By Crystal Harrell
Bonnie Gilgallon is the definition of a Renaissance woman, having showcased her talents over the span of her successful career as a singer, actress, voiceover artist, voiceover coach, radio host, writer, and news anchor. Gilgallon knows the importance of using your voice to spread a message or create a lasting idea, and she has blossomed into a notable personality in the desert.
Talent runs in the family, as Gilgallon’s mother was a writer, director and singer, which led her to start acting and singing as a child.
“It’s a bit ironic that I grew up to be an actress, singer, voiceover artist and radio show host, since I did not speak at all until I was two years old. My parents were concerned I had developmental issues. In truth, I was just shy and had a very talkative older sister. These days, I love using my voice as a creative outlet for self-expression,” said Gilgallon.
While she was in college studying vocal music, a friend of hers worked at a radio station and asked Gilgallon to do some commercial spots for him. That was her introduction to doing voiceover work.
Moving to the Coachella Valley from her home in Washington D.C. kickstarted Gilgallon’s career, as she was quickly hired by KNWZ radio as a news anchor and reporter, and developed a weekend entertainment/magazine show called “The Desert Scene.” Gilgallon interviewed many local performers and celebrities like Rita Coolidge, Peter Marshall, Diahann Carroll, and the late Debbie Reynolds.
From radio news, Gilgallon then branched out into theatre, having performed in many stage productions and winning five Desert Theatre League awards, including the prestigious Bill Kuhlman Award for supporting theatre behind the scenes.
“Audiences here in the desert really love the jazz standards of the big band era like Rosemary Clooney, Ella, and Sinatra, which is fabulous, since that’s my forte as a singer. My recent tribute to the Rosemary Clooney cabaret show, at both the Arthur Newman Theatre and as part of the Palm Desert Library’s ‘Sunday Sounds’ series was a huge success,” explained Gilgallon.
Just last year, this local personality achieved a long-time goal of recording her first jazz CD entitled If I Love Again with some local musicians. Gilgallon was even honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2017.
“I am so grateful to be part of the entertainment scene here!” exclaimed Gilgallon, who currently teaches voice lessons for Such a Voice. She has been with the company for almost three years, working with students one-on-one via Skype to teach them voice acting techniques.
“I love the rapport I develop with my students, and watching them conquer any fears or emotional issues and find their voice, both literally and figuratively,” revealed Gilgallon.
Through her work with Such a Voice, Gilgallon has gotten to participate in a campaign with the blood donation company Lifestream and has been the voice introducing the winners at the local Philanthropy Awards Luncheon for the past three years. In her voiceover training lessons, she urges her students to “paint the picture.”
“In a radio ad, the listener cannot actually see the product we’re describing, so we must create that vision in their mind using descriptive words and intensity. Knowing who you’re talking to and what the backstory might be is also crucial. Our job is always to connect with the listener and make them feel something,” said Gilgallon.
One piece of advice that Gilgallon would give to those interested in voice acting is to get some good training. “There are several good options, but I do recommend Such a Voice. We have a great rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we provide you with not just the technique training, but demos, and advice on home studios and marketing.”
Although Gilgallon’s schedule is somewhat hectic, she likes to focus on relaxation, meditation and gratitude during her downtime. Taking walks around her neighborhood, enjoying the views of the mountains, and listening to the motivational tapes of Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer are her favorite peaceful activities.
“Their words of wisdom have gotten me through some pretty tough times. My favorite Louise Hay affirmations are ‘Only good lies before me’ and ‘Everything I need comes to me in the perfect time/space sequence,’” revealed Gilgallon.
As for new ventures in her career, Gilgallon would like to branch out into doing voice work for audio books, as she has mostly done just commercials and narrations. Writing professionally is another one of her creative outlets. Gilgallon is currently working on a book about the significant spiritual growth she experienced following a health crisis a few years ago.
“As an actress, I just want to keep doing roles that challenge me, and work with terrific directors. I also want to keep growing as a singer, taking my cabaret show to larger venues, and performing on a more regular basis here in the Valley,” she stated. “I wear a lot of hats. Sometimes it’s a challenge juggling them all, but I really wouldn’t change a thing!”