What a singer can do when they are sick or emotional

This is a 2 part kind of blog. I haven’t posted in a while but my song writing partner and I are still chipping away at our album. Slow going but the music is still wonderful. Really magical stuff coming out of the studio. You can take a listen at https://www.jamendo.com/artist/496626/twin-flames

Anyway. We are also still playing out a lot in our live band Fiasco. Recently everyone came down with bad congestion and I thought maybe I would post here about what we did to overcome it. We had shows both nights on several weekends in a row. There are 3 of us in the band but only 2 of us sing. Probably the biggest thing I would suggest is sleep sleep sleep. I still find its the only thing that helps my voice. That and not talking. Steaming or long showers help. Cough drops like Ricola and tons and tons of water. So much water that you get sick of it. You have to drink water to thin all the mucus. Unfortunately coughing is one of the worst things you can do for your vocal chords because whats happening when you cough is that your vocals chords are banging together. So its better to try to cough carefully, a little at a time. Try not to dry out and become dehydrated and then get trapped in coughing fits. We also found that ginger brandy or sambooca helps at shows.

A great concoction that my band mate gave me was garlic, honey and cayenne pepper. Kind of mixed up in a paste that you eat. This really worked well to clear sinuses and feels really good too.

Musically, there were a few things we did. We tried to add some instrumental songs, we tried to take turns singing lead to give each other a break and we also stayed away from our songs that have really high notes or challenging runs. Since my role in the band is to do a lot of the singing, I stayed away from doing softer sweeter ballads that my voice couldn’t handle and kind of used the raspy voice I was dealing with to do more rock n roll. You could also try allowing band members to take longer solos. People get sick. Sometimes there is very little you can do about it. But when I’m sick I try to limit talking as much as possible. I try to save my voice for that night, and during rehearsals, I only mark where the words and changes are and sing very quietly always on a microphone.

On the other topic, sometimes life situations can get really challenging. Dealing with a cold is one thing, but what do you do if you are dealing with an emotional time? Its easy to just give up and want to quit. But I’m telling you, if you do that, you will be even more emotional because you will now also have to deal with the fact that you gave in and gave up. You will keep coming back to the fact that you did not work through whatever it was you were going through. Yes, sometimes if there is band drama and someone has to quit or be fired then it just has to happen. But if you are dealing with outside emotions, it can be hard to come to the studio or rehearsal while leaving that stuff at home. Leaving your emotions at home is perfect for being an accountant but as a musician, its sometimes helpful to bring these things to the studio. Especially if you are writing. Recently, that’s what been going on for me. But the best way I found to think about it for your singing career, is like fuel. If you have never tried to sing in front of a mic while angry or crying, I encourage you to try it. It will be very hard! But you might be surprised at how cool it can sound. Sure it might suck, but you don’t have to perform only when everything is hunky dory. If you believe in your music and the people you are working with, then trust that. Whenever I have to perform out and I feel like I just cant do it then I listen to the band. I focus on that. I trust my band mates. So I focus on the sound of the guitar and the beat of the drum. I let that lift me up. You shouldn’t approach being a vocalist as “you are the most important part” because you aren’t. Your audience might think that, especially if you are considered the front person. They may always think that. But you cant have a good show if its all about you. Of course you can cancel on really bad days. But the people you work with musically are there to support each other. I’m just saying I hate it when singers feel like the whole show or session has to be cancelled because they aren’t having a good day. Use the not so good days! Use your emotions! I kind of think of it like respect for the music. I HATE having to cancel. I will if I absolutely have to, but honestly I love the challenge. It’s like going to war!