What causes vocal fry? ( How to get rid of vocal fry? )

When beginner singers think of vocal fry they imagine something related to an illness or a medical condition which obstructs singing. This is far from the truth as there are a couple of causes for it and all of them can be remedied with some time and focus. If you are a singer with vocal fry and you want to get rid of it then you have to keep in mind that changing your voice doesn’t happen overnight, you will have to give it a couple of months till you can speak and sing without vocal fry.

Vocal fry happens when there is not enough air going through the vocal cords and thus making the specific sound associated with vocal fry. The main causes of vocal fry are anxiety and a bad breathing technique, although some health-related issues can also cause vocal fry. 

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A lot of singers who have vocal fry want to get rid of it, and who can blame them, singing with a vocal fry can sound extremely unnatural and sometimes even annoying. There are some talented singers who do in fact have vocal fry and they didn’t let it stop them, although there are just a handful of singers with vocal fry. If you are a beginner singer you must get rid of your vocal fry, or else you will only limit your singing career.

If you want to know how to stop vocal fry then just keep on reading as I have a few tips below which will, in fact, help you get rid of your vocal fry. One of the major problems that singers with vocal fry face are that they are so used to sing with that vocal fry that they can not even imagine singing without it. While there is no problem in singing with a vocal fry just for fun, but if you want to make a career of singing then you might want to unlearn using your vocal fry.

There are a lot of vocal fry celebrities, but not so many singers, the majority of celebrities with vocal fry are either in comedy or in the acting field of entertainment. Some actors actually use their annoying vocal fry voice to entertain people, but for you, as a singer, it would be either extremely hard or simply put nobody would want to take you seriously as a singer. If you want to turn your hobby singing into a career, then check out my recent article How long does it take to become a professional singer? ( The Honest Truth ).

The male vocal fry is actually considered pleasant by some people, this is mostly because males have a lot lower voice than females. On the other hand, not too many people are fond of the female vocal fry as it kind of sounds annoying, but it might sound somewhat interesting.

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What is vocal fry?

Most beginner singers have never heard of vocal fry, not even the ones that actually have vocal fry. Generally speaking, most people confuse the vocal fry with a raspy voice, but as you will continue to read this article you will notice a lot of differences between the two. Vocal fry is when the person who is singing or speaking doesn’t have enough air to push through the vocal cords which ends up sounding like they are frying something in their mouth.

One of the most common reasons for vocal fry is the lack of a good breathing technique, health-related issues, bad diet, or simply bad habits.

Vocal fry caused by a bad breathing technique

Although most singers do know how to breathe while they sing, but this is not true for most beginner singers. Generally what tends to happen is those beginner singers will aim to sing higher notes than what they are actually capable of, and oftentimes they run out of breathing while they are singing, and this is called the singing vocal fry. Luckily for you, I have created an in-depth article about breathing techniques, you can use them to get rid of your vocal fry Proper breathing technique for singing ( Top 12 Techniques ).

Vocal fry caused by health-related issues

if you have a vocal fry then one of the reasons for it could be that you have some health-related conditions. Generally, speaking health issues with your lungs, throat, and vocal cords can cause you to have vocal fry. In some cases, even the flu can make you develop a temporary vocal fry, although this is normal, and with plenty of tea and rest your vocal fry will simply vanish in a matter of days.

Vocal fry caused by bad diet

Diet directly impacts the quality of your voice, especially if you are a singer. There are a lot of foods and drinks that actually hinder your voice, such as dairy products, coffee, alcohol, smoking, and even vaping. As the vocal fry is mostly caused by shortness of breath while you are talking or singing then it is a good idea to have a diet that actually helps you breathe properly, rather than to hinder your breathing.

Vocal fry caused by bad habits

Most people underestimate how bad habits can impact your singing voice in the long run. The problem with bad habits is that they are extremely hard to unlearn, especially if you are using that bad habit every day, like in the case of vocal fry speaking. Some singers who teach themself to sing and wish to develop a deeper voice, force themselves so much that their deep voice is actually beneath their chest voice, which will cause vocal fry.

