Interview with WhisperingLife, the first ASMR artist

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian ResponseWhisperingLife has her Bachelors of Science degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing and is currently a Dispensing Optician in Nottingham, England.

WhisperingLife is not her real name, she prefers to keep that private.  But this was the name she chose as her alias in early 2009 when she created the first whisper-dedicated channel on YouTube.

For this historical milestone, she is often referred to as the first ASMR artist.

Before jumping into the interview I want to provide more context and background about WhisperingLife.

Although some whisper videos were loosely scattered throughout YouTube by early 2009, these individual whisper videos were not created and posted to relax and soothe viewers.  These people were whispering in the videos because they did not want to be heard by others nearby.

Yet, these whisper videos appealed greatly to a growing niche audience whom deeply enjoyed and/or were relaxed by listening to videos of people whispering.

And it was one of those videos which inspired a young woman in Nottingham, England to create a channel just for that growing niche audience.

When WhisperingLife created her YouTube channel in 2009, she was 20 years old, she was working a full time job, she was a nursing student, and she lived with her boyfriend.

On March 26, 2009, WhisperingLife uploaded her first video to YouTube titled, “Whisper-1 hello!”  It was 1 minute and 46 seconds long, and included the following description,

“I know this might sound really weird to some, but i love hearing people whisper!  So i though i would make a whispering channel.  No haters please.  If you don’t like it then get off my channel…simple as 🙂  For those of you who love to hear people whisper too…i hope you like my whispers!! Xx”

She did not initially tell anyone about her whisper channel – but after posting a few videos she shared her secret with a few select individuals.

Over the course of more than 5 years she uploaded a total of 156 videos.  Most of these were whisper-only videos but they also included ASMR trigger sound videos of keyboards, doodling, magazines and other sounds.

Also during this time span she switched her studies from Nursing to Ophthalmic Dispensing and became engaged to her boyfriend.

On July 28, 2014, WhisperingLife uploaded her last video titled, “Farewell! (I am not deleting my account). “  It was 8 minutes long, and included the following description,

“This may not come as a surprise to most of you….i won’t be making any more videos (i haven’t made one in ages anyway so you’re not missing much).  I’m very sorry to say that i just haven’t got the interest or motivation to do videos anymore and i feel like i shouldn’t make any because you will be able to tell in my voice.  I WILL NOT delete my account.  I have however deleted my facebook account.  I am getting married on Thursday!!  And i have finished my degree, so it’s all happening at the moment.  I’m very happy 😀 Thank you so so much to everyone who has listened, commented, messaged and supported me through the past 5 years.  You are all awesome and i wouldn’t have lasted this long without you.”

As she promised, WhisperingLife did not delete her videos.  Her videos can still be viewed on her YouTube channel – which currently has 3,861 subscribers and 1,125,992 views.

And now, let’s catch up with WhisperingLife.

In my interview with WhisperingLife she shares the exact moment it occurred to her to create a whisper-dedicated channel, her concerns and challenges she had with her channel, the reactions from the few people she has revealed her identity to, her perspectives on how ASMR artists and channels have changed over time, if she has plans to create more videos, and she also shares recent updates on her life.

Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to her YouTube channel and more information about her.

Do you remember the whisper videos you enjoyed before starting your channel?  Was any single whisper video more influential than the others? 

WhisperingLife, “Yes, I used to watch the Big Brother videos where they used to whisper to each other so the camera couldn’t quite pick them up. The inaudible conversations were really relaxing to me and helped me wind down in the evening.

I also used to watch Lita’s massage videos.”

Do you remember the exact moment it occurred to you to start a whisper-only channel?

WhisperingLife, “I was watching a Big Brother video and reading through the comments. Someone had commented that they wished there was a more whispering (I can’t remember who it was).  I then realized that I wasn’t the only one watching these videos for the whispering.

I then searched on YouTube for a channel dedicated to whispering but there wasn’t one. That’s when I decided I’d make my own.

I had seen a few people express the same interest in whispering as I did so I thought they might like to hear me whispering.  I never knew so many people would like it!!

My channel grew pretty quickly.  I did feel a bit odd at first, but I soon got into it (hence all the videos haha).  Whispering myself was also weirdly therapeutic for me, I didn’t like listening to myself though.”

Why did you decide to call the channel “WhisperingLife”? Was this an easy decision or did you wrestle with other names?

WhisperingLife, “To be honest I don’t actually know.  I think it just came to me.  I could make some story up about me wanting to whisper life into people or something crazy like that but I won’t haha.”

Why was keeping your identity private important to you then and still is now?

WhisperingLife, “I never totally felt comfortable whispering for people and thought it was strange that I and other people enjoyed it.  I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy.  I wanted to keep my identity private just in case anyone I knew stumbled across my videos.

Also keeping my face hidden was always my plan.  I never wanted to show my full face (although I did once upload a photo of myself on my whisperinglife facebook account). I guess I just wanted people to listen to me rather than see me.  When I watched videos I was never bothered about actually watching it…just listening.”

What doubts or concerns did you have when you started the WhisperingLife channel?

