Losing your voice as a rock singer

So in mid 2020 I had a complete mental health crisis, and shortly after lost my voice. I’ve been diagnosed with acid reflux in the past and, after a 15 month wait, this was identified of my voice loss.

It’s mostly come back now, and I can even sing in my standard register pretty well now. I’m seeing a vocal therapist and being set a bunch of vocal exercises. Based on her reaction I think I’m doing pretty well.

But I’m in a punk band, and our music entails a lot of distortion and screaming. As soon as I start putting real power behind my voice it starts cracking and I start to sound like a teenager who’s voice is breaking. I can sort of growl my way through our songs now, but it’s a distinctly different sound - and muddies the lyrics that I’ve worked pretty hard on.

I’m untrained when it comes to singing, unsurprisingly, and have been recommended singing lessons to help. I don’t know if anyone else has experienced something like this? Any advice appreciated. We’ve got an album that’s about 3 good vocal takes away from completion (I’m the front man) and this is torture, quite frankly.

Ouch, really sorry to hear that. Hope you’re doing much better, both mentally and physically :purple_heart:

I think @MZ71690944, as a professional vocal coach, might have some thoughts or advice on this!

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Yeah, I’m definitely significantly better on both counts, thanks! It’s just difficult as playing shows was my major stress reliever, so not being able to kinda bites lol.

I’ve been meaning to try Chris Liepe’s free course when I get a moment, but any and all advice is appreciated :grin:

Ugh as a fellow singer, this hits me. I feel for you. There’s nothing like not hitting the notes you used to hit.
I don’t have a lot experience training other singers, but from my personal journey I can advise to take your time with it. Take a good 15 minutes to warm up before any vocal practice or performance (something that covers breath, range, different vowels, and quickness). Maybe your vocal therapist can make one tailored just for you to cover all these things? Also my magic drink if I want to hit my best notes is a peppermint tea with honey, lemon, apple cider vinegar (tbsp), and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I make it hot so I can smell it as it cools down and this helps with the nasal passage too.
It’s going to to take time so be patient. And as much as this sucks… be prepared that you might have to adjust for live performances until your voice is strong enough. You’re in it for the long run and you don’t want to damage your vocal chords. Singers are just like athletes and if they get injured they have to go through the healing process to come back to where they were. It’s an organic instrument!!

Best of luck!

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Thanks for the tips kate! Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of vocal exercises - more speech related than anything. However I had a hospital appointment today and they took a look at my larynx (for the third time! That endoscope is not comfortable). It looks like it’s in good shape!

I’ve been given official permission to seek singing lessons, so I guess that’s up next. If anyone can recommend singing teachers - especially ones who can teach vocal distortion, especially if they’re in the UK - I’d really appreciate it.

I’ll have to give your magic drink a shot! :grin:

Update from my side. Saw an ENT and had an endoscope shoved up my nose and down my throat. My vocal chords are in great health!

I’m going to start vocal distortion specific exercises today, if anyone can recommend exercises of coaches I would be very interested.

I can foresee us playing a gig in the next few months, I’ve been out of action since 2020. I’m so excited!!! :grin::grin:

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That’s great to hear. I took some vocal lessons over Zoom with a coach and had my doubts, but it actually worked out great since half the lessons are usually warm ups and technique vs singing out full songs. I recommend doing a full hour at least. I tried 30 min just to save money and you barely get anything done because the warm up is crucial.

I hired my person from Guitar Center - a chain out here in the states. I would suggest asking for range building, breath control, and agility for nailing notes. As for vocal distortion… I’d ask the teacher directly for that since I’m not well versed with learning that type of singing.

So exciting and happy for you!

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