Obama is Caribbean for the Spanish version of 'A Promised Land'
This is not the first time Dominican broadcaster Victor Sabi is the voice of a former U.S. president. But this one is quickly becoming one of the best of its kind.
In the world of voice overs, there are those we instantly link to a character. The effect is that when the same voice artist dubs another person, listeners appreciate it as an anomaly.
This dynamic especially happens in Spanish voice overs.
The same happens with audiobooks — a trend that has been on the rise again after some down years, and is seeing the Hispanic market become a major target.
Ask Dominican broadcaster Víctor Sabi, 27, who was elected to be the voice of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, in the Spanish-language audiobook of A Promised Land.
Sabi has a long history of lending his voice to international icons, such as South African President Nelson Mandela. However, he had to go through a rigorous selection process before he could embody Obama.
"There were very capable and talented voices at the international level, the Caribbean and the United States and Latin America, including the Dominican Republic," Sabi told Telemundo referring to the international casting he had to pass.
In the end, he was surprised to be chosen and looks at the opportunity as not only a boost to his career, but also to communication on the Caribbean island.
The actor, who is currently working on another audio book for an international leader — although who is still confidential — discovered audiobook voice-over world after taking a course on the subject.
Sabi joined World Voices, a nonprofit professional association of voice over artists, and began focusing on the audiobook niche.
Now, A Long Road to Freedom, the autobiography of Mandela, which he narrated, is nominated for the Society of Arts and Sciences Voice Award for Audio Narration in the categories of "Non-Fiction" and for "Best Voice in Spanish."
"There is no project that is too big if you are prepared. Be prepared and keep growing," the artist advises young Latinos fighting for their dreams.
A Promised Land is expected to become a far greater success than Mandela's, and according to AP, within a month of its publication, it is on track to become the best-selling presidential memoir of modern times.
By last Wednesday, Dec. 16, it had sold more than 3.3 million copies in the U.S. and Canada, competing with other bestselling memoirs in history such as Bill Clinton's My Life or George W. Bush's Decision Points, which sold between 3.5 and 4 million copies each.
The best-selling political autobiography of all-time is Ulysses S. Grant's Personal Memoirs, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies when it was published in the 1880s, and remains in print. There are no accurate records of its total sales.
A Promised Land is the first of two planned volumes and covers Obama's election in 2008 and much of his first term. No release date has been set for the second book. Previous works, written before he was president, include the critically-acclaimed My Father's Dreams and The Audacity of Hope.