Adele has announced her 2011 tour has to be canceled due to vocal problems. This time it is pretty serious as it requires surgery and a long period of complete voice rest to get her back on track. Could it have been avoided?

Haemorrage of the vocal folds can occur as a result of singing with swollen vocal folds. Swelling can occur for a variety of reasons such as throat infections, cold infections, gastric reflux, bad vocal technique or even in certain times of the menstrual cycle. Adele spoke about having to give up smoking as it was a contributing factor.

If you tend to strain when you sing or are considering singing when you are not well, STOP and reconsider. You may think you can’t afford to cancel gigs or tours but the consequence of pushing through could mean months of not singing, or worse total loss of a singing career if the damage is bad enough or timing all wrong. In Adele’s case, there will be a huge loss of revenue, millions, not only for herself but the label, venue, the people who work for her and most importantly her fans.

Many vocal fold injuries can be avoided with good voice care. Here are some ways to avoid vocal problems:

  • maintain good general health, boost your immunity to avoid getting colds and laryngitis.
  • stay on top of any medical conditions such as asthma and gastric reflux
  • avoid substances that dry or irritate the voice
  • avoid misuse, overuse and abuse of your voice. Consider reducing voice workload before gigs
  • warm up and cool down your voice before singing this included rehearsal and recording
  • make that difficult but crucial decision to not perform when your voice is sick
  • make some lifestyle changes e.g. reduce alcohol intake when singing, avoid smoking, alter your diet if reflux is an issue, don’t eat late at night, find a way to destress

A reputable singing teacher/vocal coach will also help you to understand how to use and care for your vocal instrument so it will stay fit for purpose. No athlete competes without a trainer and coach, as a singer you are a vocal athlete.

Check out Vocal Care DOs and DON’Ts

Don’t wait for problems to start…get on it now!

May you ever have to cancel a gig.