Adel Sang Live At the Grammy’s on Sunday, Her First Performance After Voice Surgery.
2 Days After the Grammy’s
Ok, the Grammy’s are over, so are Adel’s vocal problems and she basically “swept” the awards. Did she deserve to win? OH YES!!!!! Why? Because she faced her vocal problems and beat the odds as many singers before her have Not done. Instead of whining, making excuses, and denying her fears, she admitted that before her performances she gets so scared that she literally throws-up. On her 60 minute interview, with Anderson Cooper, before the Grammy’s, she held nothing back. From her love of “cussing” on stage, to her anxiety before each performance. Adel is not only a “real” singer who uses no gimmicks, she is a “real” person and a delight to watch. (See the link below to her interview at the bottom of this post.)
As singers, speakers and people who depend on our voice’s to make a living, what can we learn from Adel’s battle with her voice problems you ask…? I have always advised my students to treat the voice like the precious, fine tuned instrument it is. Proper use of the voice takes the co-operation of the entire body, not just those two little vocal cords that reside inside your larynx or voice box, located at the “Adams Apple” point of your throat. The vocal cords are powerful when used properly but on their own, they can only do 20% of your vocal work, while your body does the other 80%. Learning where to position your higher, “power” notes will take the strain off of the vocal cords and avoid those dreaded nodules and polyps.
With all this interest in Adel’s voice problems, (as well as Whitney Houston’s chronic voice loss), it’s important to take the time to at least know who the voice culprits are and how to avoid them if possible. So here is my take and I’ll try to keep it simple…
Understanding Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps
The symptoms of vocal cord nodules and/or polyps are:
- Hoarsness for more than 3 weeks
- “Rough, scratchy” sounding voice
- That “lump in the throat” feeling
- A Constant need to “clear” the throat
- Decrease in pitch and vocal range.
- Weakness in the voice
Nodules are non-cancerous growths on your vocal cords caused by vocal abuse. We think instantly of singers, but teachers, public speakers, actors, business professionals and even children can develop these callous-like growths on their vocal cords. The longer the abuse, the bigger those callouses can get. Polyps on the other hand are more like blisters with leisons on the cords and they too are caused by vocal abuse.
After diagnosis by a otolaryngologist who specializes in voice problems, treatment can range anywhere from medically, surgically to behaviorally. Although medicine and surgery may relieve the problem temporally, if the behavior that caused the problem in the first place is not changed, the nodules and polyps can return. Also, as in Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins) much publicized vocal problems, surgery can leave you sans voice and sans singing and speaking career. Voice problems are especially hard on politicians in a political campaign year.
The best defence against ruining your voice and jeopardizing your career is proper voice technique PERIOD!!!! Even Adel told Anderson Cooper, ” … If I go on another long tour, my vocal problems will return.” I would add to that; ” Only if there is not a proper change in her vocal technique.” As I watched her; “Rollin’ in the Deep”, at the Grammy Awards, I noticed a big change in her technique which made me smile. I know the doctors first advise to her had to be, “STOP SMOKING!!!” because her voice was clean and clear when she sang. Secondly, her vocal position was more in the front of her face, focusing at the bridge of her scrunched-up nose, and the biggest, most effective change was … Her Mouth Was WIDE Open. These are all good, effective, things to do to keep those precious vocal cords from straining on the high notes.
But of all of the things we must do to make our voice happy, keeping the stress, along with the stressful people, out of our lives, is our first order of business.
Here is the link to Adel’s delightful interview with Anderson Cooper. For more info on proper voice technique, visit www.virtualvoicecoach.com and please share this info with all your voice-abusing friends… !