WEEK: Who is William Arana?
WILLIAM ARANA: It is the voice of the daily doses, a man who loves God and who decided to believe him, that is William Arana.
WEEK: What are the daily doses?
WA: The daily doses are reflection audios based on the instruction manual, as I call the word of God (the Bible). Why do I call it an instruction manual? Because every device needs an instruction, every creation needs an instruction on how to use it. When the cell phone is damaged is when we look at the instruction manual. And one uses the instruction manual is when things are already damaged. When people have a problem they look to God, and God created us and since he created us he gave us an instruction manual and the bible is an instruction manual that tells us how to function well.
SEMANA: When did you read that instruction manual?
WA: I have read it many times. I cannot say that I have read it completely, because the Bible, you read today and you have a part that speaks to you; It can take a long time, a year, I don’t know, if you come across the same text again it can speak to you in a different way. It is the way in which God speaks to us, it has that charm, that special touch. The word of God that, as the same word says, never arrives empty. He’s always going to feed you, he’s going to touch you in a different way
SEMANA: Do you remember when you read that instruction manual, aware that you were failing, as a “device”?
WA: Not exactly, what I do remember is that it was thanks to my mother. She began to search for God, at that time one paid more attention than now. So one listened to the parents. Mom began to introduce me to the things of God, I didn’t like them because it was like an imposition, but the seed remained and that was important because the seed germinated in my heart. In times of trouble when that device doesn’t work, I would say: “I have a God who created me, who loves me and I started looking for him. So telling you exactly what the text I read was difficult for me.
SEMANA: More than what was the text, what was the moment in which the failures began to appear?
WA: They were many. What happens is that I went and I felt a call since I was a child, there was something, but I always distanced myself, it was difficult for me, it was difficult for me. I took refuge a lot in social drinking, social rumba, but that already became an addiction because when one starts drinking every eight days, and not only on Fridays but on Thursdays, and it’s not just Thursdays but Wednesdays and then every day of the week, because that is alcoholism, according to studies.
It became a thing of my daily life, I smoked too much. I began to know the social drug with elite people. I did heavy cocaine, had two heavy overdoses, almost died once in Cali. It was a void that I wanted to fill, I drank and drank. I didn’t want to be alone.
WEEK: How many years did it last?
WA: Many years. It was difficult, I worked in the rumba, I sang, encouraged and did choirs with orchestras, I worked with Pacho Galán, with Lucho Bermúdez, with Los Alfa 8, with the Tupamaros. My life was a car without brakes going down. That was my life: applause, rumba, women. A disorder due to lack of authority. I had to go to work very young and I knew the world very soon.
I had a father who always mistreated us, gave us a bad life and especially me. With me it was very hard. So one looks for that lack that one has outside and when one is older one looks for it in another way. God created mom and dad as home and you don’t see that anymore. What swarms the most today are single mothers, children thrown everywhere. So society broke down. The order breaks down, the principle the manual. These children need to establish themselves emotionally, develop psychologically effectively in all their areas in order to function well. When you grow up, what do you do? Give away what you need. And I begged love, so that they will accept me. I needed company. Being alone was very hard for me and in that loneliness I got very depressed. How did I get friends? Drinking and spending them so they wouldn’t leave. He was left alone and cried a lot. I tried to take my life four times.
SEMANA: How many years by then?
WA: I’m talking since I was 14, 15, 18, 20 years old. I am 57 years old today and since 2001 I made a decision that was to obey him and here I am. I make a stand up comedy, which is called ‘Let no one steal your dreams’ and there I tell my life testimony.
‘Let no one steal your dreams’ is for laughing, reflecting and leaving restored. I tell where I come from, that I am so wrong and human. Because sometimes people idealize you, “the one with the doses is perfect, the one who makes the doses speaks so nicely about God”, and I don’t know what, but nobody knows the path I’ve traveled, the hunger I’ve endured, the need that I have had, the shortcomings and everything. At the same time, they talk about how one can dream and how God fulfills one’s dreams. I come from a lower class home and a very difficult economic situation.
SEMANA: Where were you born? Are you an only child?
WA: In Bogotá, with a father with a huge infidelity. A father who beat my mother. A dad who didn’t care if his children had to eat or not. An irresponsible father who always yelled at me: “idiot, brute, you are useless”, those were my dad’s approving words. So one as a child grows with those marks. We are four children of the home, and there are more outside because my father had children scattered everywhere. I am the second, my sister is the eldest. My father abandoned us when I was 12 years old. And I assume a role that does not correspond to me, so I become the father, I become the husband. I have to go out and get my brothers’ food. My mom sees me as her son, but also as her provider. Today she is 78 years old. I sold wire sponges in stores, I worked on the street and I was looking for a job in construction, I finished my college studies with effort, but I couldn’t do the career I dreamed of.
