Here’s How Stevie Nicks Has Saved Her Voice for the Past 20 Years

Stevie Nicks is nothing without her voice. She’s been singing for almost her whole life. Nicks has been singing her heart out ever since her grandfather taught her to harmonize at age five. However, when Nicks entered Fleetwood Mac in the mid-1970s, she didn’t always protect her voice.

She screamed and yelled on stage and wore out her voice until she was hoarse. Back then, there were no vocal coaches or techniques to protect your voice or make it last for future decades. Rock stars sang all kinds of songs that made their vocal cords bleed.

Thankfully, though, Nicks eventually realized she needed to save her voice before it was too late. Otherwise, she’d wear it down to the point that no sound came out.

Stevie Nicks performing with Fleetwood Mac at the Cow Palace, California, 1979.
Stevie Nicks | Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks started using a vocal coach in 1998

In a 2011 interview in Australia, Nicks revealed that she only started using a vocal coach in 1998. The “amazing” Steve Real comes with Nicks on the road, and they do 30 minutes, three and a half hours before she goes on stage.

“So, it’s very much of a commitment,” Nicks explained, “but it saves your voice and I could probably go on singing and pretty much sounding just like I sound now for another 15 years.” That means Nicks has about four more years of sounding like she does now, according to her estimations.

“All you really have to do is spend-do a couple of lessons with them, and they’ll make you a tape, and then if you never want to see them again, you don’t have to. You just do your tape every day three hours before you go on, and then you have no problems. You’re able to go one stage and just be fantastic because you’re not worrying about your voice.”

Nicks told the New York Times in 2014 that ever since she started working with Real, she’s “never had a problem onstage since.” Before Nicks takes the stage, she does a 40-minute vocal lesson. “We go on at 8, which means I have to be done at 5, so from 3 to 3:30 I do the first part and between 4:30 and 5 I do the second part; 30 minutes and then 11 minutes. By the time I walk onstage at 8 o’clock, I’m ready to do 2 hours and 40 minutes,” she said.

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Nicks said she didn’t take care of her voice in the 1970s

When asked if she took care of her voice in her early career, Nicks let out a resounding, “No. Absolutely not.” In the 1970s, there weren’t any preventative measures that rock stars took to save their voices. There weren’t any ear monitors or speaker monitors. So Nicks and the rest of Fleetwood Mac screamed away.

“Just let it rip and scream away, and we weren’t wearing ear monitors then we were-we had two big huge speakers in front of us that were just blasting back in our face,” Nicks explained. “We just screamed ourselves through our songs, and it’s lucky that we all didn’t get like nodules and have to have surgery. But luckily, we didn’t, we managed to get through, but you know I go back, and I listen to some live performances of Fleetwood Mac in the 70s, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I wish somebody had told me to get a vocal coach. “

Nicks told the Times that she had a lot of problems with her voice from 1975 to 1998. “There were many bad nights onstage,” Nicks said.

According to Grunge, the New York Times journalist, John Rockwell, gave Nicks a bad review after a concert in 1977. He wrote Nicks’ voice “cracked [and] broke continuously” and that if she didn’t act soon, her “days as a performer are surely numbered.”

However, back then, the only preventive measures Nicks took to save her voice included staying silent for the entire day before a show, keeping her face in saunas, and gargling with a substance many singers probably used.

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Nicks thinks that if she ever needs a ventilator she’ll lose her voice

Nowadays, Nicks doesn’t have to fear that she’ll do something to hurt her voice. She has to worry that coronavirus (COVID-19) could take it away. If she ever gets the disease, it could put her on a ventilator, which would inevitably steal her voice for good.

“If I was on a ventilator… My mom was on a ventilator for a month and she was hoarse for the rest of her life,” Nicks told Variety. “All the other side effects that come along with this virus… You may get over it and just be like, ‘Great, great. I’m good. It’s gone.’ It’s not gone. It comes back in little ways to attack you forever. You’ll never get rid of it.

“So you don’t want to get it. I’m like, I’ve built like a thin paper shield of magical plastic around me, you know? Because I don’t want my career to be over. I don’t want to not pull on those boots again.”

Let’s hope Nicks never gets coronavirus. Otherwise, all her hard work trying to save her voice all these years would be for nothing. We want to hear her voice for many years to come.