You may have heard of the linguistic trend called the “vocal fry.” With celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Zooey Deschanel bringing the linguistic trend to light, the vocal fry has been widely talked about. The vocal fry does have somewhat of a negative connotation, but the vocal fry is here to stay and it’s possible to channel it in your singing voice for the better.

What is vocal fry?

The vocal fry describes a specific sound caused by the movement of the vocal folds in your voice. For a regular speaking sound, vocal folds rapidly vibrate between an open and closed position as air passes through. A vocal fry, on the other hand, is shortened, back and forth vibrations, and tend to have a jittery effect to the voice. The vocal fry, also known as “vibrational mode 0” is the lowest vocal register.

Take a listen to Bradley Cooper’s vocal fry to portray a drunk musician in A Star is Born.

While the vocal fry technically has a negative connotation, the vocal fry may actually have many useful applications in today’s vocal techniques.

What are vocal registers?

A vocal register is a series of notes with a similar sound that comes from a distinct way that your vocal cords will vibrate. The core vocal registers are the vocal fry, chest voice, head voice, and whistle register.

Is a vocal fry safe?

Science tells us that vocal fry is safe and not harmful to your voice. If you feel pain though while singing with vocal fry, be sure to be self-aware and stop when you need to.

How to use the vocal fry while singing

Step 1. Pretend that you wake up in the morning and are saying the “uh” vowel (as in the word “other”).
Step 2. Hold the “uh” sound but do not allow pitch into your voice. You want the “uh” to sound croaky and very relaxed.
Step 3. Make sure your voice is not compressed and you are not pushing your voice louder.

Vocal fry example

Just listen to Britney Spear’s “Oh baby baby” for a vocal fry inspiration

Why use a vocal fry while singing?

Vocal frys are beneficial to add emotion, hit lower notes, add sass, get your metal sounding growl, and reduce tension.