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What Is Vocal Fry and How To Get Rid of It?

Vocal fry is a fascinating vocal phenomenon that has garnered attention in recent years, both for its unique sound and its implications for communication and vocal health. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of vocal fry, exploring its definition, examples, effects on voice, and popular misconceptions.

Explanation of Vocal Fry

At its core, vocal fry refers to a vocal register characterized by a low, creaky sound produced when the vocal folds are brought together loosely, creating irregular vibrations. 

This results in a popping or rattling quality often likened to the sound of frying bacon, hence the term “vocal fry.” It typically occurs at the lowest end of a person’s vocal range, producing a deep, resonant tone.

Brief Overview of the Topics to be Covered

Throughout this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into various aspects of vocal fry, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of this vocal phenomenon. 

We’ll explore examples of vocal fry in popular culture, discuss what vocal fry sounds like, examine its potential effects on vocal health, and address common questions such as whether vocal fry is harmful and how to mitigate it if desired. 

By the end, you’ll have a clearer grasp of what vocal fry is, its significance, and its impact on speech and society. Let’s dive in!

What is Vocal Fry?

Vocal fry, also known as glottal fry, pulse phonation, or creaky voice, is a vocal register characterized by a low, creaky sound produced when the vocal folds are brought together loosely, creating irregular vibrations. 

This distinctive sound is often described as a crackling or popping noise, similar to the sound of frying bacon. Vocal fry typically occurs at the lowest end of a person’s vocal range, resulting in a deep, resonant tone.

To produce vocal fry, the vocal folds are allowed to come together in a relaxed and slack manner, causing them to vibrate irregularly. This irregular vibration pattern creates the characteristic low-frequency pulses that define vocal fry. 

Unlike modal voice, which is the normal speaking voice used in everyday conversation, vocal fry involves a different configuration of the vocal folds and produces a markedly different sound quality.

Vocal fry is commonly observed in speech, particularly at the end of phrases or sentences, and can also be intentionally exaggerated for stylistic or expressive purposes. While it was traditionally considered a vocal disorder or speech pathology, vocal fry has gained acceptance as a natural and normal vocal phenomenon, especially among younger generations and in certain cultural contexts.

Origins and Evolution of Vocal Fry

The origins of vocal fry are not definitively known, but it has been observed across various languages and cultures throughout history. Some researchers believe that vocal fry may have evolved as a natural vocalization pattern, possibly as a way to convey emphasis, emotion, or social cues in speech.

In recent decades, vocal fry has gained increased visibility and prevalence, particularly in Western societies and popular culture. It has been observed in various forms of media, including television, film, music, and social media platforms. 

Celebrities and public figures, in particular, have been noted for their use of vocal fry, contributing to its normalization and popularization among younger generations.

The evolution of vocal fry from a stigmatized speech pattern to a widely accepted vocal style reflects changing attitudes toward vocal expression and communication norms. While some continue to view vocal fry skeptically, others embrace it as a natural and valid aspect of vocal diversity and self-expression.

Examples of Vocal Fry

Notable Celebrities Known for Vocal Fry

Vocal fry, with its unique sound and distinctiveness, has not only become a part of everyday speech for many but has also been embraced by several notable celebrities across various industries. Here are some individuals known for their use of vocal fry:

  • Kim Kardashian: The reality TV star and business mogul is often cited as a prominent example of vocal fry in popular culture. Her distinctive voice, characterized by frequent use of vocal fry, has been widely imitated and parodied.
  • Zooey Deschanel: The actress and singer-songwriter is known for her quirky and distinctive vocal style, which often incorporates vocal fry. Her use of vocal fry adds a laid-back and cool quality to her speech and singing.
  • Britney Spears: The pop icon’s voice has evolved over the years, but she has been noted for her occasional use of vocal fry, particularly in her earlier music. Vocal fry can be heard in some of her songs and interviews, contributing to her unique vocal identity.
  • Katy Perry: Another pop superstar, Katy Perry, has been observed using vocal fry in her singing and speaking voice. It adds a raspy and sultry quality to her vocals, enhancing her performance style.
  • Emma Stone: The Academy Award-winning actress is known for her distinctive voice, which occasionally incorporates vocal fry. Her use of vocal fry adds depth and character to her performances, making her voice instantly recognizable.

