TikTok's text-to-speech 'Jessie' voice Kat Callaghan on her new Calm Sleep Story

TikTok's text-to-speech 'Jessie' voice Kat Callaghan on her new Calm Sleep Story

Kat Callaghan, the voice behind TikTok's 'Jessie' text-to-speech captions told Indy100 about her TikTok journey and her new Sleep Story with Calm

Kat Callaghan/Calm

If you're on TikTok then there is no doubt you're familiar with Jessie, one of the text-to-speech voices who narrates users' captions on the platform.

The bright and upbeat tone of Jessie isn't a product of AI, but is actually the voice of a real person - Canadian radio host and voice artist, Kat Callaghan.

Last year, the 37-year-old mum-of-two surprised users with her big reveal, confessing she was the voice behind the “Jessie” text-to-audio on TikTok, and receiving a whopping 50.2m views.


For a long time I didn’t say a word. But … yes it’s me and yes I have an ongoing awesome relationship with the folks at TikTok. 🎉 The coolest part for me is watching the creativity & awesome content that people are putting out there using my voice. (Also oddly enough this is my first TikTok)

Since then, Kat has been inundated with messages from users about how soothing they find her voice to be - so much so they even fall asleep to her talking.

With this in mind, Callaghan has recently collaborated with Calm - the leading mental health brand to create a Sleep Story, titled Once Upon A TikTok Tale. The Sleep Story,narrated by Kat herself.

Listeners can expect to be taken on an "immersive journey through popular TikTok trends," where they will be transported to "a series of dreamy locations; based on surreal, sleepy versions of popular TikTok genres," all through Kat's distinctive voice.

A rhyming script from the start, this Sleep Story transitions between sections using audio trickery, lo-fi beats vinyl crackles (TikTok-style), ASMR with some L/R panning, and also includes a 20+ min sleep phase which becomes quite trippy and cosmic with Kat’s voice gradually become slower and sleepier as the tale proceeds.

Ahead of the launch of her Calm Sleep Story on, Callaghan told Indy100 all about how she became one of the world's most recognisable voices and her collaboration with Calm.

How did you begin your career as a radio host and voice artist?

I knew pretty early on that I better do something that involved a lot of talking, or else I would have been in trouble at work more often! Broadcasting just seemed like a perfect fit for me.

After doing a co-op in highschool at a Television Station, I decided to go to College for a TV and Radio Broadcasting Program. I got a job at a radio station in my first year and that was it for me – I was hooked.

Part of being an announcer is also lending your voice to commercials occasionally. So I decided to set up my own studio at home, which led to Kat Callaghan Voiceovers being official in 2015.

To this day, I still host a syndicated radio show in Canada called the Scott and Kat Show - we have been working together since 2012!

Did you realise millions of people would be hearing your voice?

To be honest, it didn't dawn on me that my voice would be heard by millions, or more. Although it’s available in North America, all you have to do is follow an account to hear.

It wasn’t until my reveal that I realized the amount of people that hear it on a daily basis! It was also a shock to me that the voice is used as much as it is.

I knew it was such a different voice, unlike anything you heard from a Text-To-Speech option… so I knew that could have gone either way

Callaghan has become one of the most recognisable voices as millions of TikTok users have used the 'Jessie' text-to-speech option on the app.Kat Callaghan

As a mum of two – do your kids know you’ve got one of the world’s most famous voices?

My oldest daughter is 6, so she’s starting to hear things about TikTok but she doesn’t have any form of social media yet. She thinks it’s funny when I do the voice, but I think at this point she does not realise the extent of it.

When I revealed myself as the voice I could tell there must have been people at her school talking about it because she came home one day saying “MOM! My teachers say we have been in the news!

Why did you decide to wait before revealing your identity? What was the response?

I waited for a couple of reasons. Firstly, people took a while to get used to the text-to-voice option. I didn’t know if anyone would use it at all! In fact, there were certainly a lot of haters.