Vocal fry caused by anxiety

There are some people who have a nervous voice that sounds like vocal fry. Some of them do not have vocal fry but once they get nervous they start speaking and singing with vocal fry, this is mostly due to anxiety. Generally speaking, this tends to happen to most beginner singers, as they are not used to being in the center of attention, especially while they sing. Although being nervous in such a situation is fairly normal, the problem is when this anxiety comes out at auditions.

I have seen a lot of singers who sung fairly when while practicing for an audition, and during the audition, they are vocal fry singing, mostly due to anxiety. If you have stage fright or anxiety then you will have to face your fears sooner or later if you want to become a professional singer. By far one of the easiest ways to do this is to get more experience singing in front of other people. Start small and sing in front of your family, then gradually increase the number of people in front of who you are singing by going to different events.

Anybody can change their voice, and this is true even if you have a vocal fry, the problem occurs when the vocal fry is so embedded in your personality that you can not imagine yourself speaking or singing without vocal fry. If you are a singer with vocal fry that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to your singing career, far from it, there are plenty of famous singers with a vocal fry like the Kardashians and Katy Perry.

Vocal fry caused by uptalk

Uptalk is when a person pronounces the end of the sentence in such a manner that it sounds more like a question, even if it is a statement. Some people who use uptalk during their everyday conversation and even singing, also use vocal fry. This simply put only makes the confusion worse, and if you are using uptalk and vocal fry you will see plenty of eyes rolling and some people outright ignoring you.

The problem with uptalk in combination with vocal fry is that you never know if they are saying a statement or asking you a question, and in my personal opinion, it makes them sound weak and submissive. While there is nothing wrong with being weak and submissive you might find it harder to convince people if you are a salesman or in business in general. There is currently a massive trend among the younger generation to use uptalk and vocal fry while they are speaking, this is mostly due to the fact that they are probably trying to imitate somebody and to adopt their “style”.

How to get rid of vocal fry

You simply have to troubleshoot what is causing your vocal fry, my recommendation is to first eliminate any possible health-related issues. From there on you should focus on breathing techniques, diet, and getting rid of your bad habits. Do note that most health-related issues might be due to diet and with a simple change in diet, you could get rid of your vocal fry. Or in some cases, the main cause of your vocal fry might even be due to a combination of the above-mentioned reasons.


If you have vices like drinking, smoking, or even vaping then you will have to quit them to get rid of your vocal fry. Sometimes one of your vices is the main cause of your vocal fry and simply quitting them and letting your body recover for a couple of months will get rid of the vocal fry. If you were a smoker and have recently changed to vaping because it is healthier then read my recent article Does vaping affect my singing voice? ( 11 ways how it kills your voice ).

Another simple way of getting rid of vocal fry is to increase your pitch, as the vocal fry tends to happen when your pitch is even lower than your lowest pitch, I hope that sentence makes sense. To be able to do this you will have to focus on speaking and singing with a higher pitch, and believe me that this sounds a lot easier than it actually is. The problem is that most people use their chest voice and the same pitch for speaking since they can remember, and changing their pitch will take a lot of time and effort.

Is vocal fry a disorder?

No, vocal fry is not a disorder, most likely it is just a habit. Most people pick up speaking or singing with a vocal fry in their early childhood either from one of their family members or from some close friend or relative. Some people subconsciously adopt the vocal fry, in an attempt to sound more like their favorite artist or someone who they look up to. Although most people think that vocal fry is unhealthy, the truth is that there is simply no scientific evidence that vocal fry actually harms your body in any shape or form.

Some singers who have vocal fry had been under surgery to remove vocal cord nodules, and this is why some people might think that vocal fry is harmful to your body. The truth is that most of these singers who got surgery for vocal nodules are because they are using their falsetto voice which actually creates vocal nodules and a wobble sound effect after a prolonged period of use.

In conclusion

Vocal fry can be caused by a number of things addressed above in the article, although if you are not a singer you shouldn’t worry a lot about having a vocal fry. Unless your vocal fry is annoying people and you got sent this article by a friend, in this case, you should take it as a hint. If you are a singer my recommendation is to try to get rid of your vocal fry when singing, honestly speaking nobody cares how you sound while you speak in the music industry.