SO for the past 4 years I have been slowly working out what works and doesn’t work for my singing voice and general wellness for performing live and having a voice that isn’t too fragile, which is something I have definitely struggled with in the past.
I have found that cutting out alcohol, meat and dairy has been one of the BEST THINGS EVER for my singing voice and actually just in general for my health… it’s a bit of a life changer. Now, OBVIOUSLY cheese is the one delicious little bugger that is most people’s reason for NOT cutting out dairy “I CAN’T live without CHEESE!!”… etc etc. I totally agree… it’s bloody hard for the first few months because you’re so used to smothering EVERYTHING IN CHEESE and making it taste like a magical, fatty, salty, satisfying, drool-inducing pile of yumminess…. but I can PROMISE you it gets easier and even more than that, you start actively NOT wanting cheese anymore if you keep it up for long enough because of how good you feel. Don’t believe me? TRY IT!
So getting past the cheese hurdle is probably gonna be the toughest part, but there are some magical dairy replacements out there (and if you haven’t had real dairy for long enough you even start to believe they taste exactly like the real thing):
- Nutritional yeast is my favourite cheese replacement for adding into sauces, a few generous tablespoons will do the trick AND it’s full of stuff that is actually GOOD for you! I even make a vegan Mac’N’Cheese with this.
- I use a dairy free olive based butter replacement for baking, spreading on bread, adding to mash, dipping breadsticks in and any other butter requiring job. It does the job PERFECTLY for me!
- Almond milk is my fave milk replacement and I have found I haven’t missed milk at ALL and the health benefits have been VERY noticeable.
- You can also get some REALLY yummy vegan ice creams, do a little searching around because it’s definitely worth it.
EXERCISE: Yep.. I’m sorry to say this… but you gotta get up off that butt and get your blood pumpin’! I do a mixture of Insanity, power yoga, and I try to hit the gym as much as possible as well. I aim for an hour of cardio a day and if I manage more then even better. It makes a HUGE difference to how I sing, especially breath control.
BREATHING – Well you’ve probably got this one DOWN if you’re reading this… because well… otherwise you would be dead. BUT there are a few exercises that REALLY help with calming down nerves for live performances and generally for getting better control of your breath. Here’s one that I love doing as a pre-gig nerve calmer:
- Place the right hand “peace fingers” (the pointer and middle finger) at the third eye center. This frees the thumb to close the right nostril and ring finger to close the left.
- Take a deep breath in through both nostrils.
- Exhale out the left for the count of four, using your thumb to close the other.
- Inhale left for the count of four.
- Hold the breath in closing both nostrils for the count of four.
- Exhale out the right for the count of four, using your ring finger to close the other.
- Inhale right for the count of four.
- Hold the breath in for the count of four.
- Left exhale for the count of four.
Last but not least, warming up and cooling down. This is SOOOO important for sustaining a healthy relaxed singing voice. Find a warm up that works for you and get into the habit of doing it before and after you sing.
SO BASICALLY, I cut out all the delicious, salty, fatty, MOUTHWATERINGLY MORE-ISH food and replaced it with fresh fruit and veggies which I am THRIVING on and feel better than I ever did when I was having meat and dairy, I MOVE MY BODY as much as I can and push myself a little further every day. I don’t drink ANY alcohol because it makes me sound like a boy who’s balls have just dropped when I wake up in the morning…. it ain’t a pretty sound… trust me.
BASICALLY being a singer means your body IS your instrument so you gotta respect it and keep it in the best condition you can.