How did Kareem Taylor, a Clark Atlanta University graduate, make the leap from college student to successful voiceover artist? In episode 34 of the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast, Kareem shares his story with host Eddie Francis and inspires millennials to pursue their dreams in his book, ‘Get Your Life’.
Growing Up in Brooklyn, NY
From an early age, Kareem knew that he wanted to be a performer. As a teenager in Brooklyn, he listened to rappers like Nas and Beanie Sigel and dreamed of getting behind the microphone. A family member saw Kareem’s talent and gave him the opportunity to record a demo. With fresh lyrics and hours of studio time, Kareem fell in love with the entertainment industry.
Kareem took advantage of every opportunity to get professional experience. When he was fourteen years old, Kareem started interning at BET. Whether he was covering a broadcast or working in the field, Kareem cultivated relationships with industry professionals that would help him later on.
“That helped me define what kind of life I wanted to live because I had the opportunity to have, to get mentors and people who were kind of like, you don’t want to do this, don’t get into this part. Try to focus on this. Try to find out what you really want to do. These kind of early conversations.”
Attending Clark Atlanta University
Kareem went on a college tour in high school, and after visiting schools like Howard University and Medgar Evers College he knew he wanted to attend an HBCU. Although Kareem originally planned on going to Morgan State, he decided to attend Clark Atlanta University after a second trip to Georgia.
“I really wanted to go to Morgan State but my junior year I went back on a tour to Atlanta and I kind of fell in love with Clark Atlanta. They told me Spike Lee took all his classes there and I kind of wanted to be the next Spike Lee so that’s why I made that journey. I was like, I love this place.”
At CAU, Kareem studied mass media arts and pledged to Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. When another Alpha asked Kareem to cover their Miss Black and Gold Pageant, he jumped at the chance. With hundreds of people from the Atlanta metro area in the auditorium, Kareem wowed the audience and found his niche as a voiceover artist.
“After that the whole school knew that I could do this and so that kind of had this trickle effect of where I started doing everything on campus. Whether it was a Morehouse Pageant or a Spelman Pageant…I was the voice behind for a couple years.”
From Small Jobs to a Professional Career
Kareem continued taking small jobs in college, and an internship at Rainforest Films helped him launch his professional career.
“I connected with the CNN producer who didn’t know me. We just had a mutual friend, which was Rob Hardy, and that CNN producer one day responded to a Facebook post I wrote and she had me come down to the CNN headquarters and I auditioned in front of the whole marketing team…then a year later, from that same producer, I landed my first project. It’s those kind of opportunities, I think Rain Forest really changed the trajectory definitely and it all kind of spawned from that one internship.”
After graduating from CAU, Kareem worked as a voiceover artist for industry titans. With past clients like CNN, UFC, and Taco Bell, it’s no wonder that Kareem earned the ADCOLOR Future Award in 2015. Kareem’s willingness to follow his dreams despite the risks has led him to an amazing career.
Examples of Kareem Taylor’s Voiceover Artist Work
“Over the years it has morphed and continue[s] to morph and continue[s] to morph into something even greater. But I think it’s because I have this insistence on doing things my way. Of not paying your dues. Not waiting for the perfect moment. Of just going after it.”
On Turning Your Ideas Into a Career
“It’s a little orange book that teaches you how to turn your ideas into a career… Everybody kind of knows deep down inside what they’re capable of doing, but I think it’s a reminder and it’s structured in such a way where you start, once you start reading you can’t put it down.”
Kareem Taylor is a growth strategist, author, and voiceover artist who lives in Los Angeles, CA. To learn more about Kareem and purchase your own copy of ‘Get Your Life! The Transforming Power of Turning Fate Into Fortune’ on Amazon, visit GetYourLifeBook.com