No Jingle Bells for Meghan Traynor This Christmas

No Jingle Bells for Meghan Traynor This Christmas

Have you heard? 22 yr. old Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”) has officially cancelled all remaining performances in 2016  to rest her voice?  And it’s not the first time.

What Happened to Meghan Trainor’s Voice

An Instagram post she sent seemed to blame bronchitis and coughing for the need for vocal rest.  But the truth revealed that she is up for her second surgery for vocal cord hemorrage.  And that’s not caused a virus.

Meghan also suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage (polyps) last year, almost ruining the recording of her 2nd album and causing the cancellation of almost have of her M Train tour.

vocalcordhemorrage

Vocal Cord Hemorrhage (aka blood blister or polyp)

(a hemorrhage and polyp exist together in basically a blood blister on the surface of the vocal cord from too much strain on certain notes, generally the in the ‘vocal 2nd bridge’)

A pop star has a surprisingly short life in which they have to take every opportunity to stay in the minds of fans and convince labels that they’re worth the investment.

It seems we hear about singers having vocal damage so often that we barely lift an eyebrow when we hear news.  It’s sad.  You hope you haven’t already bought tickets.

 

But if you’re a singer, you may just be missing the main point.

The Real Cost of Vocal Damage for a Singer

Imagine that it’s you.  You have built this amazing career.  It’s all finally happening.

Then the doctor tells you your’e going to have to cancel your upcoming performances at the All Star Christmas concert in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Florida, not to mention The ultimate Jingle Ball Celebration in Madison Square Garden in New York City,

 

Can you imagine how much money you’re walking away from?

Now imagine that your record label is a little peaved that you’ve already had vocal surgery and cancelled other shows in the past.

Maybe they’re considering replacing you with another up and coming act and putting you on their back shelf because you’re not really the most reliable to book and you’re losing them money again.

How good are you going to feel about telling your label you’ve got vocal damage……again?

 

Why Singers Don’t Learn How to AVOID Vocal Damage

The reality is that most current top singers never learned to sing at a high level with a healthy voice before they became big.  And you’d be shocked to realize how little help you’ll find getting the time and training you need to retrain your technique so you stop getting vocal damage once you’re a bookable resource..  Surgeries are quicker and they want you back on stage.Meghan-Trainor_All-About-That-Bass_video-snap

This is typical of both artists and labels. Artists don’t want to disappoint fans and afraid to lose label support.  Labels and promoters are losing huge amounts of money and they just want it stopped.

Any singer who’s ever seen a vocal surgeon (and the labels who send them there) knows that vocal surgery puts the vocal cords at greater risk of future damage.

By scraping away the affected tissue on the vocal cords, there will always be less tissue.  And the thinner the tissue, the easier it is to damage.  Especially when most singers go right back to their damaging habits right after vocal rest.

 

Vocal Surgery is the New Botox

I’m not a betting girl, but I’d put money on another future vocal surgery for Meghan is she makes no changes to the cause of the vocal damage.

It reminds me of the story an associate of mine told me about Kelly Clarkson.

After repeat instances of vocal damage her manager was able to convince the lable to let her go to a very good vocal coach.  And knowing what I do I am convinced that she wouldn’t never had repeat damage if she had just spent a few weeks training and continued on the road.

But she didn’t.  She had people telling her this happens all the time and probably reminding her of how much money she and the label will lose every day she’s gone.

So instead of getting help that would’ve changed the course of her professional future, she patted the vocal coach on the head and said. “your a nice man” and walked out.

Since that date Kelly Clarkson has had repeat vocal damage to the point where she performs very rarely (did you notice?).  She’s tried country (songs that are less demanding on the voice).  And duets, where she can take the simpler part and only hit one or two of the ‘big notes’ that used to monopolize her earlier music.

And, as a singer, it makes me sad to see these incredible voices literally destroyed because of misinformation and, let’s just be real, greed.

 

Is Your Voice at Risk Too?

I’ve worked with many singers with vocal damage.  Heck, I had to bring my own voice back from the grave after an intubation from an unrelated surgery ripped through my right vocal muscle.  So I admit I take this stuff very seriously. voice-disorders-totalhealth.co.ukSo as someone who has been there and has walked others through the process, you need to know that you literally can avoid vocal damage and surgery if you start with solid vocal coaching that originates from the health of the anatomy (ie.takes all the lectures a vocal surgeon would give you as it’s origin and puts that into actionalbe training) The right vocal coaching will not change your signature sound.  It will not minimize your power.  In fact it will strengthen your vocal muscles so that they can handle a higher level of performing.  And it will expand your range and make the ‘hard notes’ soooo easy. If you’ve had vocal damage, please find a qualified vocal coach so you don’t continue to harm your voice.  I spent ove a year without any voice and I can tell you first hand it is nothing short of devestating.  It doesn’t just affect your singing, it chips away at your very identity. If you haven’t had vocal damage, be aware that trying different free vocal tips and trying to sing like your favorite recording star can start you down the same path….the path to the OR. You only have one voice. Isn’t it worth learning how to take the best care of it so it will always be there for you?   Have you had vocal damage or afraid you might?  Tell your story below.

