Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Many Singers with Vocal Troubles Recently. Who are they and what can you do to not be one of them?

Food for thought:  There have recently been a series of popular singers with vocal troubles.  Is it more publicized now or becoming more frequent?

John Mayer recently had a vocal operation as well as Adele.  A Granuloma (an inflamed nodule or tumor-like mass of tissue) near his vocal cords was removed in an operation and he has been ordered a month’s rest.   After two weeks’ voice rest (along with many other approaches), there was no change for the better, so he had to resort to an operation.  Read more at:

He had the same operation as Julie Andrews.  He is pushing back all performances and going the quiet route.  Vocal rehabilitation greatly helped Andrews with the team from the Voice Foundation in Philadelphia, PA.
Country star Keith Urban is the latest in a long list of musicians to require throat surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords. The singer made the announcement on his website, stating the surgery will be minor, although they are not sure how much vocal rest he will actually need.
There are two more artists whose throats have gone under the knife lately: R. Kelly and KISS singer-guitarist Paul Stanley. Kelly had emergency throat surgery to drain an abscess on one of his tonsils in July this year. Stanley is currently recovering from his throat procedure. He commented to CNN on his issues.
Many great singers are suffering the troubles of his or her craft.  Getting looked at by an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) when things are good and again when something feels wrong is the first step to being on top of a healthy voice.  Get a base line and pay attention to what your body is saying.  Also, get a firm foundation in solid vocal technique.  If you are using proper technique consistently and altering things slightly to achieve artistic goals, you will avoid many potential vocal pitfalls.
If you have troubles, waiting it out and listening to the experts as well as one’s own body is the best one can do.  If vocal rest does not solve the difficulty, an operation may be the solution.  The passions of a musician are great, but one must pay attention and listen to their body. 
Everyone is given a different instrument (their vocal cords).  Each one can sustain only a certain amount of strains and stresses.  The life of a performing musician is not easy- there are many vocal, physical, emotional strains and stresses.  Pushing the voice and yourself both physically and emotionally is not the answer.  Stop and listen to your body and trusted professionals.
Your voice teacher and medical professionals such as ENT’s and the Voice Foundation in Philadelphia ( can help.  They have done wonders for singers and other voice professionals (public speakers, lawyers, and other professionals that use their voice for a living) now and in the past.
The question is are these singers and YOU doing the best to listen to your body and paying attention to when things don’t feel right?  Try to reduce the stresses of singing by following good vocal hygiene, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding outside stresses going in to performance.  Avoid the problem as best you can in the first place.  Watch yourself when modeling others and pay attention to what it feels like.  If you don’t like it, find a professional to help you.
What can this do to your head when you sing next?  What about performance anxiety?  Will they have it?  Do you and what can you do about it?  Sign up to receive my newsletter and find out more. As for our professional singer friends, KUDOS to them for seeking out the help that they need and may they listen to the medical professionals who may get them on a pathway to continue to create beautiful music.  Our voices are precious and vulnerable, take care of yours! 
How are you doing with caring for your voice?  Do you suffer from performance anxiety?