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'I couldn't stand to hear myself': Alison Krauss on the perils of losing her voice

"Singing is such an emotional part of somebody, it’s pretty intimate": Bluegrass and country singer Alison Krauss
"Singing is such an emotional part of somebody, it’s pretty intimate": Bluegrass and country singer Alison Krauss Credit: Amy Sussman/Invision/AP

Alison Krauss has the most beautiful voice you could ever wish to hear. Soft, high and ethereal, it has earned her 27 Grammy awards over the past 26 years – more than any other female singer in American music history. Yet the 45-year old’s new album, Windy City, is her first solo recording since the last millennium and her only release of any kind since 2011. What took her so long? The truth, she tells me, is that in recent years she has been having chronic problems with that voice.

“They call it dysphonia, which is a fancy word for being hoarse,” she says. “Your throat will tighten up. It’s like you’re singing through a little teeny straw. It drives you crazy.”  She tried physical therapy but to no avail. In 2015, she even lost her voice on stage at the start of a gig in Utah with her five-piece band Union Station. “I got up to sing the first verse, opened my mouth and… nothing,” she says....

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