We started todays show with the sounds of RemedySounds. Josh is a local guy who was on a short UK tour recently, which was sponsored by our guests today, Vocalzone. Check out his song:
You can buy more of his stuff on iTunes here:
On to the interview with Vocalzone…
Vocalzone are a family run company in Dorset, UK. They started out life 100 years ago as a solution for uber-famous opera singer and recording artist Caruso, and were designed by an ENT surgeon called William Lloyd in London. Caruso was performing in London and was experiencing throat problems at the time. Could’ve been the 20+ cigarettes a day?? In any case, Dr Lloyd had mixed the pastille with the help of a colleague, and then sent it back to his brother in Wales who made it into a pastille. Voila Caruso!!
Today Vocalzone is a common addition to the rider of many top names, from Rihanna and Jay-Z to Tom Jones and Metallica. In fact, a couple years ago Rihanna was experiencing vocal trouble in Paris. Her tour manager got in touch with the company as she was adamant that Vocalzone would solve the problem, so a bunch were sent over for her. They heard nothing back, until a little time later she was back on a world tour starting in Texas. She had lost her voice on the 2nd night and was in desperate need of something to alleviate the problem. Her tour manager was back on the phone to Vocalzone with a desperate plea to get some of their lozenges over to them ASAP. They didn’t care how they got there, it just needed to be right away. So they couriered some over. Looking back, they could’ve easily got away with delivering them by hand and getting a free trip to Texas. That lesson was learned! Tom Jones has two of their lozenges in his mouth at any one time on stage, every gig!
The lozenges are manufactured in Devon under license. The three natural ingredients in Vocalzone are myrrh tincture, peppermint oil and menthol. It is technically a pastille, as it is herbs that have been pressed into that shape. Lozenges are different and are usually hard, made from boiled sugar.
Because the ingredients of Vocalzone are essential oils, when you suck the pastilles you get a vapour which you inhale deeply. You don’t get this with a lozenge. This vapour is what acts on your vocal folds to alleviate overuse issues and other potential problems. The myrrh tincture itself is the natural anti-inflammatory that helps out the most.
It’s important to note that it won’t solver hide underlying medical problems. They do not contain anaesthetic like a lot of lozenges do. They are purely formulated for the irritation that you get from using your voice a little too much.
Vocalzone can be used for gig preparation, typically used an hour before the stage time. They can be applied to long rehearsals, and top opera singer Ian Storey uses them for his mammoth 8 hour sessions when preparing for a show. Voice users in general may feel the benefit, including teachers and telesales representatives. Mid gig they could help out too, keeping you a little fresher for the next set.
Again, if you’re experiencing pain or voice loss then that is down to something that Vocalzone cannot help you with.
Quick voice tips!
DO NOT SMOKE! – Sounds obvious. It really does screw stuff up long term.
Hydration – really really important. Many high end users report problems with their voice after long flights on tour. The airplane cabin is notorious for drying out vocal folds, and hydration is key in those situations.
Technique and practice – the vocal cords are muscles and they need to be kept in top shape like any other.
Sleep – muscles are also in dire need of recovery, and sleep is the body’s recovery state. Don’t starve it of it!
So, in summary, Vocalzone are a tool that can help you continue singing day after day. Providing your technique is in a good place and your in general good health, they will aid recovery and offset some of the demands that professional voice user come up against.
Where can I get them?
Lots of independent pharmacies stock Vocalzone, as do Superdrug. Because of a premium on shelf space you may have to ask behind the counter. They are sometimes in a draw. You can also get them directly from www.vocalzone.com.
The jury is sometimes split on whether Vocalzone actually helps or hinders the job of singer. This has been apparent from speaking to many past users of the product and on the research into the effects of menthol on mucosal membrane; the covering of the vocal folds. We put that question to George from the company who confirms that menthol does have a drying effect, but it’s inclusion in their pastilles isn’t of a strong enough concentration to worry about this. The other active ingredients dilute the menthol, but they also have the action of clearing away the gunk and helping blood flow in to the tissue. This offsets the drying effect of menthol and keeps the mucosal membrane functioning properly.
Vocalzone are also governed by strong medical guidelines. Their company monitors every report around the world on their product each week, scanning for problems or reports of damage to users. In 100 years of production, the company has never had a report of vocal problems being caused by the menthol content of their pastilles. That is out of 720 million pastilles consumed over that time around the world. Not bad figures!
YouTube pick of the week goes to…
Hall & Oates with Cee-Lo Green. It’s a great song anyway, but rocked out live in Daryl Oates’ living room with one of the best modern soul singers around made it even better. Please have a listen:
We’ll see you all next time for Q&A! Please like, share and enjoy.
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