Keep your voice boomin'
Written by Mark Meneses
In the shower, on the stage - we're always singing. Even when we speak, we’re carrying our own unique melody. So make sure you keep those pipes nice and clean.
Everything is better in song. We sing songs to remember presidents, to commemorate holidays, to show affection. Our minds love music, and work better with it — it’s why you have to sing the alphabet to find out if P comes before Q. And let’s just agree, life without music is boring. Go ahead and try to remember your mother's phone number. No? What about that new Adele song? Thought so.
We all sing, but we don't all know how to take care of our voice, which is important for all vocalists, even if you’re just a shower-star. Esther Fortune is the lead vocal instructor at Live! and vocalist of the reggae-rock band Jahfe, and she has a few tips for all of us on taking care of our pipes. I sat down with her to ask her secrets on keeping your voice polished (and booming) over the years.
1. Be healthy.
Guitarists treat their guitars with care. Your voice is no different. The way an athlete won't push their body, a singer can’t either. But how do you take care of something you us so often? Get into the habit of taking vocal rests. You should always let your voice recover after rehearsals or performances.
2. Drink the right liquids.
Water is good for your vocal cords only if it's room temperature; cold liquids will freeze up your voice. Anything with milk in it is a terrible idea, you don’t want to be coughing up phlegm while you’re performing (ew). The best liquids to drink before rehearsal are warm teas, specially with ginger and honey.
3. No smoking.
But you know that.
There's no way around this one. Just like you wouldn't be able to wake up and run a mile, you can't just start singing at any time. Warming up lets your voice know that it's being expected to perform soon, and it stretches it out so you can sing to your fullest ability. If you don't stretch out your voice, you can do some serious damage to those cords.
5. Be confident.
This one is more about your delivery. Key to being a good singer is confidence and following through. Hitting the wrong notes is okay in your lessons — that's where you're supposed to make mistakes. The focus and emotion that you see onstage isn't something that just appears; you have to work on it. And even if you mess up a little, at least you’re learning for next time.
6. Find your style.
Every singer brings something unique to the mic. No two singers are going to do it the same way, and no two audience members will hear you the same way either. We all try to emulate our favorite artists, but what really gets the crowd going is when you bring something new to the table. Raise the stake every time, because there's a fine line between singing music and singing karaoke.