Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys became my client in 2013, while a documentary crew was filming the band’s 20th anniversary journey. The movie “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” is now out, and includes a short scene of our work together. This is a new level of visibility for voice therapy!
I can’t discuss Brian’s diagnosis or therapy, due to medical confidentiality, but here is his own description, from a January 2015 interview at Cosmopolitan.com: “I’ve been diagnosed with what’s called vocal tension dysphonia. The muscles around my vocal cords kind of constrict my vocal cords from doing what they should do. It’s kinda like being a body builder and you have muscles that are so large that they don’t allow you to have flexibility, if that makes sense. There’s also another neurological issue called dystonia. … somewhat of a neurological disconnect between my brain and my vocal cords.
If you talked to me probably four or five months ago, I wouldn’t even be able to do the interview because I wouldn’t have a voice to talk. But I’ve come a long way to be able to just have a conversation, much less make a new Backstreet Boys record. I know there’s a lot on my plate as an individual to be Brian from the Backstreet Boys, so that’s a lot of pressure. The dystonia and the dysphonia comes from nerves, from stress, from muscle tension, from kind of the lifestyle that we live.
It’s a balancing act; I have to try to take care of myself. I have to drink the right things, I have to do the right things, I have to do the right work in order to be the best I can be. But here we are, and I’m talking and that’s great! It’s much better than it was. ”