SEMANA: What did you want to hear?
WA: I grew up listening to the radio because I didn’t have a television, I grew up listening to soap operas and that magic box for me was more than a television. I listened to the narrations of cycling, soccer, everything. I fell in love with the locution, I was passing by the El Campín stadium and I said one day I will be there narrating. But I couldn’t because I had to work so my dreams were crushed.
SEMANA: What did you do at that time?
WA: Messenger of an office of lawyers and accountants. I call the liaison engineer to class the position. But my dream came true, later I narrated soccer, I was with William Vinasco, I did qualifying rounds, I worked on the La Selección series. I am the narrator of the entire series with Edgar Perea.
SEMANA: How did you get in?
WA: In the Tejar neighborhood where we lived with my mother, Roberto Hernández, a soccer narrator who worked with William Vinazo and did a radio program called Sintonía Locura, came to live on the same block. I’m still friends with him, I begged him a lot to take me to the stadium and we started going and we started going. He took me, I started to go, I looked at them and I began to collaborate, pick up the cable, I was always diligent.
I started to learn the technical part, one day the commercial voice was missing and opportunities come, the first time I did it horrible. You can have a good tone of voice, but when you don’t know how to handle it, it’s terrible. You have to polish the diamond in the rough. I worked a lot at home with my voice, I read all the yellow pages, when I was on the bus I read the signs quickly or more slowly. I invented the speed reading course, I had to be very recursive. Learn my way but I believe that God was always there. I ended up teaching voice management, interpretive reading in different
SEMANA: Did you make it to the top?
WA: Professional, maybe. I came to narrate for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, I made cartoons on Cartoon Network, very famous voices and the voice of very tough brands in my country. Advertising agencies were already fighting me. In fact, sometimes I turn on the TV and there are still wedges of me.
When they created the series La Selección I was the narrator with Edgar Perea.
WEEK: What was missing?
WA: There was always something missing, I felt a call, even though I had things, there was something I needed in here. Today I feel fuller, satisfied. Nowadays, as I say, if I have to leave, I’ll go quietly. I am not afraid of death anymore because I am going with him. They still call me to engrave wedges, they offer me money and good money.
SEMANA: And you don’t?
WA: Because I won the best casting of my life. I’m William Arana, The Voice of the Daily Dose. He did not know that the dose was going to become famous. I promised him that my voice would be only for him, I did it one day lying on the floor. He was in my room, in a difficult moment. In an emotional hangover full of drugs, alcohol, depression and wanting to stop living. That was my life every day and at that moment when I was there on the floor, a commercial came on television. A pastor was speaking and he said: “Christ loves you”, and I kept thinking, not me. He no longer loves me because I have been the lying shepherd boy. Nobody believed me anymore because I would go back and come back. So I stared at the ceiling, the TV was already turned off and I said: “Not me and God doesn’t love me. He doesn’t count on me anymore and if you just gave me a hug”, and at that moment something supernatural happened in that room I felt God’s hug and I cried and cried and cried and asked him for forgiveness, I felt worse than garbage. My life was back to nothing and that day things began to happen.
SEMANA: After that, what else changed in your life?
WA: The process began, I call that going to the desert, difficult economic times came, of course because I left the friends I had and therefore my job, and I started working at a Christian radio station where they only pay me $500,000. I knelt down in the bathroom thanking them for that opportunity and then everything multiplied. These with my wife with whom we do projects alone in honor of God and although she had cancer that was a difficult test, God once again showed me how merciful she is.
SEMANA: When did you start recording the first dose?
WA: The dose began in 2005. 17 years have passed. I was doing a program for young people and we had a great time, at the end I gave a reflection and a colleague once asked me if I could cut out that message pill to send it to a friend, and so on. started without even imagining that it would reach all nations. And I didn’t need many stations, they created WhatsApp and that’s how it was.
SEMANA: We are in a time when the world is digital and views are worth a lot. WhatsApp cannot be monetized, regardless of whether it serves God, you also have to live on something
WA: I have been told that many times, but what I am looking for is to reach more hearts, if we open a YouTube channel and with my wife present the shows in theaters. When the message arrives by WhatsApp and we make a call for an event, the acceptance is total.
SEMANA: What advice do you have for readers?
WA: That they obey God and that is achieved by trusting in Him. That is the key for everyone, if one trusts in God, wonderful things will come.
“I used cocaine heavily, had two overdoses, almost died”: the life story of William Arana, The Voice of the Daily Dose