthirsty hound, and then being surprised when the door opens and it's just a snarling ankle-biter on the other side.
    • Foxes are cute and adorable... and sound like a woman being skinned alive.
  • Most birds of prey have high-pitched screeches that don't really sound as intimidating or majestic as the birds look.
    • Likewise true of some mammals, such as the cheetah (which chirps like a bird rather than roaring). They can also meow like a house cat.
    • One forced example is the bald eagle. That majestic screech you hear every time one is shown anywhere? That's actually the screech of a red-tailed hawk. They never make any sort of noise even close to that. Instead, they chirp. Unfortunately, that just doesn't make for good film.
  • An episode of Oprah Winfrey Show (or was it Sally Jesse Raphael?) featured a number of people with cases of Vocal Dissonance. These included:
    • A female drill sergeant with a squeaky punk voice, but her squad thought nothing of it
    • A man with the looks to kill who sounded like Mickey Mouse
    • Two adult women with rock bottom pitched voices. One was very suave and confident and somehow able to make her rather masculine voice sound so sexy, the other being extremely Woobieish about her voice she spent most of the time hidden behind a shroud.
  • Mary Isabel Catherine Bernardette O'Brien aka Dusty Springfield was known as the "White Queen of Soul" because her soulful voice contrasted so much with her blonde hair and blue eyes.
    • Ditto for British singer Joss Stone.
    • Dusty's colleague sunny-faced, redhaired Scottish pixie Lulu also qualifies. Proof: her tear-'em-up version of "Shout."
  • Many voice actors have dealt with this, to the point where it has seriously affected their chances of getting screen acting gigs. Case in point: Crispin Freeman, whose boyish looks have always stood in stark contrast to his baritone voice. And Tara Platt talked about being able to play the types of roles in voiceover that her looks keep her from playing onscreen in this alumni article from her alma mater, Rutgers.
  • You'd expect Theodore Roosevelt, being the early 20th century Chuck Norris that he was, to have a deep resonating voice, right? Wrong. The dissonance is even more surprising, considering that most actors portraying him DO use a deep resonating voice.note 
  • For that matter, Abraham Lincoln is said to have had a very high voice. Nasal, even.
    • He is believed to have suffered from a medical condition that led to his abnormal skeletal structure and enormous height (6'4", which was positively gigantic for the mid 19th century). It presumably also had an effect on his vocal cords and lungs.
  • G. K. Chesterton frequently made fun of himself for this, referring to his voice as "the mouse coming forth from the mountain".
  • Orson Welles, with a figure that big and the looks of a man with big deep booming vocals, had a really nasal voice that was sorta funny, yet fitting somehow. Maurice LaMarche can do a really amazing impersonation of Welles, so if you hear it, he really talked like that. In years after, Orson's voice became a little more whispered.
  • King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, who was actually a royal piece of Pretty Boy as a young man... but, as heard in audio recordings, had a ridiculously high and nasal voice.
  • The Golden Voiced Hobo
  • Peacocks. Such a gorgeous jewel of a bird should sound like a angel. Right? Wrong.
  • Zebras. They look so much like a horse that you'd expect them to sound a bit like one. Instead, they sound like birds.
  • Alpaca are fairly large animals but the sound they make sounds like a squeaky toy.
  • Marlon Brando, the epitome of Mr. Fanservice, had such a thickly-accented and grating voice that it's jarring for those who have only seen him in pictures.
  • Lucy Ellis, presenter for Global Radio. Although her voice is quite sultry, she is blonde, but in Real Life completely averts the Dumb Blonde stereotype.
  • American Football legend Hershel Walker, who's Scary Black Man physical appearance is belied by his high-pitchednote  voice and Deep South accent.
  • General George Patton was played to perfection by George C Scott, and most people associate Scott's rough, raspy barritone with the general. So imagine the surprise in finding a newsreel of Patton giving a speech and hearing a high, almost squeaky tenor with an almost British-sounding accent...
    • Patton was aware of this issue - it's why the general tended to swear as much as (or a little more than) was socially permissible and use the roughest language he could come up with. He didn't want his men fixating on his high voice.
  • In an extremely obscure example, in the late 90s there was, briefly, a trailer shown on British television for an episode of what was then a relatively new genre, the real-life police procedural show. In the trailer, a policeman was seen cuffing an extremely large Scary Black Man, and informing him he was being arrested on suspicion of murder. This drew a one-word response - "Murder?" delivered in an incredibly incongruously high pitched Scouse accent. It was sufficiently notable that one of the gags on the gag reel of the DVD of Spaced was Jessica Hynes just sitting at a bar table, staring into space and saying "Murder?" in a similarly high pitched Liverpool voice, with no other explanation.
  • If you hear Tom Petty's singing voice (which is sort of nasally and sometimes a bit whiny), on top of his skinny build, it can come as a surprise that that he actually has a deep speaking voice.
  • Don Rickles. He's a wrinkly, toad-like guy in his eighties and looks like it, but he's possessed the voice of a guy in his 20s all his adult life. Would you believe he was 84 when he voiced Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 3?