How Your Voice Really Works

How Your Voice Really Works

Have you ever wondered how your voice works?  If not, you’r not alone.

But I bet you have asked questions like ‘can I get better or is this the best my voice gets?’ or ‘am I just not talented enough?’

The top reason most singers don’t get better is because they’ve never entertained a question beyond ‘why me?’  The real question is, ‘how is my voice supposed to work and is there anything in the way of it doing it’s best?’

If you’ve ever felt there were concrete limits on what your voice can do, stop.  Just for a few minutes.  Watch this video. It will help give you the perspective to ask te questions that result in seeing beyond your limitations to the possibilities.

 

What REALLY happened to Mariah Carey’s voice?

What REALLY happened to Mariah Carey’s voice?

Mariah at Rockefeller Center

Mariah at Rockefeller Center

 

Anyone who has seen the video of Mariah Carey performing at Rockefeller Center this Christmas can hear that something is up with Mariah’s voice – 5 octave range, impeccable trills, incredible power? None of those hallmarks were present in her Christmas performance of her classic hit ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’. In their place was a shouting, forced, painful and inaccurate performance which looked pretty uncomfortable for Mariah, as well as for the audience. So what went wrong?

First of all, let me say that I am a huge Mariah Carey fan, and writing this post saddens me. I grew up listening to her albums, copying her trills and longing for her whistle register. The tone of her voice, and its flexibility, fascinated me and as such she has been my personal vocal idol for over 20 years. I really would rather be writing about how great Mariah’s voice is and how it’s lasted so long, but the truth is, her voice is in trouble.

 

Let’s start at the beginning…

Mariah was born with a natural mix voice, which means that her voice seamlessly mixes head and chest voice through her whole range without any awkward imbalances. About 2% of people are born with this skill (but the rest of us can learn it, so don’t write yourself off just yet!).

Mariah also received vocal training from an early age from her mother, who was an opera singer. As such, she could naturally sing with power, flexibility and range, and whatever skills she didn’t naturally possess were learned so early that it became second nature to her. Just like kids who grow up bilingual can easily pick up new languages – it’s the same principle.

 

Over-singing

Mariah was signed to her first record label at the age of 19, and from then until now has consistently put out at least one album every two years, as well as maintaining a heavy schedule of performances, touring and press commitments. That’s a lot for the voice – even a natural mix voice – to handle. The term generally used for this is ‘over-singing’. Basically, taking on more vocal commitments than is healthy for your voice. The eventual result of this vocal overload was that Mariah developed vocal nodules, which are growths on the vocal cords which prevent the cords from closing. This means the singer can no longer hit certain notes in a healthy way, which causes the body to develop coping mechanisms for getting to the notes. In Mariah’s case, this generally means pushing chest voice WAY above its normal register, so that she can get power through that trouble spot. Her other coping mechanism is to flip into the very light, airy voice (which has become one of her trademarks). This means she can hit those notes without proper cord closure, but she sacrifices the power to do it.

 

Damaging habits

The trouble is, the more she uses those unhealthy coping mechanisms, the more habitual they become, and eventually they override her previous healthy vocal habits. The result is that she loses her naturally good vocal technique (the ability to mix head and chest voice healthily) and she can no longer reliably hit notes. And if she can’t reliably hit the notes, she can’t trill accurately. A Mariah Carey song without trills is not a Mariah Carey song.

When Mariah started having problems (there is a noticeable change in the quality of her voice from 2003 onwards), she didn’t take time off to rest and allow her voice to recuperate – she just kept on singing. She has even boasted about her ability to ‘sing through’ her nodules which can only ever make them worse and may result in serious vocal surgery, or losing her voice entirely in the long run. Singing through vocal damage only results in more damage – like trying to drive a car without any oil.

 

It’s a coach thing

Unlike other naturally mixing singers whose careers have spanned decades (Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand) Mariah hasn’t sought professional vocal coaching to help her maintain a healthy voice and deal with her heavy vocal schedule.

Without an objective ear, it’s hard for a singer to notice bad habits which creep into their voice, and even harder to know how to fix them. The bottom line is, even natural born singers need coaching. And (here’s the hope for the rest of us) coaching can turn any voice into a natural mixing voice. Singers need ongoing coaching in exactly the same way that athletes do, because good vocal technique depends on the vocal muscles being trained to do what the singer needs them to do, in a healthy, balanced way.

I really hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for Mariah’s voice. If she seeks medical help and vocal coaching from trained professionals we could be hearing her 5-octave range and impeccable trills for many years to come.

 

If you think you have vocal damage, let us help you get back to full vocal health. Check out our Vocal Repair Clinic. Sessions start from $47.

If you want to reach your vocal potential, learn to mix, trill and reach every note with ease, check out our training options, which start from $45.

 

 

 

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