Coming Back Strong After Vocal Damage
One of my clients mentioned to me that a singer on this season of The Voice had suffered a vocal hemorrhage a few years ago and asked me to watch the YouTube video of her last performance on the show. One reason I love to use this show for my critiques is because it is so widely watched and makes it easy for me to provide visuals as examples of what I am teaching as it pertains to each individual client I am working with. Not to mention I love the show and love the judges!
First of all, before I share my thoughts… let me say that my opinion and evaluation of a singer who is not my own client, is clearly just that! This is a great opportunity to share my thoughts as a coach, since everyone loves to watch this show! So for all of you out there with a similar style to Kylie's, or if you are aspiring to sing the way Kylie does, here are some thoughts that might help you resolve some of these issues…
After listening to her rendition of “Satisfaction", I noticed a few things that could be problematic for someone who has faced a vocal hemorrhage. These points can also be helpful in preventing other types of vocal damage from singing incorrectly, such as straining your voice for notes that you have a hard time reaching. I feel her pain, as I have coached many clients through the rehabilitation process by helping them get their confidence back and controlling the fear of it ever happening again. This is achieved by having a very strong vocal technique.
If she were my client, here is what I would suggest:
1) I would make sure that she is keeping her voice and body well hydrated and staying away from highly acidic foods, such as dairy, alcohol, coffee, tea, etc. She should be drinking only room temperature water, no hot or cold liquids, so that when she does that growl with her voice, she can do it without damaging the vocal cords.
2) She needs to do extensive vocal range exercises daily! This means starting at the very bottom of her range and working through to the very top of her range, in order to keep her vocal cords in shape. This is like going to the vocal gym every day. It helps to prevent the vocal cords from getting stressed and enables the vocal cords to handle those high energy performances! When she is performing on The Voice, she should be drinking watermelon water, as there is a membrane in watermelon that coats the back of the throat and vocal cords. Everything needs to be room temperature so that you don't shock the vocal cords!
3) All notes have to be supported with tremendous air support through breathing… the placement of her notes seems to be coming from the back of her throat, rather than her diaphragm. This means there is too much stress on the vocal cords, and that is precisely what causes damage to the vocal cords.
As for Kylie, she has a great sound and I wish her all the best!