i sing the body electric
being a vocalist is a pain at times. there are any number of activities or dietary choices that can end up affecting the quality of your voice in both the short and long-term. this can put a damper on the rest of life, especially when you're supposed to be recording final takes, or even run-throughs that you hope might end up being usable. normal and enjoyable things become potential hazards to productivity. each one becomes a choice; to pass it up and have a better singing voice the next day, or indulge and face 24 hours or more of vocal uselessness.
sometimes it's not even a choice. i'm grateful for the smoking ban in NYC clubs and restaurants, but i can't control private areas i may be in. then there's cookouts with family or friends. excusing or repositioning myself in any of these situations can be awkward. no one wants to be a killjoy, especially for such an esoteric, artistic, and wimpy-sounding reason.
at times i envy my musical partner bryin, whose baritone seems to gain an appropriately raspy edge from smoking. for material like our dark hank williams covers, it really seems to work. however, when singing in a higher register, such as mine, it only causes harm. add to that the fact that as much as i've been complimented on my "pretty" voice, i have less interest in using it these days - and harsher tones tax vocal cords more.
singing can, however, be its own great reward. even when not recording or in front of an audience, there's a joy and power that comes from feeling your body resonate with the notes. certain tones, melodies, moments of vibrato feel good both physically and mentally. not to mention those times when you let out a scream straight from the gut.