These celebrities serve as examples of how vocal fry can be used as a stylistic choice in speech and performance, influencing popular culture and shaping perceptions of vocal expression.

Audio Clips or Video Examples

To better understand vocal fry and its usage in speech and performance, it can be helpful to listen to audio clips or watch video examples. Here are some resources where you can hear vocal fry in action:

  • YouTube: Search for interviews or speeches by the celebrities mentioned above. Many clips are available online where you can hear vocal fry in their natural speaking voices.
  • Podcasts: Some podcasts feature discussions or interviews with celebrities where vocal fry may be present. Listen closely to hear how vocal fry is used in conversational settings.
  • Music Streaming Platforms: Explore songs by artists known for their use of vocal fry, such as Zooey Deschanel or Katy Perry. Pay attention to moments where vocal fry is incorporated into their vocal performances.

How Does Vocal Fry Sound Like?

Vocal fry possesses distinct sound characteristics that set it apart from other vocal registers. Here’s a closer look at the unique qualities of vocal fry:

  • Low Frequency: Vocal fry is characterized by a low-frequency sound, often described as creaky or rattling. This low pitch results from the irregular vibration pattern of the vocal folds when they are brought together loosely.
  • Creaky Quality: The irregular vibrations of the vocal folds produce a creaky or crackling quality in vocal fry. This distinctive sound is akin to the popping noise heard when frying bacon, giving vocal fry its name.
  • Limited Pitch Range: Vocal fry typically occurs at the lowest end of a person’s vocal range. While it can be produced intentionally and controlled to some extent, it generally lacks the pitch variation found in modal voice or falsetto.
  • Staccato Effect: Vocal fry often manifests as short bursts or pulses of sound, contributing to its staccato-like quality. This effect is a result of the irregular closure and opening of the vocal folds during phonation.
  • Relaxed Tone: Unlike the clear and resonant tone of modal voice, vocal fry has a more relaxed and subdued quality. It lacks the fullness and projection of other vocal registers, giving it a laid-back and informal character.

Overall, vocal fry’s sound characteristics make it a distinctive and recognizable vocal phenomenon, with applications in speech, music, and performance.

Comparison with Other Vocal Techniques

While vocal fry has its own unique sound qualities, it’s helpful to compare it with other vocal techniques to better understand its differences and similarities:

  • Modal Voice: Modal voice, also known as chest voice or head voice, is the typical speaking voice used in everyday conversation. It is characterized by clear articulation, full resonance, and a wider pitch range compared to vocal fry. Modal voice is used for most forms of communication and vocal expression.
  • Falsetto: Falsetto is a vocal register characterized by a light, airy quality and a higher pitch range. Unlike vocal fry, which occurs at the lower end of the vocal range, falsetto typically involves the vibration of the vocal folds in a thin and stretched manner, producing a higher-pitched sound.
  • Vocal Fry vs Vocal Fry: While vocal fry shares some similarities with vocal fry, such as their lower pitch range, they differ in their sound quality and production. Vocal fry tends to have a more consistent and sustained sound compared to the intermittent pulses of vocal fry.

The Popularity of Vocal Fry

Vocal fry has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, influencing speech patterns and communication styles across various cultures. Here’s a closer look at its cultural influence and trends:

  • Social Acceptance: Vocal fry, once stigmatized as a speech disorder or vocal affectation, has become increasingly accepted as a natural and normal aspect of vocal expression. This shift in perception has led to its widespread use among younger generations and in various social contexts.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: The adoption of vocal fry by celebrities and public figures has played a significant role in its popularity. Influential personalities in entertainment, media, and social media platforms have normalized vocal fry through their public appearances, interviews, and performances.
  • Youth Culture: Vocal fry is particularly prevalent among younger demographics, shaping the speech patterns and communication styles of millennials and Generation Z. It has become a marker of youth culture and linguistic identity, influencing how individuals express themselves and relate to others.
  • Internet and Social Media: The rise of internet culture and social media platforms has contributed to the proliferation of vocal fry. Short-form content such as videos, memes, and TikTok clips often feature vocal fry as a stylistic choice, further amplifying its visibility and influence.
  • Influence on Language Evolution: Vocal fry’s popularity has sparked discussions about language evolution and linguistic innovation. As speech patterns evolve over time, vocal fry represents a contemporary manifestation of language change and adaptation in response to social and cultural factors.

