Screaming Tips From Angela Gossow
Band Photo: Arch Enemy (?)
ARCH ENEMY frontwoman Angela Gossow has posted the following message on her MySpace page:
"This is for everybody who is sending me the 'screaming advice' requests. I hope you find some useful info here..
"My short-cut vocal advice:
"Get some singing teaching/vocal coaching for the basics. i.e. breathing techniques, warm-ups. You have to use diaphragm breathing and rip-cage/back breathing. No chest-breathing and raised shoulders please!
"If you can't afford lessons, go and buy the DVD 'The Zen Of Screaming' from Melissa Cross. It's ram-packed with info, tips, explanations and artist features. You can order it at www.melissacross.com.
"Screaming/growling involves the vocal cords, but also the false cords. Make sure you got good control over them. Do plenty of exercise, which should also include melodic singing.
"Keep you body and your voice healthy. Smoking is not a good idea and so is drinking alcohol in large amounts. It eventually makes your vocal cords more vulnerable. Do sports (great for stamina and lung function) and eat healthy. Very spicy, fried or sugary food irritates the throat, causes acid reflux (number one cause for voice disorders!) and weakens your muscles. And vocal cords are muscles!
"Find out your range. If you are a soprano, don't try to sound like Chris Barnes. If you are an alto, approach those black metal screams with care.
"Get a good P.A. for the rehearsal room. Screaming is loud. Yes, I do not believe in muted screaming! But if you scream too hard you strain your throat unnecessarily and you will likely get sore. Or you start to bleed. Then run to the doctor. You have a hemorrhage on your chords!
"If you are sick, try not to scream. If you have to anyway (playing a show), try to avoid talking during the day and warm up your voice properly. Drink plenty of warm water with honey. It soothes the inflammation. If you get really bad, get a steroid shot to reduce the swelling on the cords and antibiotics to stop the inflammation. This is a last resort though this stuff is really, really bad for your health!
"If you suffer from allergies and asthma (like I do), make sure you are on the right medication. Some asthma sprays make you hoarse and more prone to colds, irritations etc. Try out a few, until you find the right one. Take antihistamines if you suffer from airborne allergies and have to perform outside or in a very dusty environment. Avoid passive smoking.
"Enjoy what you do, scream out your frustration, anger, whatever but always stay controlled. Never push too hard, especially live. I do it plenty though, its so much fun. I try to restrict it to the last shows of a tour, where I am allowed to blow my voice out a little, hehe. But only if I know I have a two-week break after that and plenty of time for voice recovery!
"Go to an ENT once a year and have your vocal cords and larynx checked. If you are constantly hoarse or you suddenly lose your upper range, you are very likely developing nodules. Stop immediately with the screaming and seek professional advice: first a doctor, then a vocal coach. You are doing something wrong. Maybe it's not the way you sing/scream, but more the way you talk!
"Stay metal! Boyish singing in the chorus is for emo kids. I love clean vocals but only the raw metal style. Rob Halford is one of my faves.
"These are just tips and no 'must-dos.' You can do whatever you like, really. These tips are interesting, if you are just starting out or you are experience trouble with your voice."
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