1. High-Vibrational Diet
Be mindful with what you put into your body. Staying hydrated is number one. The better you feel, the better you'll sing. You're going to have that healthy energy to really direct your attention and focus when you're in the studio. Singing takes a lot of energy, and you get drained pretty quickly when you're recording and doing take after take after take. When it's a powerful vocal, you have to put a lot into it.
The more energized you feel the better, but in a healthy way, not just chugging a bunch of coffee. Once I get into the studio, it's high-vibrational foods: lots of fruits, veggies, vegan food. I'm not a vegan. I have a balanced diet, but I eat as vegan as possible; it makes me feel better.
I try to limit caffeine and alcohol. I'll replace coffee with tea. I'll replace alcohol with Kombucha, especially on days when I'm recording or performing. You don't need to be extremely strict; it's just something that I've noticed helps because coffee dehydrates you. The more water, the better. Still have some coffee. Still get that little buzz going.
2. Staying Active
Do yoga and stretch because your vocal chords are muscles. Your diaphragm is also the main muscle you use when singing. Everything's connected. If you're in good shape, your diaphragm is going to be in better shape. It's going to help you sing better. It's going to give you more energy, strength and stamina.
I'm not a fan of going to the gym everyday and feeling like a hamster on a treadmill. I find that really boring. I like to get outside, go for hikes and long walks. I like to do pilates. I do various things that I enjoy, and that makes it more fun to incorporate it into my day. I've definitely noticed a big difference with diet and exercise. When I'm kind of slacking, I've noticed that my voice isn't as strong or I get tired more easily during studio sessions. Who doesn't want to feel good and look good, right?
3. Holistic Medicine
I love taking herbal supplements and using essential oils. It makes a big difference. There are certain teas out there that are specifically good for vocal chords such as "Throat Coat" or licorice root tea. You can find those in your grocery store. I like green tea a lot; it has a lot of antioxidants and a little bit of caffeine.
There's certain herbs and spices good for vocal health: cayenne pepper, sage, turmeric. I try to work those into my diet and cooking. When I'm about to record, I have a routine. Not only am I sipping water and tea, but I'll boil some water. Then, I'll mix some fresh lemon juice and honey in there. It soothes and hydrates your vocal chords. I like to sip on cranberry juice or eat apple slices. That helps clear the mucus from your mouth and throat. This makes your voice more clear and crisp.
4. Sing Often
Do your warmups and exercises because vocal chords are muscles. They have muscle memory. The more you sing, the better. Of course, you don't want to overdo it. If you ever feel you're straining your voice, you need to take a break or step back. Take a look at how your singing and if you're supporting your diaphragm enough. Maybe the song is too high for you or need to switch into your head voice rather than your chest voice. Singing a lot will make your voice stronger over time, increase your vocal range and improve your vocal tone.
You can take vocal lessons, if you can afford it. It's great to have that in-person instruction, but there's also a lot of resources online. I was in choir when I was younger, but I never really took vocal lessons. I found exercises I liked on YouTube, and I've been doing them ever since. You don't really need to spend money to learn how to do this. Singing often is really important for your overall vocal health, making sure you're not damaging your vocal chords and becoming a better, more skilled singer.
5. Emotional State
When you're singing, you're expressing. Your emotional or mental state is going to come through. Singing can be like acting, where you need to put yourself in that feeling or remember what you wrote it about. Put yourself in that mindset. This is not about 'You don't want to sound sad.' It's about your mental and emotional health, having fun with it, enjoying the process, being patient with yourself, being kind to yourself and taking breaks when you need it. Again, recording vocals takes a lot of energy. You're not going to get 10 tracks done in one day; that's too much. You want to make sure you're doing it right, that you're happy with the end result and you're taking care of yourself in the process.
Meditating and getting enough sleep is really important. You're going to be able to sing better, be more focused and present. Remember to breathe. It can be easy to rush when you're doing take after take after take. If you're feeling like 'I just want to get through this' or you are really excited about it, it can be easy to forget. You are using your breath in a different way when you're recording or performing. Breath is so important with staying in control and keeping yourself relaxed. It can be easy, all the sudden, to feel anxious or dizzy after a session. That's not ideal. You want to make sure you're taking your time and breathing from your belly, not your chest.