Earlier this week, I wrote an article about the Craig Cahn, the Asian dad from the new dating simulator, Dream Daddy. As luck would have it, I also got to interview the voice behind the fit father figure, Nathan Sharp, better known by his YouTube channel name NateWantsToBattle.
And they say dreams don’t come true.
NateWantsToBattle has some seriously impressive stats to match his equally impressive vocal chords. With 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, 478,000 Spotify followers, 135,000 Twitter followers, 65,000 FaceBook followers, and 20,000 Instagram followers, he’s definitely a household name and prominent social media influencer. Recently, he released an album full of original content titled Sandcastle Kingdoms, featuring the song with accompanying fun-filled music video, Heroes Never Die.
Nate got his start back in the Myspace days when people actually used the platform for promoting indie music, but his career really took off after putting his work on YouTube.
“I’d been on a lot of social media platforms like Myspace back in the day, but unless you essentially did what boiled down to waving your hands in the air for attention, like adding friends, etc., it was difficult to really get noticed. With YouTube, there were always related videos that would be suggested to viewers, and mine were among them so I got a lot of exposure that way.”
His videos are hugely popular with gaming and music fans, but the success of them initially took Nate by surprise:
“I love music and I love gaming, so I started making videos that meshed the two together. It began just as a project I did for fun, but it really blew up and that was unexpected, but it’s great because now I get to do what I love. Eventually, I started doing more original music in addition to the gaming parodies, so that’s been really fun as well.”
But original content is not parody content — the two are pretty different with different challenges and strengths:
“I prefer to make original content, as it’s an easier creative process than being creatively restricted to a game or anime. The most challenging part about making content surrounding an IP is that you only have so much you can talk about. When it comes to original content, I’m free to talk about whatever I want. Honestly, the hardest part was having the courage to put it out there – to take a big jump to putting my own life out there, but it ended up being the right decision and I’m really happy with what’s happened.”
Nate offered a very sweet and endearing answer when asked what his favorite project has been thus far:
“One video I really enjoyed making was the music video to Heroes Never Die. My first job was actually as a referee at a laser tag arena, so there was a lot of nostalgia and good memories attached to the video. We didn’t shoot at my former place of employment, but we did rent out a laser tag place and got the whole thing to ourselves. It was just me and my friends, shooing a silly video and having a good time with good people that I care about.”
I couldn’t resist asking Nate about his recent voiceover work on my new favorite dad-dating simulator, Dream Daddy. I had to know how he was approached to be the voice of Craig Cahn, the swole, stable sweetheart who roomed with Dadsona back in college.
“The creators of the game are my friends. I knew they had been making it for some time, and when Vernon asked me to make ‘dad noises’ for his game, I of course said I’d do it.”
Dad noises? “Yeah, ‘dad noises’, like grunts. I had to do a lot of different grunts that could be used in the game depending on the context. It was a lot of fun and I loved it.”
“The whole thing took about 30 minutes. You know, it’s a visual novel and not a more dialogue heavy game. So there were like five to ten variants of each noise, like a bunch of ‘bros’, ‘grunts’, and ‘huhs’ that they could intersperse throughout the game.”
It sounded so silly, I had to ask if he felt embarrassed while recording.
“If it had been a few years ago, it would have been awkward, but it was my friends’ game and after having done voiceover work for some time now it was just fun.”
Nate felt connected to Craig through their mutual love of fitness:
“I’d say Craig and I both feel that fitness is important, I try to keep it in mind. I also feel like he’s this super caring dude bro and I really like that about him. I definitely feel like he’s similar to me.”
Many fans of the game have been watching YouTubers play through it, including the very famous Markiplier. Markiplier is currently “dating” Craig, and viewers are comically pointing out that he doesn’t seem to recognize Nate’s voice.
“I haven’t seen his videos yet, but people keep tagging me in clips and it’s all very funny. I’ve done voiceovers for other games and anime and I’m usually the last person to get recognized. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good job.”
“People also keep tagging me in a lot of Craig fan art, which I really love. For such a new game there’s already a lot of content, which is a nice surprise,” he said when I asked if he’d seen any fan art.
I also mentioned that some fans are clamoring for a “Dream Daddy” song and asked if anything was in the pipeline. “If I get an idea, I might do it, but I haven’t been struck by anything yet. We’ll see.”
Circling back to Craig, I wondered if he had a hand in the character design. As I’ve discussed before, Craig’s character combats a lot of unfavorable stereotypes placed on Asian men — that they’re often portrayed as unattractive dorks who aren’t seen as potential dating partners.
“By the time I was brought on board to do Craig’s voice, his character had already been created. So while I can definitely see that his character does that, I wasn’t part of that process.”
I asked Nate if he could relate to some of those issues that Asian men face and if he’d struggled with his identity growing up with Asian and White heritage:
“I mean, growing up, some Korean customs were prioritized while some fell by the wayside, but overall I don’t think I faced some of the same issues that others have faced. My family wanted to make sure we treated other people well and that we surrounded ourselves with people that treated us well. I didn’t favor one ethnic identity over another and my heritage never made me feel like I had to choose friends of a certain heritage — I chose friends based off who they were as people, and as long as they were good people, that’s all that mattered to me.”
So what’s next for the music and gaming sensation?
“I’m producing a lot more music and doing a lot more touring; I’m especially trying to hit a lot more U.S. cities. My goal is to bring my music outside of YouTube and into real life. That means I have to make more music and do more shows.”
If you’re interested in NateWantsToBattle’s rock-alternative music, be sure to check him out on iTunes and/or Spotify. He’ll also be touring very soon, so be sure to watch his website for tour dates, which will be releasing in the next couple weeks. And of course, be sure to subscribe to him on YouTube for original content, gaming parodies, and more!