A Star is Born - Thoughts on a Physically Painful Voice

I was reading this article today about how Bradley Cooper created the voice for his character in A Star is Born and I feel upset.

Please, please don't read stuff like this and think this is how voice training is done. Please don't read stuff like this and try to emulate anything described.

Some takeaways:


1. Pain is a message. Pain when vocalizing is a major message!

If your voice hurts or you are losing your voice, that is a sign that there are some training and vocal health strategies you need to enact. When using vocal technique and support, you should be able to speak for hours, perform for days without strain or pain. And yes, you can come back from strain, polyps, etc.

2. Are you training? Who is on your team?

Anyone who uses their voice for a living should have vocal training and a personal practice. Your voice is the result of a bunch of muscles working together in coordination. You wouldn't compete in a triathlon or in the NFL without prior training, regular practice, and having a warm-up and cool-down on days when you need to be "on."

3. Training Matters

A vocal coach that isn't teaching clients how to speak without strain (and hasn't taught a client that your oesophagus is where the food goes, not the voice) scares me. I don't know this one, they aren't interviewed, and I'm certainly not here to criticise their approach. It seems Cooper missed something - or the interviewer did- which then promotes misperceptions to readers.

4. Good technique increases your options

You can create a voice for your character that is lower, higher, and otherwise different from your optimum voice. Your voice must be supported by your body, not ripping your vocal folds - and not "physically painful to create".

If you watch A Star Is Born (or watch the preview), keep in mind how painful Cooper's chosen voice is - and that there are other choices available to you. Suffering and intentionally creating injury is needless - even for us masochists.


Have a regular vocal practice. Get a voice teacher as part of your team. I want you to reflect now on who constitutes your team to support your profession and what practices you have daily, weekly, monthly, and annually to keep you growing and going.

Your industry is difficult enough. Longevity matters.

Recognized for her passion, knowledge, and support of her clients’ individual journeys toward their best selves, Frances Mulinix brings over 20 years of experience in coaching, voice, movement, and performance to support her clients in breaking down blocks, opening the voice, and reaching achievements they had previously not thought possible. Transform your relationship to your mind, body, and voice, bringing new confidence and creativity to your life.