The identity of the person who lent their voice to Amazon’s iconic Alexa assistant has long remained a mystery. Despite being a familiar voice to users of over 100 million Alexa devices around the world, Amazon Echo and echo dot owners have been unable to give a name or face to that iconic voice. That is until now, a new book titled Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by journalist Brad Stone has revealed the identity of the voice behind Alexa.
The voice reportedly belongs to a Colorado-based voice actress and singer named Nina Rolle. Stone revealed this in a recent tweet.
Stone further said that Rolle was unable to discuss the role when he contacted her in February.
It is claimed that Amazon’s founder initially wanted dozens of different voices for Alexa, with different voices selected for different tasks. However, this was considered impractical, as engineers instead looked for the only ideal voice that would allow Amazon’s offering to compete with that of Google and Apple.
Initially released in 2014, Alexa was first used in the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Amazon Dot but can now be heard on more than 20,000 devices around the world.
According to her website, Rolle, a litany of big-name clients she’s done voice-over work for are listed, including Honda, Chase, Lockheed Martin, Jenny Craig, Turner Classic Movies and Nationwide. But it does not mention Amazon anywhere.
The book also details the stumbling blocks Amazon experienced along the way, with Bezos at some point wondering if the Alexa team could collect enough data to make a compelling voice assistant.