/CMA Closeup/ By Tricia Despres
There was a time when a singer's voice disorders were mainly about crisis management. But recently, preventative treatment has become important, especially in Nashville, where the voice is one’s moneymaker.
“For many years when we saw an artist, it was very hush-hush,” said Dr. Gaelyn Garrett, Medical Director at the Vanderbilt Voice Center and a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology. “It was literally taboo to think something was wrong or say that something was wrong. Artists were scared.” If they weren’t working, they weren’t getting paid, their band members weren’t getting paid, their agents weren’t getting paid… The list went on and on.
“But I think the labels now all recognize that it’s like professional sports — a knee injury is going to take out a football player as much as a voice injury is going to take out a singer,” added Garrett, whose clients have included Country stars Gary Allan and Josh Turner. “It behooves them to proceed with some preventative management.”
Besides the more serious vocal ailments that can occur, day-to-day problems with one’s voice can be common. Often, these nagging vocal issues stem from a number of factors.
“If 100 percent of voice performers could come into my office when everything is OK, we could have a baseline exam when they were in good voice that we could always go back to compare it to,” said Garrett, whose office hallways are filled with Gold albums of the singers she and the Vanderbilt Voice Center team has treated. “These performers live extraordinary lives with very busy schedules. But for the ones who do come in to see our team, getting them back on the road is the only thanks I need.”
© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.