It seems like a coincidence that Adele and John Mayer, two Grammy-award winning and well-loved pop artists, would both suffer major vocal damage and have to take extensive rest. Fans went crazy over Adele’s vocal surgery as if mourning the loss of a loved one and people are now heartbroken over Mayer’s decision to cancel his 2012 tour. Why would two pop idols who have influenced today’s music industry astronomically have to take a rest?
Could it be that their hubris lies in singing?
Let’s first look at Adele’s damaged vocal chords. The singer started to have problems with her vocal chords after undergoing the flu in January 2010, according to The New York Daily news.
John Mayer’s vocal damage is due to granuloma, which is a lesion on the larynx region that is caused by an infection or physical trauma, according to the NYU Voice Center. Mayer took a vocal rest in 2011 for the same problem.
Both singers started with some sort of sickness, yet the extent of the vocal damage can be traced to vocal technique.
"Some [musicians] are also susceptible to damaging their vocal chords because they have not had classical training, and their emotive, raw-sounding vocal techniques can place extra stress on tissues," said Dr. Natasha Mirza from the Penn Center for the Voice and Swallowing at University of Pennsylvania in a New York Times article.
Yet, she argues that the main reason why these artists are being so forward about their vocal health is because technology is so much better, allowing for closer monitoring and better precision in surgical procedures.
Touring may not be more prominent now than during the early stages of rock and roll, yet artists are currently making most of their money off of live performances rather than album sales, according to Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the music industry publication Pollstar. This prompts artists to schedule more shows and more traveling in a shorter amount of time, causing much stress on the body.
Whether the cause may be from illness, vocal stress from touring, or overall poor technique, we can certainly learn from these musicians’ experiences. Having better technique causes less strain, and allows the singer to be able to perform healthfully even when the body is unhealthy.
Click on the picture to the New York Times article, “Why Voices of Adele and John Mayer Are Stilled,” by James C. McKinley Jr. and click on the gray bar above this post to comment!