Overall, vocal fry’s cultural influence reflects broader shifts in communication norms and linguistic diversity, highlighting its role as a dynamic and evolving aspect of modern speech.

Media Representation and Perception

Media representation plays a crucial role in shaping public perception and attitudes toward vocal fry. Here are some key aspects of how vocal fry is portrayed and perceived in the media:

  • Portrayal in Entertainment: Vocal fry is often depicted in entertainment media, including television, film, and music. Characters in TV shows and movies may use vocal fry to convey specific personality traits or social identities, influencing audience perceptions of the vocal register.
  • Professional Contexts: In professional settings such as journalism, broadcasting, and public speaking, vocal fry may be viewed differently depending on cultural norms and expectations. While some perceive vocal fry as unprofessional or distracting, others may see it as a neutral or even trendy vocal style.
  • Gender Dynamics: There is ongoing debate about gender dynamics and vocal fry, particularly regarding perceptions of female speakers. Women are sometimes criticized more harshly for their use of vocal fry compared to men, leading to discussions about gender bias and vocal discrimination.
  • Perception in Social Discourse: Vocal fry has become a topic of public discourse, with media outlets, linguists, and commentators offering perspectives on its significance and implications. Discussions range from its impact on vocal health to its role in gendered language use and societal norms.
  • Normalization and Acceptance: Despite varying perceptions, vocal fry has become increasingly normalized in media representations, reflecting broader shifts in language attitudes and cultural acceptance. As vocal fry continues to be featured in diverse media contexts, its portrayal and perception are likely to evolve over time.

Is Vocal Fry Bad for Your Voice?

Vocal fry has been subject to various myths and misconceptions regarding its impact on vocal health and communication. Here, we’ll debunk some of the common myths surrounding vocal fry:

Vocal Fry Causes Permanent Damage

One of the most prevalent myths is that vocal fry can permanently damage the vocal folds. However, research suggests that vocal fry, when used in moderation and with proper technique, is unlikely to cause lasting harm to the voice. Like any vocal technique, vocal fry can be used safely with proper vocal hygiene practices.

Vocal Fry is Always Indicative of Vocal Pathology

While vocal fry can be associated with certain vocal disorders in extreme cases, it is not inherently pathological. In fact, vocal fry is a natural vocal phenomenon that occurs in most individuals to some degree. It only becomes problematic when it is excessively strained or used improperly.

Vocal Fry is a Sign of Weakness or Inadequacy

Some perceive vocal fry as a sign of weakness or inadequacy in communication, particularly when used by women. However, vocal fry is simply a vocal register with its own expressive qualities and cultural associations. Like any speech pattern, its interpretation may vary depending on social context and individual perception.

By debunking these myths and misconceptions, we can better understand vocal fry as a natural and normal aspect of vocal expression, free from undue stigma or misinformation.

Understanding Vocal Health Concerns

While vocal fry is generally considered safe when used in moderation and with proper technique, there are still some vocal health concerns to be aware of:

Excessive Use and Vocal Fatigue

Prolonged or excessive use of vocal fry without proper vocal rest and hydration can lead to vocal fatigue and strain. Like any vocal technique, vocal fry should be practiced in moderation to prevent overexertion of the vocal folds.

Impact on Vocal Quality

While vocal fry can add texture and depth to the voice when used judiciously, excessive or habitual use may affect vocal quality over time. It’s essential to maintain a balanced vocal repertoire and incorporate vocal exercises to ensure vocal health and flexibility.

