Singing Tips

Why is My Voice Raspy When I Sing? + How to Fix a Raspy Singing Voice

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You may be wondering why your voice is raspy when you sing. It may sound hoarse, rough or husky. This could well be your sultry natural tone. But if it’s a temporary result of illness, it can be remedied through hydration, soothers and rest. 

Do you need some tips for improving your vocal tone? Are you wondering why your voice sounds the way it does and why is may sound raspy when you sing? Whether you’re seeking a raspy rock sound or are wanting to get rid of it, we have everything you need to know on the subject in this article.  

Why is my voice raspy when I sing? 

This is the result of your vocal cords having something called unbalanced adduction. It just means that they don’t come together consistently, so your voice doesn’t sound ‘clean’. A raspy voice can be a great effect on your voice but can cause damage if it causes strain. You’ll know this is the case if your voice is sometimes huskier than at other times – notably when you’ve been singing, shouting or talking a lot. This is an indication of a problem and you need to work on developing correct vocal technique 

As the vocal cords get tired, they fail to come together as effectively and consistently as they used to. This is why it is important to rest your voice and avoid long term damage. If your voice maintains the same consistent level of raspiness, that’s just your natural sound and you’re not doing any damage.  

Raspy voice singers 

A raspy singing can also be caused by singing too softly in the higher register. Your vocal cords tend to need more air and power to sing higher notes. If you don’t supply it, your voice will start to break up and become raspy. So be sure to breathe well and power your voice and never strain it reaching for a note. And if of course, if you’d like to develop that vocal fry, raspiness, here’s how.  

Raspy female singers  

A raspy voice can actually provide an unusual and soulful vocal element to many genres of music, particularly rock, pop and indie.  

Many famous and talented singers have soared to stardom by embracing their husky tone. So, if you love what you sound like, and don’t feel the need to smoothen anything out, celebrate the vocals you have like these female musicians did: 

  • Rihanna 
  • Miley Cyrus 
  • Alicia Keys 
  • Christina Aguilera 
  • P!nk 
  • Amy Winehouse 
  • Stevie Nicks 
  • Macy Gray 
  • Jazmine Sullivan 
  • Bonnie Tyler 
  • Janis Joplin 
  • Joan Jett 

Raspy male singers 

There’s been a recent increase in the number of raspy singers hitting the charts. Here’s a rundown of some of the raspy-voiced male singers in the business – past and present. 

  • Rag’n’Bone Man 
  • Lewis Capaldi 
  • Rod Stewart 
  • Johnny Cash 
  • Bryan Adams 
  • Otis Redding 
  • Bruce Springsteen 
  • Louis Armstrong 
  • Lou Reed 
  • Leonard Cohen 
  • James Brown 
  • Jon Bon Jovi 

How to fix a raspy singing voice 

There are many great ways to make your voice clearer and smoother, but they all revolve around building solid vocal technique and good vocal care. Your vocal cords work hard when singing, so it’s important to look after your voice like you would any other instrument. This can help alleviate those raspy notes here and there. 

Don’t overdo it. Balance your practise and rehearsal with rest.  

How to get rid of a raspy singing voice 

Here are our top tips for getting rid of unwanted rasp in your vocals. 


Stay hydrated 

You should drink plenty of lukewarm water throughout the day, every day so you stay hydrated. Very cold and very hot water is actually bad for the voice and can make things worse, so the temperature should be lukewarm to tepid. For this reason, it’s also recommended that you avoid ice in your drinks, as it causes your cords to stiffen up. You should be drinking around 8 glasses of still water throughout the day to keep your whole body healthy, not just your vocals.  

You may also want to try a vapour inhaler, humidifier or use steam to lubricate your voice. This can be easily done, by filling a bowl with hot water, and placing a tea towel over your head as you inhale the steam. 

The inhaler humidifies, which means adding more water to the air you’re breathing in, allowing your vocal cords to become moister, which is especially effective after lots of singing. 

Care for your voice with natural remedies 

Most of us love honey and the good news is, it’s great for a hoarse voice. Manuka honey is especially beneficial as it’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, perfect for soothing vocal cords. Honey acts as a soothing coating for a sore throat, nurturing your vocal cords and helping to remove that husky undertone. Swallow one tablespoon of honey a few times a day.  

When you’re having your morning bowl of cereal, you can add a dollop of honey too. It’ll make it taste better too! Or you could mix it in some warm water with fresh ginger and lemon for the perfect tonic. Ginger is fantastic for clearing up annoying mucus – another contributor to a hoarse sound. With a mug of ginger tea and a dash of honey, your sleek sounding voice can take centre stage.  

Vocal rest 

Make sure you take plenty of vocal rest. Along with enjoying your singing lessons, singing practice, singing along with your friends or performing at auditions, we also constantly use our vocal cords at school, college, parties and other events. It’s no wonder then that the voice, just like our other muscles, gets tired at times. Just like when we feel in need of a snooze as the clock strikes bedtime, our voice also grows weary and needs a well-deserved rest. Give it what it needs.  

Preventing a raspy voice 

hoarse voice example

We shouldn’t talk for extended periods of time and that whispering should also be avoided. Often people think this will be lighter on the voice, but in fact, it will make your voice even raspier. Think of your voice as spending “vocal cash”. This means setting yourself a budget for the day and really thinking about when to use your voice and when to let it settle. How much vocal cash do you think you could save in a day?

And it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything toward your voice. Take some time to do breathing exercises, go for a run and learn your lyrics via headphones, swim or do some pilates – all of these activities help you build stamina for singing.  

You can give your vocals an exciting workout by being seated or lying flat and placing your hand on your stomach and one on your ribs. Begin by pushing all the air that is being held in your lungs. Follow this with a slow breath in, counting to ten, and out. 

While doing this repeatedly, you’ll begin to fill the gradual expansion of your rib cage. This just highlights how much room you can make for your lungs, so your breath has the best quality possible for singing. 

And if you love your raspy voice, make the most of it! Find songs that fit your style and see where your unique tone could take you.  

Related Questions 

  • What is the best rasping singing voice cure? 

The best place to start if you have a temporary raspiness caused by a cough, cold or flu, is herbal remedies along with vocal rest and hydration. Longer-term, singing lessons can help correct problems with your vocals.  

  • Is raspy voice attractive? 

It depends on what you like and what you find appealing, but many people find husky voices to be very attractive – both when speaking and singing. Do you have any celebrity crushes who have raspy voices? 

  • My voice is hoarse, and I need to sing tonight – what do I do? 

This is a common problem for singers, especially in winter. A quick solution is honey and lemon in chamomile tea (not too hot). Keep a positive and calm attitude, as the calmer you are, the calmer your voice box will be. The adrenaline will see you through.  

Is your voice raspy when you sing? Do you go with it, or have you worked to lose the huskiness? Let us know in the comments below.