published in AudioFile (December 2015/January 2016)
At age 6, Euan Morton found himself surrounded by snowballs made of rolled-up newspapers, playing Frosty the Snowman for a children’s festival. He knew then that he wanted to be an actor or a singer. He didn’t know that one could be both or, of course, that he would grow up to fulfill both dreams.
Morton narrated his first audiobooks while at college in London. “I discovered immediately that I love the freeing environment where it’s just me, a pair of headphones, and a microphone, and I get to use my imagination in ways that I’ve never used it on stage.” In the theater, Morton explains, you’re getting constant feedback, working to create a director’s vision and sometimes competing with fellow actors. “In the studio, everyone involved wants listeners to fall in love with the characters and the audiobook. There’s not the same level of camaraderie in the theater.”
Morton listens to very little of his audio, television, or singing work. “I can’t experience it without thinking about the wrong; I never see the right.” He had a different experience after recording DIARY OF A MAD BROWNIE (Book from Random House; audio from Listening Library) which is his first time performing in his native Scottish. He saw its success immediately. “My son went crazy for it and has been doing all the lines and voices. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to get a 6-year-old involved in a story.”
He’s also just recorded Rainbow Rowell’s CARRY ON (Book from St. Martin’s Griffin and audio from Macmillan) and was immediately impressed with the two heroes and the beauty of their falling in love. “Every time something was about to go wrong, I thought ‘please let this couple survive,’ even though I’d already read the book and knew the outcome. It’s one of the few books that had me crying in the studio.”
Morton’s father wasn’t around very much when he was young. “So it was just me and my mum, and I thought reading was up to me. So I dove in and became an avid reader early on.” For him, reading aloud is a passion, and he feels he learned to use the English language well in speaking and writing and narrating because of his early reading. His audio travels take time away from reading aloud with his son, but recently he sent a copy of Roald Dahl’s THE BFG–“which was one of my favorite books when I was a kid”–and they read it together via Facetime.
Aside from this one downside, Morton says, “I think I would honestly be able to stop doing all the other aspects of my career as long as I could still have audio work. It’s a dream that’s come true and keeps coming true every day.”