Lili Wexu: Hear That Voice Again
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Lili Wexu is a voice actress based in Los Angeles but started in Montreal. You might say this is all Howard Stern's fault. Back in the late 90's Howard Stern was syndicated to Q107 in Toronto and CHOM in Montreal. The result for the former was a failed venture, the latter was a near disaster. CHOM's longtime competitor at the time was Mix 96, who courted disenfranchised francophones to their station but using Lili as imaging talent. Rob Braide was general manager at Mix 96 and had been apart of a bilingual era at CHOM in the 70's where French and English co-existed in harmony on one frequency. Lili grew her business with the help of afternoon Drive personality and voiceover talent Rob Wreford who mentored her.
In this episode, we hear about Lili's evolution through the voice industry and discuss how it has changed throughout the years. She also provides us with some incredible tips and tricks to steer through the tricky world of voiceover in 2020. As promised, here are the links to access her e-book series.
If you would like to book Lili to be the voice of your brand, you can go to her website which has demos and so much more.
Mentions and References:
Rob Wreford does voiceover in Ontario, but we managed to dig up this piece of YouTube glory from around the same era when Rob met Lily. (Which would have made a title)
And my thanks to John Biggs who reminded me that I would have the Howard Stern text of his inflammatory comments on this blog. and then I forgot to put them in: Here they are courtesy of the website Miquelon.org that monitor French bashing.
Howard Stern - September 2, 1997 - CHOM-FM
Howard Stern: Good Morning everybody, welcome back to the program that never ends. You know, a two week vacation you figure you come back all fresh and ready to go but it’s worse than ever. Yeah, back to work, back to the same battles, back to the same old crap. We are international now. For the first time this broadcast is international and I couldn’t be happier because I’m sick of just being on in the United States of America. Yes, we have two affiliates in Montreal, Canada and Toronto and let me tell you something, this is no small feat. If you’re thinking, “well, big deal, Canada is just the United States anyway”, well, I’m thinking the same thing, but it’s still very difficult to get this program on in Canada. All hell has broken loose. In fact, I’ll ask Gary later in the program to bring in all the different articles that have come out, particularly in Montreal, where the French-speaking people are out of their minds. They are insulted, you know, they’re a bunch of peckerheads. In Montreal, the French, the English-speaking people are fine, they’re like us. The French are jack-offs. Robin Quivers: Now, what is their problem? Howard Stern: There is something about the French language that turns you into a pussy-assed jack-off. I swear to God. Robin Quivers: How could they have a problem with us already? Howard Stern: Oh, are you kidding? When it was announced that we were coming to Toronto and Montreal, Montreal in particular, the newspapers were filled with outrage, people protesting. Robin Quivers: Ha, before they heard us? Howard Stern: In Toronto, one sponsor of the Toronto station which has about seven affiliated radio stations said he was pulling all his advertising off of every radio station. All hell is breaking loose, people have been writing mad letters frantically to their version of the Canadian FCC. Robin Quivers: Well, how long do you think we’ll last with this kind of onslaught? Howard Stern: Two days, at tops, three. Robin Quivers: How wonderful. Howard Stern: But the biggest scumbags on the planet as I’ve said all along are not only the French in France but the French in Canada. Robin Quivers: Anybody who speaks French. Howard Stern: Anybody who speaks French is a scumbag. It turns you into a coward, just like in World War Two the French would not stick up for us. The French were the first ones to cave in to the Nazis, and certainly, certainly were over-productive for the Nazis, when they became their puppets. Just like them, the French-speaking people in Quebec have been fighting this, in Montreal, rather, they are upset, they are dismayed that I would be taking work away from Canadians. Robin Quivers: Oh, God! Howard Stern: They go,’Isn’t there somebody in Canada who can fill this job requirement?’ like I’m a plumber. You know, I’m sort of one of a kind. Robin Quivers: And why can’t the French people hear you? Howard Stern: Because their way of life will be disturbed, which is God knows what, speaking French. Robin Quivers: Yes, ruin that culture. Howard Stern: Yeah that culture, like that’s an important culture. Look into your culture. You know what your culture is? A bunch of snivelling cowards. I swear to God they’d be less upset if the Eiffel Tower fell over. So the French are up in arms, all good-speaking English people want me on the air, all people who are for truth and freedom and the American way, including Canadians, want me on the air. Robin Quivers: Well, Canadian people are in America. Howard Stern: Yeah, that’s right. You are Americans. You are the 51st state. So we welcome Montreal 97.7 CHOM, pronounced “shome”. Ralph: “Shome”. Robin Quivers: “Shome”? Howard Stern: [Laughing] That’s French. I am not pronouncing our station “shome”. [Everyone laughs.] It is “chom”. Ralph: Howard, I got a huge lesson on that from the people that run the station, it’s got to be “shome”. Howard Stern: No, I am changing that officially this morning . CHOM is “chom”, “shome” indicates French. We are anti-French. All people in Montreal should speak English, and that’s that. Robin Quivers: See this is what happens when you don’t declare a national language. Look at them. Howard Stern: Exactly, Robin. We should be off the air in about hour. [Everybody laughs.] In Toronto, we are CLQ, Q 107 That’s easy to say, it is not “clue” it is CLQ, it is not “qua” [both said with French accent] it is Q. Robin Quivers: It’s not “clue” [spoken in a French accent]. Howard Stern: [Phonetically] Agherrrue! It is Q107 and CHOM 97.7, it is not “shom” or “shome” [laughing]. Other comments relating to the French and French-Canadians and related issues were made during the course of the episode of September 2. A number of these follow. Howard Stern: That must be to appease the French. I’m kissing the French off anyway, I figure they won’t listen to us anyway. Robin Quivers: Well, they speak French! Howard Stern: Yeah. Merci, you bastards. [Laughing] I love it. I love broadcasting up in Canada. Robin Quivers: Au revoir. Howard Stern: Au revoir my ass. … Howard Stern: Yeah, the press has been dizzying. I can’t even explain to you the resistance, and how difficult it is to put together a deal in any Canadian market. There is such resistance. It’s never easy actually to make a deal to go on any radio station: the stations always have fears, they always have, “gee, is this going to work?” kind of thing. It’s hard to believe after all the success we’ve had – Robin Quivers: People still think there is still something special about the market they’re in. Howard Stern: Yeah. And Toronto and Montreal created problems. Montreal in particular because of the French there who are complete pussies who think that somehow speaking French is the most important thing in the world. … Robin Quivers: Oh, I love that, “we don’t need anything new, we’re tired of the new”. Howard Stern: Yeah, well how about we take away electricity, you dick. These are people – Robin Quivers: They can’t cope with new. Howard Stern: These are all letters from people who are hung up on the French way of life which is the coward’s way of life. … Caller Darrell: Howard, this is the greatest day. We are so proud that you’re up here. Ignore all those editorials; that’s Montreal and they don’t know better up there. Howard Stern: It’s a big day! [Playing Howard Stern song and singing along with it] Is in Montreal and in Toronto! Turn it on baby! Got a little penis, baby! Yeah, baby, conquering Canada! Yeah, and Robin, too! Yeah, baby! There’s a lot of angry people but we’re on in Canada! Hey, I’m singing, Frig the French! Screw the French! You’re going to have to listen to Americans now! Screw your culture and we’re invading your ass! For as long as it lasts! Sorry. Caller Darrell: Howard, let me tell you, I’ve been listening to Toronto morning radio all my life and all these just suck. Finally we have something we can enjoy and wake up in the morning and listen to, but I got to put a little damper. I don’t know if Gary has the clippings, but what they’re doing here in Toronto is putting you on a sixty second delay. Howard Stern: That’s all right. Caller Darrell: Is that okay? Howard Stern: I don’t care. Robin Quivers: Usually it’s a seventy. Howard Stern: Yeah, usually seventy. They’re actually daredevils out in Toronto. The reason they so that, by the way, let me clear that up, is not for censorship reasons. Caller Darrell: Well, that’s what they’re saying here, though. Howard Stern: The reason they do that is they need time to in our commercial breaks link up with us to know when our last commercial is. That’s all that is. Caller Darrell: But in the articles – Ralph: I didn’t have a chance to show you everything. I was going to get to this. Toronto put out this really strange press release talking about how your show is not for everybody. Howard Stern: And you know why? First of all, the deal was very difficult to put together. It was on-again off-again because first of all, when word even leaked out that we were possibly going on in Toronto, all hell broke loose. I can’t begin to tell you how insane. I could write a book just about this one deal. It was almost cancelled about ninety times because the second that anyone caught wind of it, major sponsors said they were going to pull off, not only our show but all the radio stations the group owned. Robin Quivers: The whole stations? Howard Stern: Yeah. Then, the Canadian version of the FCC was being written to before we got on the air, before the deal was even done. Caller Darrell: Yeah. Howard Stern: It’s completely out of control. Robin Quivers: Well this is going to be a fun, short ride. Caller Darrell: You’ll be number one in Toronto within six months. Howard Stern: Six months? As of seven o’clock this morning we were number one in Toronto. Ralph: There was one funny line in this press release that was interesting. They said, “that obviously the Howard Stern Show generates lots of strong public reaction, both positive and negative.” Howard Stern: And that’s why it’s here. Ralph: “Naturally, don’t expect the show to be everybody’s first, or second, or even third choice.” Howard Stern: Really? Is that what they say? Robin Quivers: Huh? What do they want, number four? Howard Stern: Wait, that’s my station? No wonder they’re dead last in the ratings. Robin Quivers: I’ve never heard of anyone saying they want to be number four. Howard Stern: Maybe they’re trying to say, you know what we’re hoping the show won’t be that successful so that people will leave us alone. They won’t complain. [Laughter.] “We don’t expect the show to be everybody’s first, or second, or even third choice.” It’s like we expect two or three listeners at the most. Please, don’t get your panties in a snit. Robin Quivers: Only our employees will listen. It’s like an in-house radio station. Howard Stern: Yeah, we control the sixty second delay in Toronto which would allow us to block content should we deem – you know what this is for, the sixty second delay, by the way, they’re not contractually not even allowed to hit it, the only time they use it is so that they can – Robin Quivers: Link up with commercials. Howard Stern: Yes. Don’t worry about that. They had to put that out so the press wouldn’t be all over their ass. Caller Darrell: Well, I’ll be part of the Howard Stern radio network and monitor things for you here. Howard Stern: You’ll be our CIA, thank you. All right, there he is, our first CIA – Robin Quivers: Wonderful. Across the border. That’s wonderful. Maybe they’re just playing on that whole controversy thing, too. To pump things up. Howard Stern: No, they don’t want any kind of diversity. And in Montreal it’s even worse, it’s unbelievable because of the French speaking – Robin Quivers: Ugh. Can we go there? Why are we here? I want to be where the action is. Howard Stern: Well, maybe we’ll take a little visit to Canada. Robin Quivers: Yeah, I would love to do that. … Howard Stern: Right. That I understand. Steve, you’re on the air. Caller Steve: Hi, Howard. Thank God you’re finally on in Montreal, I’ve been waiting for this for years. Howard Stern: So you’re an English speaking dude. Caller Steve: Yeah, I hate the French, and… Howard Stern: Everyone there hates the French. Robin Quivers: Where are you from? You have a strange accent. Caller Steve: Well, I’m Italian. Robin Quivers: Ahhh. Howard Stern: That’s okay. Italian is fine. Later in the radio program of the 2nd, there was a press conference with reporters in Montreal. The following are some of the exchanges from that press gathering. Robin Quivers: We are now open for questions. Howard Stern: I’m open for questions, Robin. Reporter Joe Singerman: Good morning, Howard. I work for CFCF television here in Montreal. You were saying earlier this morning that all you want to do is good radio and make people laugh. Howard Stern: That’s correct. Reporter Joe Singerman: Why are you doing that at the expense of French-Canadians? Why not the folks out in Iowa? Howard Stern: Well, only today I’m concentrating on the French Canadians. By tomorrow I’ll be on the people of Iowa. Robin Quivers: Why do you say it’s at the expense of? Howard Stern: I’m not doing it at their expense, I for a long time have been miffed by this Canadian attitude that if Howard Stern comes