For many of us, the inauguration was the first time we saw and heard Amanda Gorman. Walking up to that microphone, Ms. Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in history. As she said the words:​

"... being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it's the past we step into
and how we repair it"

— Amanda Gorman secured her place as a role-model and a voice for her generation.

Today, Amanda Gorman's voice is resolute. Yet, it wasn't clear as a child that her future self would be reading aloud a poem she wrote, let alone reading a poem in front of the world. Diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder in kindergarten, Gorman has struggled with speech articulation issues for most of her life. To this day, she still has difficulties with saying particular letters.

"We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one."

Watch below as she shares with Anderson Cooper how writing and spoken word poetry became a form of speech therapy. ​

Amanda Gorman has been busy. She was named the first youth poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014. She published her first book of poems, "The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough," in 2015 at 17-years old. The next year, she founded the nonprofit organization One Pen One Page, a youth writing and leadership program for underserved youth.

In 2017 she was named the first national U.S. Youth Poet Laureate. Last year she graduated from Harvard University. And in 2021, Amanda Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet ever and the first poet to perform at the Super Bowl. In a publishing deal with Viking Books — Ms. Gorman is releasing a collection of poetry next month —"The Hill We Climb." In September 2021, she will be publishing a book of poetry for children.

What comes next?! We are excited to watch Amanda Gorman's future unfold. Honestly, we wouldn't be surprised if what she told Hillary Clinton is correct:​

Amanda Gorman's vocal style is filled with fiery youthful passion and unwavering hope. The way she uses her voice instills trust and familiarity.​ There is warmth wrapped up with the cool unwavering steadiness of confidence. The way she uses her voice instills trust and understanding.​ She can connect with anyone with one word.

I can envision students benefiting from educational applications that utilized digital voices that harnessed the power of vocal characteristics similar to Gorman's voice. A use case such as this could potentially keep them engaged, active, and excited to learn through active participation, particularly during this time of Covid-19 and remote learning.

However, voices such as hers aren't currently represented in the digital voices dominating the markets. But, imagine the possibilities, if the world of digital voice matched the world of human voice. If it was as dynamic and expressive? More representative? Guess what, now it can be — learn more about AI-Voice.


Steam voices are defined as Soft, High, Breathy, and Nasal. Learn more about the unique characteristics that make up our voices and voice types here: VOCALiD Voice Types.

This is the eighteenth in our Iconic Black Voices series. Make sure to come back to our blog every day this month as we highlight more iconic Black voices in celebration of Black History Month.

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