  • Some people expect Scott Stapp of Creed to talk like he sings. In other words, you'd think he sounded like an angry constipated guy. He's got a shockingly calm voice, and seems like a nicer guy than he's made out to be.
  • Look at Anton Yelchin's page image. It's insane to hear him speak in his surprisngly deep, raspy voice.
  • Zachary Quinto has a pretty ominous appearance and a set of very angry eyebrows. But his voice is very soft and quite calming.
  • Brad Jones has been described as having the voice of a young Jack Nicholson, but is actually a pretty short guy. This is especially obvious whenever he does crossovers with his fellow Channel Awesome contributors, most of whom are taller than him (sometimes by a lot).
  • Willem Dafoe does not look like he should have such a deep voice.
  • Ironically, Harvey Fierstein does look like a man who'd have a deep voice - but because he's openly Camp Gay, his voice can still take people by surprise. Add to that the fact that his voice is unnaturally deep, since he has a throaty growl that belongs to either a long-time smoker of someone who's gargled broken glass.
  • Looking at Tom Baker, you wouldn't expect such a deep voice; his strange-looking face notwithstanding you would think that Fourth Doctor would sound zanier given his outfit. He also has a rather odd accent that is mostly Ah Pea but with incongruous Scouse elements ("'Ere's to Gallifrrrrrreeee."). Somehow the overall effect is surprisingly pleasant.
  • When a boy's voice first changes he might rub off as this, since he still looks young. It may be part of the reason behind a similar trend in English-language anime.
  • Kevin Grevioux (Raze from Underworld) looks like he would have a deep voice. But nobody looks like they would have a voice as deep as he's actually got. It's so deep that many viewers assumed it had been altered in some way for the film. It hadn't.
  • The Thin Man in the silent film Metropolis — a tall, thin, disturbing henchman for the leader of the city — was played by actor Fritz Rasp. Here is a video featuring Fritz Rasp speaking (skip to 32 seconds in). Let's just say his voice does not match his name.
  • Justin Long looks very boyish and quite a few years younger than he really is. Which makes his deep baritone voice sound perplexing.
  • Jennie Garth was the sexy Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills 90210 and you'd expect a smooth sultry voice to go with her looks, but instead what comes out is a high-pitched, somewhat mousy voice like you'd expect on someone who plays Hollywood Homely nerds.
  • Anyone who watches The Sopranos for the first time would be surprised to hear the hulking 6"2" James Gandolfini's high nasally voice.
  • Thurop van Orman, the creator of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Looking at him and his Beard Of Awesome, you'd expect him to sound like a tough biker dude. Instead, he sounds like... Flapjack. He got the gig playing Flapjack's voice when Paul Reubens failed to show up for the recording sessions.
  • Shania Twain's speaking voice sounds little like her singing voice; it is more high pitched with a thick, almost stereotypical Canadian accent.
  • People who have never heard Misha Collins speak outside his role on Supernatural as Castiel (who has a deep, gravelly voice also somewhat at odds with his unimposing appearance) are often shocked by how different he sounds; Misha's normal voice is much higher-pitched. Jensen Ackles has said that the first time he heard Misha speak as Castiel during filming, his reaction was "What is he DOING? Did he audition??"
  • Jon Hamm's natural speaking voice is rather raspy and froggy-sounding, as opposed to the smooth and resonant speaking voice of his character Don Draper in Mad Men.
    • Likewise his co-star Christina Hendricks' natural voice is higher and much sweeter sounding than the one she uses when she plays sultry Joan Holloway.
  • Katie Leung, Cho Chang from the Harry Potter series surprised American audiences with her natural Scottish accent.
  • Marissa Mayer, the blonde, babyfaced CEO and President of Yahoo! has a surprisingly husky voice.
  • As mentioned above, Dante Basco is in his late 30s but has a voice that sounds more like a kid in his late teens.
  • Robert Altman spoke with a nasal Missouri twang that was completely at odds with his burly build and bearded visage.
  • Mixed-martial-arts legend and former UFC two-division champion Randy "The Natural" Couture's voice is surprisingly high and soft, much different than what one might expect from a combat sports legend who often competed at heavyweight. In fact, when he played the villain Sargon in the straight-to-DVD sequel to The Scorpion King, his voice was digitally lowered to better suit his character.
  • MMA fighter Anderson Silva. Vicious punches, high skilled muai thai, overlygirly voice.
  • Professional wrestler Brock Lesnar's voice is bit high compared his large and imposing figure and his screams sound more like screeches then roars.
  • Scott Menville looks like a bad ass biker guy but he has a voice like a teenage boy.
  • You'd think Gabourey Sidibe, with her Acrofatic look and Type Casting as the tough girl Sassy Black Woman, would sound tough/street, right? Wrong!
  • Justified for actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. A massive hearing loss leads to a muscle-bound man having a mild case of Elmer Fudd Syndrome.
  • This is Lauren Daigle. This is Lauren Daigle's singing voice.

Talking to HimselfVoice Acting TropesVocal Evolution
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