Before becoming the voice for iconic brands such as Wendy’s, Miller Lite, McDonald’s, and more, Dandrell Lance Scott ’08 was just a kid with big dreams.
Growing up in the town of Harvey, Scott aspired to be an actor, and whenever he expressed these aspirations, people pointed towards Illinois State University. Much so that after winning the IHSA Speech Championship for Original Comedy, Scott received a scholarship to study theatre at ISU. It was his sign that he had to take the opportunity and begin to make his dreams a reality.
While Scott originally started off as an acting major, his interests were leading him elsewhere as he explored directing films and writing scripts. Unlike today, when Scott attended ISU, there was no film and digital media program. This led him to pursue a degree in the next best thing, cinema studies.
Although he wasn’t writing scripts, Scott was interacting with film in a new way through analyses and critiques. However, diving into the themes, concepts, and objectives of films were not enough for Scott. He would soon take his interests in the entertainment world one step further by getting involved outside of the classroom.
“My fondest memory comes from my standup performances,” said Scott. “I told my first joke at Theater of Ted and fell in love with it! Eventually, I was known as the ‘campus comedian,’ which led to hosting events for the Black Student Union, Greek Scene, Redbird Committee, and Profound Pioneers.”
Scott would take his love of performing to the next level following graduation when he signed with a non-union talent agency. When Scott’s agent, informed him of a job doing voiceover work for Chicago Public Schools, his career was about to change forever. Although Scott wouldn’t take his next voiceover job for a few years later, working for Chicago Public Schools introduced him to the world of voiceover.
After his work with CPS, Scott then booked a radio ad with McDonald’s, and before he knew it, the voiceover jobs were pouring in. From Wendy’s to Walmart, the name Dandrell Lance Scott was becoming well-known in the voiceover world.
“In one day, I booked six voiceover jobs, two commercial parts, and one TV role,” said Scott.
Not only was Scott booking multiple jobs, but he was also building working relationships with well-known brands. In 2020, Scott became the official announcer for Wendy’s, and his hard work and talent would not go unnoticed.
Scott was recently nominated at the 2021 One Voice Awards, a ceremony that celebrates those in the voice acting industry. From voice acting legends and newcomers to sound engineers and casting directors, the One Voice Awards celebrate both those behind and in front of the mic. Scott received nominations for “Radio Commercials Best Male Performance” for his work with the Miller Lite 2020 Football Alliance and for “Voiceover Newcome of the Year” for his work with Wendy’s. He was up against the best in the voiceover industry, and for Scott, it meant more than just being nominated for an award.
“Out of thousands of voiceover actors, I was nominated twice. That means my vocal performances are highly revered in an industry that would not have accepted me decades ago,” said Scott. “Consequently, this gives an example for other Black voiceover actors to excel and succeed, without feeling inadequate. You don’t have to sound like everyone else to be special.”
While voiceover has been a huge part of Scott’s career, his talents don’t stop there. In addition to radio ads and commercials, Scott has also taken roles on shows like The Chi, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med. Scott notes that his role as Mitchell Adams on Chicago P.D. was one of his favorite projects to work on.
“It’s my favorite part because it showcased my dramatic abilities,” said Scott. “Plus, it was my first television role, so that’s memorable within itself. From the actor trailer to the wardrobe to craft services, the entire experience was amazing!”
Although he can’t give any hints, as to where we can see him next, Scott did say he will be making his way back to the small screen for some television appearances in the near future.
In addition to his acting and voiceover roles, Scott has also found time to launch a t-shirt brand, Bad Clothes Company, and release a hip-hop album called King of Everything, Vol. 1. His ability to juggle his career and side hustles with his personal life is something Scott can trace back to his time as a theatre major at ISU.
“Being a theatre major meant performing on stage, memorizing lines, and handling practicum duties, while studying and working a part-time job,” said Scott. “College gave me a lot of practice with time management.”
While Scott has already accomplished a lot, he’s not done yet. From signing voiceover extensions with Miller Lite and Alka Seltzer to continuing his work for Wendy’s, Scott’s career is only just beginning.
Next time you hear a commercial from one of your favorite brands, listen closely because it may just be Scott coming through your speakers.