We spoke to Stephanie Nadolny ahead of her appearances at Supanova Melbourne and Gold Coast over the next few weeks.
Stephani Nadolny is best known for her role as the English voice of Gohan in Dragon Ball, and has also voiced a number of other characters in the successful series.
What are you looking forward to most about returning to Australia?
“My absolute favourite thing to do is to meet the fans. It’s the absolute best part of my job. It’s so fun. To see the looks on their faces. To see how my voice work has touched their lives. It’s so humbling. It’s just the greatest thing. I love it.”
In your opinion, what’s the best part about Supanova?
“The best part of the convention? The same. Just meeting the fans. Being part of the cameraderie, watching everybody walk around, interacting, the costumes. Interacting with the other guests. I’ve become really good friends with Daniel [Zachariou] and his family. It’s always good to see them again. It’s just exciting. Everything about it excites me. I’m thrilled and honoured to be returning.”
What did you do before you got into voice acting?
“I did a lot of musical theatre. I started out singing at a very young age. I got very interested in singing at around, I think, 2 or 3. For some reason, I just loved to sing. I got really into listening to records. My mother and father were both huge music lovers. So, I started singing at a very young age, and anything I could do that pertained to singing – musical theatre, talent contests. After that it became singing, dancing, and acting. Everything about the theatre, the stage, performing, and entertaining people just thrilled me. So, anything i could sink my teeth into that pertained to entertaining people, was just – I loved everything about it. I think it all started with the singing and then it grew into this acting and the musical theatre and as I got older I started mimicking voices that I would hear on the TV. Then once I started singing and laying down vocal work with some bands, and I had been singing at college age, I met some people that were recording voices for Dragon Ball Z and I guess it was kind of at the right place at the right time, and they remembered me and we exchanged information, so when it was time to do the casting and the auditions, I was contacted and that’s kind of how it happened. It was great.”
What’s it been like being with Gohan since the very beginning?
“It’s great. At first I wasn’t sure really what the whole show was about. I had a lot to learn going into it. I’d never heard of Japanese anime, but after I had been working on the show for a while I learned a lot about the show and the characters and the stories behind it. Of course, I kind of dove in when Gohan was a young child and then as Gohan grew up, and we finished the Dragon Ball Z saga then the Dragonball property was picked up, and I was cast as Goku as a child. Because Gohan and Goku are related, the voices could be similar. That was really, really neat that I could play this other boy’s voice and we were able to finish that saga and then pick up where Goku was turned back into a child. And, then from there I did some other little fun voices, Baby Trunks, and it’s just been a lot of fun. I love doing voicework in general but absolutely my favourite is definitely character voice over work. Hands down that is absolutely my most favourite. It’s just been quite a roller-coaster ride.
Do you have a particular favourite character to voice?
“You know, I love them all, I have to say. I have a little relationship with all of them, but I guess the one I like the best would have to be Kid Goku. I think it’s because he’s so innocent and he’s so cute. He’s truly got this little heart of gold and he truly just wants to save the world and I think that just little boy cute innocence – the little boy I could never be and I just embraced that. I absolutely adore children; I don’t have any, I’ve always wanted to be a mum, so I think that playing the voice of a child – something about playing the voice of kid Goku has just been near and dear to my heart. I’d have to say Kid Goku was the one that I latched onto the most.”
I can understand that – Goku is the first character a lot of people think of when they think of Dragon Ball!
“He’s just so carefree, and he laughs a lot, and he just does cute little kid things and he just doesn’t even think about it. He doesn’t have a care in the world. It’s so carefree and enlightening. I hear some of the feedback from some of the fans that watching the show has gotten them through some hard times and that in particular really touches me because I went through some tough times in my life, so when I hear these stories of kids – well, really not just children, but people of all ages that are fans of the show and they come to me and tell me that my voice or my contribution to the show helped them through tough times, that really really touches my soul because I feel like I have purpose and that is very meaningful to me. If I can help somebody and touch somebody and help somebody through some difficult times, then I feel like I’m doing something good in this world.”
Finally, what’s next for you work-wise?
“Right now, I’m submerged in working with my own band, it’s called Moonglass. I’ve worked with some amazing musicians in the Dallas Fort Worth area. I’ve been booking the band myself, so I’ve been learning how to be a booking agent, which has been very interesting. Just parties and restaurants and retirement communities. I really enjoy working with seniors. We do a lot of oldies, four part harmonies, RnB, Soul, Jazz, so I’ve been doing a lot more singing. I’m just dancing around with all kinds of different ideas. Singing here, doing some radio spots for a friend of mine who works at a radio station. So, I’m kind of dabbling in all kinds of things right now.”