Why Don’t You Smoke?

Someone actually asked me this. They couldn’t understand that as a singer I could be a fan of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan etc and yet I’m not a smoker.

There are quite a few reasons behind this, but mainly because smoking is fucking DUMB.

I know, I know, Rock n Roll is supposed to be about recklessness, nihilism, living fast and dying young, but forgive me; that just seems a little too boring.

Let’s look at some of the supposed advantages of smoking:

Err…. none.

Like all other drugs, it takes far more than it ever gives you.

This is not a huge socio-political moralistic rant here, simply on an individual level I just don’t get it.

I used to. I used to love a good smoke, now and then. But eventually as part of the process of growing up and figuring out what my priorities are it actually came to the point where the last cigarette I had just felt disgusting by about halfway through and that was it.

No more.

The basic answer however is that smoking damages the voice, and almost any artist or singer with brains eventually stops. It’s a subtle form of self-destruction that I could never square with the rest of me. I don’t want to destroy myself and want to take care of the body and mind I have, but if I WAS being self-destructive I like to think I’d be choosing something a bit more effective than cigarettes.

I think scars can be very beautiful on people, but less so and less often when they are self-inflicted.

However, the main focus of this train of thought was supposed to be how smoking affects the singing voice.

In keeping with my attitude towards certainty/uncertainty, if I smoke, and smoke a lot, we all know exactly what my voice is going to sound like, right? I’m much more interested and curious to see where my voice might go if I don’t smoke.

My voice is pretty low as it is (listen if you don’t believe me), and with both practice and age it’s only going to get lower. Whether smoking would aid that or not, smoking would detrimentally affect my ability to hit the higher notes, which are currently also expanding in range for me.

Instead of the obvious, easy and stupid way of changing my voice via smoking, I’d rather spend my time training my voice and exercising it, exploring avenues that don’t irreparably damage my instrument, because I want to sound like me, not the cookie monster.

Besides, it stinks.

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2 Responses to “Why Don’t You Smoke?”

  1. […] Here are the top 5 posts that got the most views this year: 1 ‘Art is Work’ 2 Top Ten Alternative Queens 3 The Sound of Modern Music 4 Do You Remember the First Time? 5 Why Don’t You Smoke? […]

  2. I’ve never really smoked…or at least not bought my own to smoke on a regular basis. I’m a social smoker. I have, however, often thought of its affection on my vocals and, quite frankly, I’ve thought about smoking more. But I listen to hardcore. I listen to Sick Of It All and Wisdom In Chains, these bands with grasply voices like they’ve been eating gravel…I tried eating gravel…didnt properly have the effect. But then I drum as well…and smoking is not good for that…so I chose not to.

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