Singing is a labor of love. When singers express themselves with total freedom and no struggle, their message can resonate in the hearts of millions.
But no matter your level of singing mastery, you can still occasionally experience a tense and dry throat that makes it difficult for you to get in your zone!
I can remember my very first jazz gig in Hollywood. One of my fans had given me a salt-rimmed strawberry cocktail right before my time to shine. I gratefully had a tiny sip and thought, "Now I'm ready to sing!" When the band started, I followed with: "...!"
Translation: "my voice cracked!"
And this got me thinking...
How do world-class performers get on stage night after night and give a flawless performance? Do they possess some kind of super-human talent that I don't have?
I researched the habits of the best performers in the industry, and this is what I found to be true:
Self-care is #1.
Have you ever woken up with an itchy, irritated or dry throat?
I get asked this question all the time: "Help! Why is my voice not working the same as it did yesterday? Was it something I did?"
How do you implement vocal self-care into your life, so that nothing stops you from the best possible version of you coming forth when it is time for you to be center stage?
In honor of my infamous 1st-ever jazz performance, here is a self-care guide to which drinks you should avoid or minimize in your daily diet for optimal vocal health.
The 7 Worst Drinks That Can Harm Your Voice
1. Coffee dries out the throat and can cause tightening and irritation in your throat.
2. Dairy products produce mucus, which can affect the sound of your voice and range.
3. Fruit juices with acidic properties produce mucus, which can also affect your voice tone and range.
4. Green and black teas contain caffeine and can dehydrate your vocal cords, which can lead to sore throats, and worse, nodes.
5. Iced drinks or cold temperatures can affect your tone and vocal cords.
6. Carbonated or aspartame-containing drinks (NutraSweet and Equal) increase the amount of air in the stomach, which can affect your breath support system.
7. Alcohol dries out the throat, which can cause irritation and tissue swelling.
Out of all the side effects from beverages that can cause the voice harm, dehydration is the worst! Dehydration can cause the voice to lose vocal cord flexibility and become more susceptible to damage!
Don't wait until your throat feels dry and start chugging water! The vocal cords are one of the last places in our body to get hydrated.
You can't hydrate your throat until you have consumed enough water to hydrate all your vital organs. As you probably already know, we are largely made of water! So drink water when you wake up, and also throughout the day and night before your vocal coaching session, recording or gig!
There are other natural remedies I could recommend to help you keep your voice in top shape, but the #1 thing you can do is:
9 times out of 10 when my voice is feeling dry or irritated, it is because of something I consumed, and the remedy is usually to flush it out by drinking a ton of water.
Never struggle with your voice again because of what you consume!
To freely express ourselves, we need our bodies to feel good and support us. Take care of your body and voice; it is your instrument!