from America, therefore it’s bad for the culture or something. I mean, American culture is pervasive, we are the largest export of programming in terms of television and now radio, well of course, why would it be bad? Why is it that I’m bad but yet, you know, American television shows are allowed all over the place? Why is the controversy with me? Why is it bad to have me on? Certainly you have enough Canadian broadcasters on the dial, why shouldn’t I be allowed to broadcast into your fine country? Robin Quivers: And anything good generally breaks through. Howard Stern: Right. And quite frankly, what does it have to do with borders and all that kind of stuff. Good radio is good radio and you put it out there. Robin Quivers: You want us to stop sending you movies. Howard Stern: Yeah, we’ll do that if you want that. Reporter Joe Singerman: If I could just interject. I’m not questioning good radio or why you’re here or diversity in radio or cross cultures etc. What I’m questioning is why you’re picking on French people. Howard Stern: Oh, I’ve been picking on the French people for 15 years. I don’t like French people. I felt that during World War II France betrayed us. I believe that what they did was the most cowardly act. That when the Nazis marched into France, the French bent over. They not only accepted the Nazis and did little to fight them, but they produced. Do you know they were the number one producers of products for the Nazis during WWII? When you’re a conquered people, you can slow down production a little bit. I never saw people enthusiastically and vigorously support the Nazi regime like this by producing and putting out the greatest output of goods for the Nazis. In recent history, the French have been abusive toward America, anyway, when we were involved with our troubles in the Middle East, with Iraq and Iran, and we asked the French if we could use their air space. And of course, once again they backed down and said, “No, we don’t want to get into trouble” [imitating French accent]. Robin Quivers: I think you were talking about the Libyan raid. Howard Stern: That was the Libyan raid, right. Thank you, Robin, for correcting me. The French once again afraid. What are they afraid of? We are their ally. When I was over in France recently, Americans are looked at as dirt, as filth. We are the people that liberated them during WWII. They would be Nazis, they would be under the Nazi regime right now. They should only be kissing our asses, singing our praises. And if the French are protesting my entrance into the market, I only say bend over like you did for Hitler now that I am here and accept me. Thank you. … Ian: Okay, we have a question from Bernard St. Laurent. Reporter Bernard St. Laurent: Hi, two questions. First of all, what difference do you make between French from France and French from Quebec? Howard Stern: None. I think that the French from Quebec are as silly as the French over in France. Sitting and worrying about “we have to preserve the culture”. What culture? What culture are they preserving? What, a building? What, they have to force people, they can’t put up an English sign? It’s absolutely absurd. English is the predominant language, English is the language of big business, of productivity. Most of the people of the world speak English or Spanish. Why would you hold onto that archaic language anyway? It’s absurd. French is as relevant as Yiddish. Reporter Bernard St. Laurent: My second question is, 65% of CHOM’s audience is French-speaking, what are you going to do to keep – Robin Quivers: We’ll clear them out. Howard Stern: Well, they’re pretty much gone at this point. [laughter] Is that really true? Is 65% of the audience French-speaking? Ian: That’s right. Robin Quivers: Wow. Howard Stern: That doesn’t make sense. Ian: 65% of our audience, Howard, are bilingual Francophones. Howard Stern: Oh, that’s fine. Robin Quivers: Francophones? Howard Stern: Frankenphones. [laughter and grunting sounds] What’s a Francophone? Robin Quivers: I have no idea. Howard Stern: Well, listen. I’ll tell you this: those people – Robin Quivers: Are gone. Howard Stern: (laughter) Yeah, we’ve got bad news for ya. I had no idea. You should have told me ahead of time. I would have been a little more polite. I thought they were all English-speaking. I got some bad information. Ian: So what are you going to do? Howard Stern: Nothing. There’s nothing I can do. Robin Quivers: It’s too late. Howard Stern: It’s too late. I can’t backpedal at this point. I would have an hour ago but I didn’t realize. Robin Quivers: (laughter) You should have called. Howard Stern: French? I love ’em. (laughter).