I could tell people did not know there was a real person behind each of these voices. Even once it became a popular TTS (text-to-speech) option, I had to consider whether letting people know would be a good idea.

Once I told people, I couldn't go back. As you all know – I just decided to go for it! I received so many DMs through the first year from people asking if it was me that I thought “Why not…” and I am glad I did!

Even though the haters were there, for the most part, I have heard from so many people saying they love the voice, use it on their pages, and fall asleep to it every night.

For some, it has become a type of comfort. Which is why this collaboration with Calm is just perfect, allowing users to fall asleep to Jessie’s soothing voice.

How has your life changed since revealing your identity?

Life has changed quite a bit! My voiceover business has been busy, which is incredible. I have had the opportunity to work on so many cool projects - Calm included.

Personally, it has changed by opening my eyes to a new world in which the voice is being used.

I have heard from a lot of people that thanked me for my voice. It allows them to be a part of social media and gives, them a voice if they have none, or help those who are not comfortable using their own.

I realized accessibility is a big issue. Everyone should feel included and BE included. And how cool is it that my voice has been helping people do that?

Are you a regular user of TikTok?

Yes, I have TikTok and I use it! I probably check it once a day, although honestly I keep notifications turned off because I find it can be a bit overwhelming.

How does it feel to come across viral videos where you can hear your voice?

When I do scroll around on my For You Page, I love seeing people use the voice. It’s so cool. I mean, there are other options there but they chose to use mine! I also post on my VoiceOfKat page too.

I like to post content poking fun at myself and the voice of Jessie, and my followers seem to like it too. I also take requests!

How did your collaboration with Calm come about?

The fine folks at Calm reached out a couple of months before the story launched asking about my interest in working on something.

It is quite possible that I freaked them out by replying so quickly given I am such a fan of the app I think it’s fantastic we have so many resources out there that focus on physical health and well-being but Calm is so great because it’s a focus on mental health too.


I am SO EXCITED to finally share with you my sleep story on @Calm. Available now! It’s a little bit TikTok (Jessie), a little bit Kat (ME!) and a whole lot of relaxation. Be honest. You listen to me before you fall asleep anyway! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Find the link in my Bio. 🌙 ✨ 💤 #calm #sleepstory #texttospeech #tts #jessie #tiktok #katcallaghan #calmapp

Whether it is to meditate, focus, help calm you down, help you sleep or educate you on a variety of topics, it’s truly a great resource everyone should be relying on.

There are even stories in there for kids! I don’t think a lot of people realize that. So it’s great to be a part of letting people know via this new Sleep Story launch.

Tell me about the process of narrating your Calm Sleep Story.

Recording the Calm Sleep Story was different from anything I have done before. Not only due to having to mix two intonations but also slowing down the Jessie voice! It is known so well for being fast-paced and peppy.

While you still get that upbeat tone, you hear it in a whole new way. As different as it might be for those who are familiar with hearing the voice, it was even more strange (in a very cool way) to record the ‘Jessie’ voice in that slower tone. It was certainly a challenge I enjoyed taking on!

The idea of the story itself was to use the TikTok voice in the beginning for familiarity, and then slowly transition into my own voice. The story is very relatable to any social media lover as it takes you on a bit of a journey through content you may come across online.

What does your sleep/bedtime routine look like?

I am VERY routine-oriented, especially on weekdays. My radio show has me up at 3:30 a.m. (nope… not a typo… THAT early! So for me, bedtime has to go JUST right.

I get my pyjamas on earlier than most - usually right after dinner! To be honest, if it was socially acceptable I would probably stay in them all day… but here we are I wash my face, brush my teeth and then spend some quality time with my family.

My husband and I tuck my girls into bed and read a book with them or tell them stories Once they are asleep it’s not long before it’s my bedtime too. Since in the summer months I am sometimes in bed with the sun still up, I have blackout curtains. And even a white noise machine.

However, on a weekend… all the rules are out the door. You might even see me in regular everyday clothes at night!

Callaghan's Sleep Story: 'Once Upon A TikTok Tale' is now available on the Calm app.

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