The Vocal Road Warrior Formula


Lately in the news, popping up here and there, I’m noticing canceled concerts due to “cold and chest infection” and singers on vocal rest recovering from nodules.

This posted on Adele’s site this past week:

“WOLVERHAMPTON WOVERSHOWS POSTPONED – It is with regret that due to continuing problems with a serious cold and chest infection, Adele has to postpone her shows this weekend in Wolverhampton on Saturday Sept 10th and Sunday Sept 11th. Her doctors have insisted she recovers fully before returning to the tour. The shows will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity and all original tickets will remain valid. Refunds will be available from the point of purchase. Sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

This on Twitter last week:
christinaperri christina perri.
my vocal chords are healed + perfect!!!!!! yay!!!!!!! (thank you everyone for your prayers + wishes! we did it!!!) ahhhh!!!

It’s actually challenging to stay in good vocal shape on tour. Amidst the grueling non-stop schedule, dehydration from air travel, lack of nutrition from fast food chains (there’s very little “green” food on tour except for iceberg lettuce and that is FAR from green…), the crazy media blitz’s, photo op’s, publicity, etc. Singer Adele has postponed her tour now for the 2nd time and “Jar of Hearts” Christina Perri is just off 2 weeks of vocal rest to successfully shrink her nodules. Hopefully these singers will figure out how to prevent further damage, stay healthy and continue to escape the knife (not something you ever want to do – your voice will never be the same again).

Add to your vocal fatigue, the stress from cancelling a concert, let alone a tour is overwhelming. A trail of people are suddenly affected: tour managers, roadies, musicians, venue, venue employees – people instantly out of a job, the cost is enormous, the venue cancellation alone costs a fortune. And then there’s the stress of disappointing your fans. It’s not something you want to have happen, on top of the fact that your recovery time can be a month or two and in some cases even longer. That’s a long time in the life of an entertainer.

I find that even most managers and record exec’s and even the majority of vocal coaches, don’t know about what I am going to reveal here in this article. I am always surprised by that – I guess it’s the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” attitude. However, with the voice, it’s too vulnerable an instrument to NOT be preventative with. Because once it’s damaged, a singer is down for the count and often for too long. Why take the chance?

But the truth is, not only can you recover from most any situation – sometimes within two days if you know what you’re doing, preventative care helps you avoid problems all together. Just by understanding how to take care and stock up with the right natural prescriptions in your medicine satchel and acting at the first sign of anything and you’ll stay in the safe zone. I’ve done it a gazillion times myself with my own voice (yes, I’ve been my own guinea pig) and with thousands of singers over the past few decades.  And now I teach to all of my singers exactly what do to in a myriad of situations and how to diagnose symptoms.

Last year one of my well-known artists left me a message in a panic. He was performing at a music conference and was on his way to LA for his first appearance ever on network TV (the Ellen Show) in just two days and he was losing his voice by the minute. He texted me feverishly, terrified he would have no voice by the time he got there – what was he going to do?? I mean – who wants to botch the Ellen Show?? He was beside himself with anxiety and was ready for anything…

What followed next was a trip to Whole Foods (usually the only place that has everything) with a detailed shopping list. I sent him the instructions, which basically included along the lines of water-boarding, a vegan diet, massage and acupuncture (works wonders for vocal problems), a lot of down-dog and swallowing a mega load of supplements and herbs every 2 hours. Luckily, he had also just been at my studio in New York and I had given him some of my Chinese herbs to take on the road “just in case” (harder to find).  Well, not only did he get his voice back, but he sounded amazing (you couldn’t tell there was any vocal problem at all) and he looked so chill up there under the lights, I was sure it was from sheer relief! We were both thrilled, thank goodness for natural remedies, knowing how to use them and a handful of tricks up my sleeve. He would not have made it without them.

The good news is, vocal problems and burnout are all preventable and fixable if you are willing to do the work and follow instructions. The body is an amazing healing machinewhen you know the right fuel and elixirs to feed it. I have helped countless singers recover from problems as well as avoid the knife altogether.

This is usually behind closed door stuff, but I wanted you, my faithful readers, to be armed with this info, so you can sing your heart out and know there’s a way to do it without wearing out and losing out!

The Vocal Road Warrior Formula

First off, I just want to point out the beauty of the word Healthy. Heal-thy. That amazing healing machine thing again…

  1. Heal-thy Body: hydration, diet, nutrition, massage, natural remedies
  2. Heal-thy Voice: hydration (I can never say this word enough), sleep (at least 7-8 hrs), vocal technique: warm ups & cool downs
  3. Heal-thy Self: positive attitude, visualization, stress management, gratitude

The Whole Foods Vitamins & Herbs Shopping list:

  1. Soloray powdered Crystalline Vitamin C (non-ascorbic, won’t cause reflux) 1 tsp every 2 hours (in a shot of juice) until you are better (except for nighttime)
  2. Bronchial Soothe (stops coughing immediately – Coughing shreds your vocal cords)
  3. Hydrochloric acid (little known natural cure for reflux, seems counter-intuitive, but when you have reflux your body doesn’t make enough “good” acid — hydrochloric)
  4. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, Oral demulcent sore throat syrup you can find in Chinatown (if you can’t find this, Loquat Syrup will do)
  5. Organic carrots, celery, apple, parsley, ginger for juice (Juice 3x a day)
  6. Oregano oil (pure essential oil) Use topically on throat 3x day
  7. Oregano tea (great for vocal loss)
  8. Raw creamed honey (the best throat balm in the world)
  9. Vocal Eze throat Spray (www.travelwellness.com) Best natural spray on the market! Use 6-7 x a day for moisture and vocal health

10.  Tiger balm, Use topically on throat 3x a day (keep throat wrapped with a light silk scarf)

11.  Sore Throat/Hoarseness homeopathic remedy (Roxalia) by Boiron use 3-4x a day for three days

Over the years I have come to specialize in holistic care of the voice and fixing vocal problems mainly because of my interest in alternative care as a solution for chronic problems and my knowledge of the vocal instrument.  I will say that there is so much more to it than I can go into in this one article. Vocal problems can arise from many different sources that I didn’t even touch on here. And of course nothing is more important if you are having problems than getting a diagnosis with a professional ENT (voice doctor) and getting treatment. But hopefully, I’ve given you a good head start here, enough to set things right quickly.

For more information on keeping your voice healthy and preventing damage, experience my Singers Gift Warm ups and Cool Downs and do it right from the start!

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Cari Cole is a renowned vocal coach, artist development expert, songwriter & music producer.  She helps artists find their voice, craft their style, and create successful music careers. Her weekly eZine Standing in the Spotlight goes out to over 2,500 subscribers. If you are ready to take your voice and your music to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://www.caricole.com


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