Individual Variability 

Not all individuals may tolerate vocal fry equally, as vocal health and resilience can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience discomfort or strain with vocal fry, while others may use it without issue. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust vocal usage accordingly.

Overall, while vocal fry is generally safe for most individuals, it’s essential to be mindful of vocal health concerns and practice good vocal hygiene habits. By understanding the potential risks and benefits of vocal fry, individuals can use this vocal technique responsibly and effectively in their communication and expression.

How to Get Rid of Vocal Fry

Vocal fry, while a natural aspect of vocal production, may become undesirable for some individuals due to its perceived negative effects on communication or vocal quality. Fortunately, there are techniques and resources available to help mitigate or eliminate vocal fry altogether.

Techniques and Exercises for Vocal Improvement

  • Breath Support: Proper breath support is essential for healthy vocal production. Engage in diaphragmatic breathing exercises to strengthen the muscles involved in breath control. Practice inhaling deeply through the nose, allowing the abdomen to expand, and exhaling slowly while engaging the abdominal muscles.
  • Vocal Warm-Up Exercises: Incorporate vocal warm-up exercises into your daily routine to prepare the vocal folds for speaking or singing. Begin with gentle humming, lip trills, sirens, and tongue twisters to gently stretch and awaken the vocal mechanism.
  • Resonance Exercises: Focus on resonance exercises to improve vocal clarity and projection. Practice resonating sound vibrations in different areas of the face and head, such as the nasal cavity, cheekbones, and forehead. Experiment with varying levels of airflow and resonance placement to find a balanced vocal tone.
  • Articulation Practice: Clear articulation is essential for minimizing vocal fry and enhancing vocal clarity. Practice enunciating vowels and consonants crisply and precisely, paying attention to mouth shape, tongue placement, and jaw tension. Tongue twisters and articulation drills can help improve articulatory agility and precision.
  • Hydration and Vocal Health: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep the vocal folds lubricated and flexible. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they can dehydrate the vocal folds. 

Incorporate vocal rest periods into your daily routine, especially if you engage in prolonged speaking or singing activities.

Professional Help and Vocal Coaching

  • Consultation with a Speech-Language Pathologist: If vocal fry persists despite self-care efforts, consider consulting with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in voice disorders. An SLP can assess your vocal health and provide personalized recommendations for improving vocal quality and eliminating vocal fry.
  • Vocal Coaching: Work with a qualified vocal coach or voice teacher who can provide guidance and feedback on your vocal technique. A vocal coach can help identify and address specific areas of vocal tension or strain that contribute to vocal fry. They can also tailor exercises and repertoire to target vocal fry reduction effectively.
  • Voice Therapy: In cases where vocal fry is associated with underlying vocal pathology or misuse, voice therapy may be recommended. Voice therapy sessions with a certified voice therapist can address vocal habits, rehabilitate vocal function, and promote healthy vocal production through targeted exercises and techniques.
  • Professional Evaluation: If vocal fry is accompanied by other symptoms such as vocal fatigue, hoarseness, or discomfort, seek a comprehensive evaluation by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) to rule out any underlying medical conditions or vocal abnormalities.

By incorporating techniques and exercises for vocal improvement and seeking professional guidance as needed, individuals can effectively address vocal fry and cultivate a healthier and more resonant vocal quality. 

With patience, consistency, and proper support, vocal fry can be managed and minimized, leading to enhanced vocal clarity and expression.


Vocal fry is not just a vocal curiosity but a dynamic aspect of speech and communication with cultural, social, and artistic implications. Its widespread use among speakers of all backgrounds underscores its versatility and relevance in contemporary discourse.

While debates surrounding vocal fry continue, its acceptance as a natural and normal vocal phenomenon signals a broader acceptance of vocal diversity and expression.

As we continue to explore the intricacies of vocal communication, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate the diversity of vocal expression, including vocal fry. 

By embracing the richness and complexity of the human voice, we can foster greater understanding, connection, and appreciation in our interactions and communities.