If you are a fan of popular vocalists, you are living in a time of great variety. So many singers are recording and performing live that we can now have many favorites and much music for our personal libraries. However, the great number of singers also creates much competition for listeners and music buyers, which forces performers to work very hard to promote their products. Oh yes, this means singers are forced to really work much more than normal. The results are what singer Maxwell has experienced this summer: vocal cord hemorrhage. Not only Maxwell but Adele and Nicki Minaj have also recently had to cancel performance dates because of vocal cord problems. Maxwell had to cancel all of his summer shows because of a need for vocal rest. What are the symptoms of vocal cord hemorrhage? According to Lucien Sulica, MD, “Hemorrhage causes hoarseness which usually develops over a very short period of time. It is typical for a hemorrhage to happen as a result of a specific event that required strenuous voice use, like a musical performance, or speaking over the noise at a party or cheering at a baseball game. The hoarseness may be obvious in the speaking voice, or it may be more subtle, and cause only a change in the singing voice. There is no pain associated with a hemorrhage and no difficulty swallowing or breathing”. It’s good to know that Maxwell is not experiencing physical pain, but I’m sure the emotional pain of missing performances is acute. Maxwell has been in the music business for almost twenty years and I’m sure he is like most singers who love to sing, although they do not want to overuse and/or injure their voices. As I heard of Maxwell’s problems I started thinking about a vocalist I used to work with and his vocal coach. The coach was well known in industry circles as one of the best, and he preached the importance of warm-ups and rest for all singers. Not being a singer myself, he made me aware of being careful not to work singers very hard in studio sessions, or you might lose the vocalist for the current session and possibly future sessions. We can only hope that Maxwell gets the rest necessary to fully recover from his vocal cord problems. Notice what Dr. Sulica said about treatment for vocal cord hemorrhage: “A hemorrhage which involves the entire vocal fold should be treated with immediate voice rest. Voice use should be limited or entirely suspended for several days. The exact length of time can be determined by repeat examinations. Steroids should not be used to “mask” the effects of a hemorrhage in order to press ahead with a performance, for instance. It is an invitation to further injury“. If you are a singer reading this blog, be careful not to strain your voice by overuse. If problems arise make sure to go see a physician for treatment.