Man sneezingYou know how you’re often told not to audition when you are sick?

Aside from the implications of overextending and abusing your voice, what are some of the professional consequences of booking a gig auditioned for with a “sick” voice when you’ve recovered and you are the picture (or sound) of health?
What do you do?
Share your experiences and tips for recreating that sound in today’s VOX Daily.

Mission Impossible?

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s hard to recreate how you sound when you’re under the weather?
What about recreating the properties of your “morning” voice when you have a breathier delivery?
The rule of thumb is to refrain from auditioning when you are sick. This is mainly advised to help preserve your voice, however, another reason why you may choose not to audition during illness is that if you book a job, you have to replicate how you sounded at the time of your sickness even though your voice has returned to normal.

Facing the Challenge Voice On

Depending on what it was that ailed you or what the state of your voice was at the time of recording, it may be easy to recreate the sound that won you the job without doing too much harm to your precious vocal folds.

One way to recreate a plugged up sounding voice is to either pinch your nose or speak in a more adenoidal style. Sounding adenoidal requires you to stretch your muscles a bit. You’ll also get to explore a different part of your instrument that may prove useful for character voice acting.

To obtain a raspy voice, you could drink a beverage containing caffeine or a small quantity of something sour or bitter such as diluted lemon juice to help dry the vocal folds out a bit.
Remember, if you chose to audition for a job while sick or otherwise, you must be able to reproduce your audition! Do what ever it takes within reason to achieve your goal.

What Do You Do?

How have you been able to replicate a winning audition booked with a less than healthy voice?
Share your stories and ideas as comments below!
Looking forward to hearing from you,

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. What a nightmare! LOL. All I can say is, stay healthy! I havent booked a gig while sick yet, and I do not look forward to it, however, I do have a foolproof method to an improved voice in an emergency situation:
    A cup of hot tea, a squeeze of lemon, a splash of milk, and a raw egg. Down that, and your voice will be good to go for up to an hour.

  2. This is a good question. I just had the opposite experienced. I booked a job with a healthy audition and had a sick voice when it was time to record. Fortunately the deeper sound worked for the job, but I had recovered by the time they asked for some changes. What happens if you are sick when it is time to record?

  3. I’ve booked jobs while suffering from minor allergies, but have taken great care to be honest with the potential client about the state of my voice. In each case, the session date was within hours or days of the audition and (unfortunately) I was able to match my “80%” sound for the finished work. So, so important to be honest though–the client needs to be able to make an informed decision.

  4. My first national spot was booked with my “sick voice!” Then twice a year I’d call that ad agency to let them know I had laryngitis! (It was an allergy thing that hit me every Oct & April)

  5. This happened quite recently:
    After auditioning while (apparently) healthy, I came down with a cold. The client then contacted me for a scripted audition. So, I pumped in the decongestant, got in a nice steamy shower, and – once things had cleared a bit – recorded the new audition.
    The client awarded me the job. I went through the same procedure the next day and completed the work in record time.
    I knew that there would be a quick turn-around, so I was not concerned about getting back to my normal voice prior to the project.

  6. That very same thought has crossed my mind in the past. I actually refrain from auditioning when I’m sick for that very reason. 🙂

  7. Just made big mistake, couldn’t help myself and ate a piece of really strong cheddar cheese 🙂 Trouble is I’m recording and have a “sticky” voice now! – water and apple quick

  8. Thank you for sharing, everyone!
    @Scott Great idea about the warm fluids and lemon to get excess gunk out of there. The milk and the raw egg though… what a combo!
    @Jill An excellent question to ask. What happens if you get sick after you’ve booked a gig with your normally healthy voice? We’ll look into that one in the future 🙂 Thanks!
    @Andi You’re absolutely right. The client has a right to know if you are up to snuff or if your voice is not what they imagined it to be when casting you. Don LaFontaine’s voice, when he was quite ill, had changed dramatically. Many of his clients still worked with him because he had such great relationships built. You may find that to be true with your long term clients as well.
    @Julie That’s neat that you could track your sick voice and promote it to clients who liked your sound during those seasons!
    @HP What a regiment! You were determined to get it right and within a short window of time 🙂 Some artists will go to any length to get the job done. So long as it doesn’t hurt you or cause any damage to your voice, go for it!
    @Debbie Morning voice! That one must be difficult to replicate convincingly. Good on ya!
    @Scott That’s the ticket 🙂 If you refrain from auditioning when you’re sick you’ll be saving your voice and giving it more time to heal. It may mean that you are sacrificing some opportunities but nothing takes more precedence than your voice. If you don’t have one, you can’t work as a voice over professional!
    @Carole Cheese is a weakness of mine, too 🙂 I know what you’re talking about! Hope the stickiness subsides for you soon. That could be another topic entirely. How to get rid of stickiness in your voice after giving in to dairy!

  9. What an interesting slant on what to do if you’re sick. If you choose to audition and get booked for a gig based on your “sick” voice, yes, you’re going to have to reproduce that voice. It might help to understand what happens when you do get a cold or an upper respiratory infection that occludes your nasal passages. The typical result is that nasal sounds (m, n and ng) which are usually produced by having some air resonated in the nose are missing that “normal” nasal resonance. So an “m” sounds like a “b”, an “n” sounds like a “d” and an “ng” as is in the word “sing” sounds like a “g”. Another typical outcome is that some sounds are omitted. For example, the sentence “I have a cold in my nose” may sound like, “I have a code id by doze”. I hope this helps!
    Bonnie Engel Lee, Speech/Language Pathologist

  10. What an interesting reading about what do you do when your “Sick ” voice . & what you have to do is drink tea ” HOT” and Let it cool down your throat . 🙂 hope you feel better

  11. I made this mistake once and only once. The voice-over was kicked back by the client (first and last time this ever happened) and the client was confused by the attempt.

  12. Thanks for all the information. After reading of other Voice actor’s experience I think the best thing from my perspective is to not audition when sick. Want to keep my voice safe but interesting to hear all these comments. Cheers.


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