The story behind the voice of the GPS: daughter of a Spanish driver and adopted Argentinian, now she dares to sing

Interview with Susana Ballesteros, the voice of GPS

Although he could not specify the date, the anecdote must date from a little more than five years ago. During one of his visits to Argentina, Susan Ballesteros (40) got into a van and told the driver a destination. The man noted the address in his GPS and, while following the instructions of “the Galician”, from the back seat of the car, Susana was tempted to laugh. “Was I listening to my voiceshe says, referring to the voiceover work she did for the navigation app in 2014 that she says she’s “very proud of”.

The surrender anecdote continues and has an unexpected ending, if you will. “As this driver had already taken me several times, I told him that the voice of the GPS was me. And what happened? To this day, we are friends on Instagram. Sometimes he writes to me and I write to him. it looks cute to me“, assures the most famous co-pilot in the world who, in addition to being an animator, is a voice actor, journalist and, now, also a singer. Last year he released his first music video for the song, I already take care of myself and, two months ago, he created his second montage, Leave me.

Susan was born in Mostolesa city located southwest of Madrid, but which grew in Villaviciosa de Odo. Daughter of a psychologist and a (care) bus driver, the Madrid native began her career as a voice professional linked to her ancestors.

“All of my father’s family, my grandfather and my uncles, are linked to the road and cars. Since I was little, I have always seen my father with the bus (Editor’s note: bus), make long-distance journeys. It seems to me very curious that I, who have nothing to do with this guild, somehow do it now: as if accompanying and guiding with my voicesays Susana, who currently lives in Los Angeles (United States), where she settled more than fifteen years ago.

Susana’s father, like her grandfather and uncles, was a bus driver. “I find it very curious that I, who have nothing to do with this guild, somehow do it now: I kind of accompany and guide with my voice,” he says.

Another lesser known fact is that Susana also gives her voice to “Calm”, an application to meditate and stay calm which includes everything from guided meditations to bedtime stories and breathing programs. Believe it or not, that voiceover work you recorded also connects to your family history.

“When we lived in Móstoles, I was afraid of some boys in my neighborhood and at night all these fears were heightened. Since my parents were super tired from work and didn’t have time to sit down and read a story to me, I started listening to stories told from a recording. It was a very warm voice that, in addition to making me feel loved and accompanied, helped me sleep”, she recalls and says that she is very excited to be “on the other side”, now .

That by my voice I make a person feel safe, accompanied and loved, based on a story that I tell, seems very pleasant to me. Just as the voices of other speakers were important to me at the time, I wish mine were just as important to others.“, he adds.

In addition to singing, Susana Ballesteros makes audiobook recordings, voices for different applications, commercials and dubbing.
In addition to singing, Susana Ballesteros makes audiobook recordings, voices for different applications, commercials and dubbing.

dare to sing

Although she became known as “the voice of GPS”, Susana Ballesteros’ life has always been marked by music. “My mother used to sing in choirs when she was young, and besides, she listened to music all the time. I grew up with the songs of Joan Báez, James Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, Simon and Garfunkel, Bárbara Streisand… A lot of great artists. Good, I was named ‘Susana’ after Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Suzanne’“, account.

At 8 years old, also encouraged by her mother, he began to study music and play the violin. During these years -says the woman whose voice functions as an infallible compass- acquired “clueless” fame in his family. The reason? “My sister studied the piano and I the violin. Every day we went to class together. Turns out one time she couldn’t come and I I had to make a map so I wouldn’t get lost. “But how come you can’t go alone, Susana?” If you have been with me for years, he tells me.

Susana (left) and her sister.  As a child, I listened to music and stories told with a walkman
Susana (left) and her sister. As a child, I listened to music and stories told with a walkman

Although she was “confused,” Susana was always clear about her purpose in relation to her calling. “I wanted to be a singer. I’ve known him since I was in kindergarten. The problem is that I had idealized him too much. It was as if he was in an eternal preparation loop. As if I had never sung well enough to say: ‘I am a singer’. I spent years stuck in this loop,” she says.

And he continues: “I had a hard time leaving this place. It was a long process. I started to meditate. I started therapy about a year and a half ago, and it helped me a lot to realize that I’m already everything I need to beexplains Susana, from the professional studio she has set up at her home in North Hollywood, where in addition to singing, she makes audiobook recordings, voices for different applications, commercials and dubbing.

As she takes the stage as a soloist, the Madridista swears she doesn’t mind being called ‘the voice of the GPS’. I don’t mind because it’s a job that I did with a lot of love and of which I am very proud. Although it is an honor for me, I would like to be remembered more Susana Ballesteros“, He says.

His last show was at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood.  The next one will take place on July 8 in Madrid
His last show was at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. The next one will take place on July 8 in Madrid

Argentina by adoption

When she traveled from Madrid to Los Angeles, in 2006, Susana arrived in search of new work horizons and life surprised her with a romance. Three days after landing, he says, he met the Argentinian Gerard Pratalso an announcer, and it was a crush.

He picked me up at the hotel to take me to a premiere and teach me how to cover red carpets.. When I saw him, I thought he was so handsome… (laughs). Then he took his glasses off and I saw his big green eyes and I said, ‘Ah’. Well, you see, now we’re married and with two daughters,” he says, as if reliving the moment.

Susana and Gerardo on their wedding day
Susana and Gerardo on their wedding day

She has traveled several times to our country, says Susana. Meet the Iguazú Falls, Bariloche, Salta, Jujuy. He even vacationed in Cordoba. “I feel at home when I’m in Argentina. Also, if I go to a store in Los Angeles and hear an Argentinian accent, it causes me the same sympathy as if I hear Spanish. It’s as if they came from my country“, he assures and it is impossible not to believe it.

During the interview, the Madrilenian will ask what the expression ‘Ah re’ means, now used by many young people. He also wants to understand what he means: “Type everything, type nothing”.

Before saying goodbye, Susana says that next July 8 he will give a concert at the Jazzville bar in Madrid. In mid-June, the 17th, he sang at The Hotel Café in Hollywood. “I would love to do a show in Buenos Aires to complete the perfect triangle Hollywood – Madrid – Argentina. I hope that at the end of this year or next year I can achieve this,” he enthuses.

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