WhisperingLife, “I was always worried that someone would recognize my voice or stuff I said in my videos would give my identity away.  In the early days I often thought about deleting my channel but there’s no point now as my videos have been put on other sites so I can never really delete them.”

What challenges did you have with the creation and maintenance of your channel?

WhisperingLife, “Well, as you can tell I could never afford a good camera or microphone. So most of my videos are poor quality.

When the community started growing I really felt like I couldn’t compete.  I’m not very computer savvy so I never knew how to edit videos or alter settings to make it sound better.  That’s why my videos are just one shot and upload!  Very basic…but some have said they like it that way so it’s not all bad.

Sometimes I would record a video and not even listen to it before uploading.  So some videos I have no idea if they’re any good, but I always got lovely comments and messages so they couldn’t have been too bad!”

What do you remember the most about the comments and feedback you received to your channel?

WhisperingLife, “I can remember being totally overwhelmed by the lovely and supportive comments and messages I used to get (and still do!).  My listeners were all so nice and I felt very grateful for that.

Obviously there were times I got negative feedback too but I just tried to take that on the chin and get on with it.

Some of the messages that really stuck in my mind were people thanking me.  Some would say I helped them de-stress or get to sleep and others would say it was helping with their depression.  These are what kept me going for as long as I did.”

What cameras and microphones did you use?

WhisperingLife, “I used an iPhone 3GS, a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, and I think I used a Logitech microphone headset for some of the videos.  I can’t remember the other cameras I might have used.”

What influenced you to do other sounds besides whispering? (eg, some videos included keyboard sounds, doodling sounds, cats purring, jewelry sounds, magazine sounds, jar sounds, piles of pens)

WhisperingLife, “Purely people requesting them.  Although no one requested the cats…I just liked filming them haha.

I thought I could join in the ASMR videos of trigger sounds but I never really liked making them to be honest.  I much preferred to just do a simple whisper.”

Did any of your friends or family members know that you created the channel? Who was the first person you told?  Who else did you tell along the way?

WhisperingLife, “I told my boyfriend (now husband) first.  He just said he always knew I was a little strange so he was quite understanding.  He never liked whispering the way I did though.

Then I told one of my sisters who you hear in one of my videos.  She was well up for doing a video with me and we had lots of fun making it.

I told one of my other sisters a few years ago and she didn’t respond that well.  She makes fun of it.

I haven’t told anyone else.”

Has anyone who knew you in the real world ever figured out it was you?

WhisperingLife, “Nope, never. I’m glad about that though.”

Did the content creators of these early whisper/ASMR channels have direct communications and a special community?

WhisperingLife, “I remember we all used to keep in touch and recommend each other’s channels in our videos.

I also made a group (before YouTube got rid of groups) where we used to post stuff.  It was nice and simple.  It definitely felt more like a family unit back then, to me anyway.  I’m not sure how the others felt.

I could actually keep track of videos and new whisperers back then.  But now it’s gone crazy (which is a great thing!) and I can’t keep up haha.”

How do you think ASMR artists and channels have evolved and changed since your channel?

WhisperingLife, “Massively!  People are going on television and ASMR is being researched.

I am just a simple whisperer and I don’t have much to do with the ASMR community.  I like it that way though.

It’s amazing looking at all the great effort that is put into the videos.  People have amazing cameras and recording equipment and they know how to edit!!  I wouldn’t even know where to start with all that.

Some ASMR artists have such great imagination too, it’s amazing to watch!”

Are you still in contact with anyone in the ASMR community these days?

WhisperingLife, “Nope not really.  I met face to face with TheWhisperingVoice to make a video.  We spent the day together in Nottingham and it was great.  He is such a lovely, genuine man.  I was definitely a bit of a fangirl around him at first as he’s my favorite whisperer.

Do you have any favorite ASMR artists or channels that you would like to mention?

WhisperingLife, “As mentioned before, TheWhisperingVoice is definitely my favourite.  His voice is just so relaxing.  WhispersRed is also a fave.  I do have others that I like but I could go on forever.”

Do you have any plans to create more ASMR videos?

WhisperingLife, “Possibly.  I honestly don’t know at this moment in time to be honest.  There’s way too many things going off in my life so I don’t want to commit to making videos again and then have to leave.”

What updates about your life would you like to share?

WhisperingLife, “My husband and I had a little girl In August.  She is perfect and everything I could have hoped for.  I am really enjoying motherhood.   2015 was a really busy year for me, having a baby, selling and buying a house, graduating as a dispensing optician.

There’s also some negative things that happened but I won’t go into them.  But overall it was amazing and I’m looking forward to 2016.”

Click HERE to visit WhisperingLife’s YouTube Channel and enjoy her historical videos.

Click HERE to hear more about the story of WhisperingLife and her whisper videos (podcast episode about WhisperingLife).

Click HERE for a timeline about the History of ASMR – includes dates, quotes, links, and audio stories about the History of ASMR.

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

2 thoughts on “Interview with WhisperingLife, the first ASMR artist

  1. Pingback: History of ASMR: Interview with WhisperingLife, the first ASMR artist (podcast episode #6) - ASMR Bar

  2. Pingback: Interview with WhisperingLife, the first ASMR artist (podcast) | ASMR University

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