Years ago, I read probably one of the best Freddie Mercury biographies out there.
The book was written by Peter Freestone and, being a huge Queen fanboy at the time, it was a delight to get some insights into Freddie’s crazy life.
One story was about how one day Freddie woke up totally sick and hoarse due to a bad cold he caught up while partying over the limit the day before.
To make things worse…
The band had scheduled a huge concert that day with 50.000 raving fans already on their way to the venue…and expecting Freddie to shine like always.
So, the challenge was clear: Getting his sick cords ready to sing…in record time.
Easier said than done…
Taking also into account the insane high register almost all Queen songs were sitting on.
And here’s the recipe Mr. Mercury prescribed himself to make the impossible possible. It’s something also you can apply next time you’re sick and having (or wanting) to sing anyways.
1. Completely shut up for the rest of the day.
No speaking and in particular no whispering (the worst thing you can do when hoarse).
2. Drink lots of water and warm (not hot!) fruit tea.
While avoiding milk, black tea or alcohol like the devil avoids holy water.
3. Inhale steam from a bowl of salty hot water, served to him by his devoting crew every other hour.
4. Do a very light vocal warm-up…without going for the high notes….only “mark” them.
Remember the 3-minute vocal warm up I sent you the download link lately? Well, maybe that’s not exactly what Freddie did, or was it? But that’s the perfect exercise to do when your cords are swollen or wobbling.
That all, with # 1 and # 4 being the most effective remedies, kept Freddie going through the whole show and saved his band lots of troubles.
I personally would also add some minor medical intervention…
Popping an anti-inflammatory drug and clearing your nasal passages with a decongestant nasal spray…always works like a charm for me.
However, don’t expect to perform at your best that very day.
But at least you can show-up and get the job done.
The Underground Singer
PS: Breathing is probably more important than ever if your cords aren’t in perfect shape. To learn how to do it correctly take this road