One of the main struggles of working on ships , for me , is vocal health!
One thing that makes me really upset is when my voice is not working properly and after one of the hardest gigs in my life last night trying to push through the worst vocal fatigue and ending in tears, I decided to write this quick blog post to talks about the struggles of maintaining good vocal health when working on ships….(this post is not designed to turn anyone off to the idea of working on ships as a singer but just something to be mindful of if it’s something you ARE interested in!)
The human voice was not built to sing 4 hours a night 6 days a week , 7 months at a time!
It’s doo-able! …..(If that’s a word !)
I’ve learnt from experience that, no matter how long you warm up for before sets, how many days you’ve gone without drinking alcohol, how much tea/honey/lemon you’ve had, how many vocal zones you’ve guzzled before the set ect, unfortunately your vocal cords get tired from constant use and simply decide they’ve had enough.I have been singing as a professional since I left college (many moon’s ago!) and sadly have suffered with vocal nodes twice in my singing career. Unfortunately when the voice is tired from fatigue , there’s no magical medical cure for it (if only!) but vocal rest, as difficult as it is, can heal those cords up quickly if you’re disciplined!
I’m sure your well aware by now, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog and my Instagram 🐝 that I LOVE my job!….but when I’m suffering from a tired voice, it’s not all fun and games and it’s a difficult environment to be around when your voice is gone.
After 3 smashing cruises with great party crowds and regular fans coming to watch us night after night, it’s natural to want to pull out all the big tunes to keep our fans entertained, giving them the ‘wow!’ factor every night !
When the energy is high, the busier our bar gets……and the busier our bar gets…..the louder our band gets …..and before you know it you’re belting ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ at 1am in a smoky casino bar and your voice had already decided an hour ago it had enough!
….Unfortunately, this is where I am now!😒
This contract, I have managed to complete 3 months singing every night with no issues but suddenly my voice has decided ‘no more’ urging me for some rest!
So I visited the ship doc today and luckily he understands completely having worked on ships a long time and experienced other singers in the same boat (excuse the pun!) and grants me a night of vocal rest which hopefully will help but will leave the band a singer short which is never ideal! The last thing I want is for Nicky to then lose his voice for over compensating !
So anyway… I am writing this post in my cabin alone as the band play without me for the night allowing myself some extra vocal rest time and tomorrow is our official day off so I’m hoping that 2 nights of rest, back to back, should do the trick! (Fingers crossed! 🤞🏼 ….Talking about Nicky , look what the little sweetheart just brought to my cabin door in their break:
It’s easy for the other departments on the ship to slag off the musicians for a few reasons…
•They see us at lunch time when we’ve clearly just crawled out of our beds and telling each other ‘good morning’ when it’s already 1pm and they’ve almost completed a full day’s work!
•Because we get to spend all day out in port and don’t start work till 7.30pm
•Because our guests want to buy the band a round and so we sit with them 10 mins and have a beer
•Or the main one …..because we “only work 4 hours a night”
I have worked my ass off to get to this point in my career and I’m damn proud of myself for that and believe me , 4 hours of singing and trying to keep a crowd entertained and happy is actually way harder than you’d think!
Maintaining a healthy voice on the ship is difficult in our working environment!…e.g ship A/C is harsh on our vocal cords blasting down our throats day and night (even when it’s turned off!), singing over an enthusiastic live band, people smoking nearby our stage, long hours of singing with short breaks, even just socialising with guests in our break times over the loud background music is a strain on our voice!
When the vocal cords are overused/strained/ swollen ect i can’t do my job properly and believe me, it’s a shitty feeling! Physically, I am 100% healthy but if my voice is down , I can’t do my job and it’s difficult not to be hard on yourself for this.
My tips for helping maintain good vocal health at sea:
•WATER, WATER, WATER
•Don’t be scared to adapt melody’s to suit your vocal situation
• Warm down (I love my Lax vox tube)
To any singer’s out there reading this who are experiencing a similar thing just remember to take care of your instrument by practising the things i mentioned above and don’t forget that the vocal organ requires rest to recuperate, just like any other organ or muscle.
Are you a singer?
I want to hear your ways to keep a healthy voice and your favourite warm up exercises/apps too?
Thanks for reading my blog about maintaining a healthy voice at sea , did you catch my recent post about laundry day on the ship? …… check it out here,