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.
(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.
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. So 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.