90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Throat Surgery And Top Singers

With Mike Pesca in for Tom Ashbrook

Adele, Keith Urban, R. Kelly and more. What’s behind the surge in throat surgery for top singers?

British singer Adele performs on the stage of the Miles Davis hall during the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Saturday, July 12, 2008. (AP)

British singer Adele performs on the stage of the Miles Davis hall during the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Saturday, July 12, 2008. (AP)

If you want to sing out sing out.  Unless you can’t. A plague, or at least a spate of cases has afflicted vocalists of late.  Nodules, polyps – hemorrhaged vocal chords.

The soaring English singer Adele has been grounded, Keith Urban, put out to pasture, John Mayer – waitin’ for his throat to heal – all have gone under the knife and laser or are about to.  This isn’t just coincidence say the voice experts and doctors who tend to the broken throated.  Singers are pushing the limits of sound, and some are paying the price.

This hour, On Point: Voices lost and found.

-Mike Pesca

Guests

Shirley Halperin, Music editor for the Hollywood Reporter.

Dr. Steven Zeitels, Director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (the Voice Center) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Penelope Bitzas, Professor of music at Boston University. A mezzo-soprano, she has performed in a variety of musical genres, including opera, contemporary, solo, and orchestral.

Rich Juzwiak, Pop culture writer for The Daily.

From The Reading List

MTV “Now that Kellz has his voice back, he has a few things to say. First, he’d like to say thanks to the fans who held him down during his rough patch and give a shout out to the doctors who stayed focused during his surgery.”

Adele’s blog “Guys, im heartbroken and worried to tell you that yet again im experiencing problems with my voice. its ridiculous i know! i cant believe it myself. i follow all the advice im given and stick to regimes, rules and practices to the best of my ability but it seems to simply not be enough.”

Boston Globe “She’s 23, the hottest singer on the planet, and about to have a leading Boston laryngeal surgeon repair the hemorrhaging in her throat that forced her to cancel her North American tour.”

Photos

Professor Penelope Bitzas in the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Professor Penelope Bitzas in the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Dr. Steven Zeitels outside the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Dr. Steven Zeitels outside the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Video

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 6, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Since Republicans took control of Congress two months ago, an elaborate tug of war has broken out between GOP lawmakers and Obama over who calls the shots on major issues for the next two years. (AP)

Netanyahu’s speech. Hillary Clinton’s email. Obamacare back at the high court. A stunning start to the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 6, 2015
"The Sellout" is novelist Paul Beatty's new book. (Courtesy Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)

Author Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout” is a satirical look at race relations in America. He joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 5, 2015
One in four women use psychiatric medication. The reasons for the medication aren't always so clear. (Flickr)

Are American women being prescribed psychiatric drugs – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics — for normal emotions? We’ll hear out one psychiatrist’s bold claim.

 
Mar 5, 2015
A car passes a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson last summer, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Ferguson. A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.  (AP)

The big Justice Department report finds a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. Now what? We’re back in Ferguson – and beyond — for answers.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 6, 2015
Friday, Mar 6, 2015

Weasels, woodpeckers and a whole bunch of sassy McCall’s dress patterns. Oh, and thoughts on the provenance of caller and guest quotes when and where we post them.

More »
Comment
 
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment