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Protecting those pipes

What to do when you can’t afford to lose your voice

Protecting those pipes

Singers, vocalists, performers…they all go through incredible stress levels at work; it’s definitely more than the proverbial ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’! And they all have unique ways of protecting and caring for their vocal chords. Sam Smith, who can achieve a perfect falsetto, underwent vocal-chord surgery last year after his chords had started hemorrhaging. He then started to wear surgical masks when in traffic and on flights to protect his voice. We spoke to several of our own power-packed singers to find out their rituals…

Atif Aslam

atif_smalllNot many people would deny that Atif Aslam is gifted when it comes to his unique and powerful voice, which he has – over the years – trained to perfection. But this voice doesn’t come or stay as powerful without being cared for. Atif lives on a steady supply of hot water and honey when he’s on tour. In fact, ready availability of hot water and honey is a clause built in his contract! He never drinks carbonated sodas and avoids all kinds of spicy and oily foods. He says he needs five to six hours of sleep to function, which he usually manages to achieve on flights.

Zoe Viccaji

Winner of last year’s LSA for ‘Album of the Year’ for Dareeche, Zoe Viccaji is going from strength to strength given her powerhouse vocals and her distinct personal style. Success as a super vocalist, however, comes with a degree of disciple and self-control.

“There was a time when I didn’t look after my vocal chords at all, and I paid the price for it by losing my voice after every live show,” admits Zoe. These days, warm-up vocal exercises are an integral part of her daily morning yoga sessions, where she spends at least half an hour reciting the tanpura, which helps with eastern classical training.

celebrity_smallThe songstress also nebulizes with saline drops regularly to keep allergies at bay, which can play havoc with one’s vocal chords, and to keep the throat moisturized.

“Another great tip that I learnt while in New York and something that is practiced by the opera singers there is to drink a glass of pineapple juice before a live show. Never water – because that’s the worst thing you can drink before or during a performance. Instead one should sip on warm water mixed with a little honey if needed during a show.”

Ali Zafar

He’s arguably the country’s biggest pop star and that’s a status he owes as much to his charming persona as his soulful voice. Currently on a concert spree across the country, we managed to catch the Rockstar right before a concert to ask him how he pampers his vocal chords.

“I sing,” quipped Ali. “Singing regularly is the best practice one can give the vocals, which are one of the strongest set of muscles the body possesses.”

Other than that, the musician makes sure to start his mornings with a soothing concoction of green tea, ginger and lemon, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties. He also prefers green tea over regular tea to sip during the day, especially when back-to-back concerts over-tire the vocal muscles.

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