It’s the nightmare scenario… waking up on the day of a voice over session to find yourself rasping instead of talking. Or else recording an audiobook over a period of days and finding your voice rapidly altering. We all have to deal with illness, and taking to bed with tissues and tea isn't always an option.
In our last post we talked about the way the voice changes over long periods of time. Today we are talking about changes that can happen almost overnight.
There are countless factors that can impact your voice on a day-to-day basis. It’s not just illness: diet, air quality, and even posture can take their toll. It’s also not unusual for voice artists to have to do large amounts of screaming and shouting. Unsurprisingly, this can cause problems!
So who better to ask for advice than the experts? We asked our artists how they keep their voice healthy, and what they do when their voice isn’t behaving itself.
So stop your sniffling, grab a box of tissues, and settle in…
Lifesavers for a Voice Over Session
[Remember that our artists' advice is subjective and may not be suitable for everyone. Please remember to seek appropriate medical care in the first instance, and always read the warnings.]
It seems most of our artists start with the basics when it comes to vocal care. Perhaps none more so that our Laurence Dobiesz’s advice… to wear a scarf! However, for most it seems that the kitchen cupboard is the place to start...
To keep a healthy voice, I stay off dairy before a job as it can create mucous. As soon as I feel the slightest change in my throat (tickle soreness, tightness) I gargle with TCP. That usually kills off any approaching germs. And always have lots and lots of warm water! - Willow Nash
Lots and lots of tea! It keeps you warm too! For any problems before a voice over session, I use turmeric and honey. This go-to old Indian concoction does wonders! - Homer Todiwala
I’m a newly inspired advocate of hot water with a teaspoon of Manuka honey and raw organic unfiltered apple cyder vinegar which (wait for it) ‘contains the mother.’ When suffering from a bad throat I boil a huge clump of ginger from cold water in a vat for at least two hours and then drink! - Amy Enticknap
However, in times of trouble (or the times when a voice over session is looming, which is practically the same thing) some of our artists have more creative solutions…
When my voice sounds like I smoke 40 fags a day and the brief for the voice over session isn’t to do a Zoe Wanamaker or Rula Lenska soundalike, I reach for a bottle of ‘Paper Cow.’ It's actually called ‘Pei Pa Koa‘ - a little bottle of Chinese Magic, a must for all voice over artists! - Alison Dowling
I recommend a fizzy Vitamin C and Zinc tablet - sucked neat! Takes hours to dissolve, tastes disgusting, but it works! – Candida Gubbins
My go-to remedy for screaming and shouting all day long is extra strong liquorice and menthol throat sweets. Drink plenty of water and if your voice ends up in your boots you'll probably get more work anyway! - Dean Williamson
Thank you to all our artists for their input. Here’s hoping that they don’t need to take their own advice anytime soon!
For more entries like this, see Squad Goals: Voice Work Ups and Downs.