27 August 2019
Folk singer Sarah McQuaid shares her vocal health tips. Sarah discusses her upcoming 3-month tour and talks about how she keeps her voice in shape while on the road.
Folk singer Sarah McQuaid shares her vocal health tips
With a three-month 56-gig tour just around the corner, vocal health is a top priority for singer songwriter Sarah McQuaid.
UK-based folk singer Sarah McQuaid knows only too well how gruelling life on the road can be. She spent most of last year touring and promoting her critically acclaimed fifth album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous – an experience that was rewarding albeit exhausting.
As a result of the intensity of 2018, she vetoed any long tours in the first half of this year. Aside from performing at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and a folk festival in Belgium, McQuaid has spent the majority of 2019 at home in Cornwall – until now.
Next month McQuaid will kickstart a three-month tour of the US and the UK (the UK leg of the tour starts in Teignmouth on November 1). It’s what she calls a “proper tour” – 57 gigs in total. So what will her vocal health regime involve when she’s on the road?
“I always warm up my voice before singing,” McQuaid tells iSingmag. “I think the easiest way to damage your voice is pushing it too hard without warming it up first.
“I have a seven-minute recording of vocal warmups on my phone, which is incredibly handy, so I just sing along with those – or vocalise, rather. A lot of them involve making raspberry noises, which is kind of embarrassing if anyone’s listening.
“I also try to avoid talking too much, although sometimes that’s easier said than done. Talking loudly over background noise is especially bad. If I’m in a noisy environment I just shut up rather than trying to talk over it.”
McQuaid also takes care of her overall health. “I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can – if I have a night off, you’ll usually find me tucked up in bed at 8.30 or 9pm! I’m generally an early riser, just can’t seem to do lie-ins, so late nights are a killer for me. But the good news is that one good night of sleep is all you need to counteract a load of bad ones.
“I also try to eat as healthily as I can. Lots of salads, lots of veggies, not too much sugar.”
The artist, who was born in Spain and raised in the US before settling in the UK, has also learned lessons from last year’s tour.
“This year I’ve been really careful with my bookings to make sure I don’t do too many gigs in a row – once I get five gigs in a row booked in, I mark the days on either side as days off, so that my voice gets a chance to recover.
“That said, I did have to make an exception to that rule for the tail-end of the USA tour – in the final nine days of the tour I’ll be doing nine gigs in a row. But at the tail-end of my 2018 USA tour I did 10 gigs in a row, so I know I can do it. And I’ll have over a week to rest and recuperate at home before the start of the UK tour.”
For more on Sarah McQuaid’s tour dates visit sarahmcquaid.com