Why Do I Cry When I Sing?

Published Categorized as Singing

If you are halfway through your practice and see that you are starting to tear up when singing, this may be something that you might want to work on especially if you are preparing for a performance. Knowing why you cry when you sing can help you get to the bottom of the issue. 

You may cry when you sing because the lyrics can trigger an emotion, you’re trying too hard to perform, or it could be a performance technique.

In this article, we will explore the different reasons why singing and listening to music can provoke tears and we will also discuss how crying while signing can help your vocals.

Man singing in church

Why Do I Cry When I Sing?

If you are singing a ballad or have been singing for a long period of time and notice that you start to well up then you may be wondering why does singing make me cry? Even though there are some scientific reasons why you could be crying due to singing, it is most likely an emotional issue. Here is a list of the top reasons why singing can cause you to cry:

  • The lyrics could trigger an emotion
  • Trying too hard to perform
  • A performance technique

The Lyrics Could Trigger an Emotion

If you are singing an emotional song, to be able to perform the song well you may need to have an understanding of the lyrics. If the lyrics connect to you or describe a negative life experience you have previously had then they may cause you to become emotional.

Even if the song’s lyrics are not covering heavy topics, lyrics always tend to be based on topics that the writer is passionate about. Passion is an emotion that can actually trigger tears of either joy or sadness and can be very influential on your emotions.

Trying Too Hard to Perform

Every singer not only wants to perform the song correctly musically but they also want to deliver a memorable and admired performance. Many vocalists want to show their passion for the song, the audience, and the topic of the song to be able to connect to their audience with the message the song is trying to give.

This can lead to singers trying too hard on people and tears can show which could not be so useful. For many singers, crying will not improve your vocal performance as it will affect the quality of your voice in the moment. If you are wanting to show emotion when performing, it is best to only show a few tears as you do not want to end up crying uncontrollably.

A Performance Technique

You may have seen many famous performers shed a tear once in their career while performing. This could very well be genuine emotion but it could also be a performance technique. When the audience can see the emotion of the performer, they will become more invested and believe the authenticity the singer is aiming to deliver.

There are a variety of reasons that vocalists and performers start crying during a song. It is hard to pinpoint why you can cry when you sing for just one reason. Crying when performing or singing does not always mean that the vocalist is experiencing sad emotions. Many people can cry when they experience happy emotions, when they are angry or when they are overwhelmed. There are a wide variety of emotions that can trigger tears.

Ways of Overcoming Crying While Singing

Crying can negatively affect the performance quality of your vocal and if you find that you have less control over your vocal, then you may need to learn how not to cry when you sing. Crying while singing can make your words sound slurred and be distracting when it comes to your diction.

If the audience can not understand the lyrics you are singing they may feel disconnected from the song. If you begin crying heavily, you will not be able to control your pitch as well as you could and therefore the vocal performance may start to sound out of tune and wobbly.

Here is a list of things you can try to stop yourself from crying when singing:

  • Practice daily meditation
  • Aim to relax while performing
  • Take breaks
  • Aim to heal negative emotions
  • Rehearse singing song that may trigger you

Practice Daily Meditation

Practicing meditation daily can help you control negative emotions and allow yourself to be more in tune and connected with your emotions and your body. It is a common issue that many people keep their emotions bottled up until they eventually can not control how those emotions are released and when.

If you do keep your emotions bottled up, it may be the reason why you find song lyrics and singing triggering. Practicing meditation techniques can help soothe these negative emotions and allow you more control over your vocal performance in the long run.

Aim to Relax While Performing

Nerves can get the best of us at times and it is more than likely you will have some nervous energy when performing to a crowd. Managing these performance nerves will help you keep control of your emotions.

There is no quick fix to solving performance anxiety but practicing relaxing techniques in your daily life may help you feel more in control. These relaxing techniques could be breathing exercises or retraining your thoughts.

Here is a tutorial on how to practice vocal yoga to improve your vocal performance:

Take Breaks

If you do feel yourself getting overwhelmed when singing then there is no harm in taking small but regular breaks to make sure that you can keep yourself composed. In an ideal world, you do not want to interrupt your performance but you can practice breathing exercises between songs and even take a few minutes for a breather.

Aim to Heal Negative Emotions

If you are feeling negatively in your personal life and find that your emotions and reactions come out while you are singing, it may be time to address these issues. Addressing negative emotions by either working on yourself or starting some therapy can help how you feel on a daily basis and therefore, help how you feel while you are singing.

Rehearse Singing Song That May Trigger You

Rehearsing songs that may regularly make you sad and trigger you will massively help when you are wanting to perform these songs live. If you rehearse the same song multiple times, by the tenth time you will most likely feel stronger when singing the lyrics and be able to compose yourself during your vocal performance.

Crying Listening to Music

Listening To Music Crying and crying when singing is two separate issues. It is more common for people to cry when listening to music than it is to cry while singing. This is because there is more emotional impact when listening to a song and more of your attention goes to listening to the lyrics. Whereas, if you are singing the song your mind will also be concentrating on several other factors such as pitch, melody, remembering lyrics, and breathing correctly.

The Study On Crying While Listening to Music

A study that was led by researchers Katherine Cotter and Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina, and Kirill Fayn of the University of Sydney explored why people are prone to crying while listening to music and the emotions that those people experience. The results of the study showed that the effect music has on you is based on what type of personality you have.

Music is designed to evoke emotions that can range from sadness, excitement, anger, and peace. It is not only the strong emotions such as grief, loss, sadness, or excitement that can produce tears. Emotions like gratitude or feeling overwhelmed/pressure can also cause some individuals to feel tearful.

woman in black and white floral long sleeve shirt

Why Do My Eyes Water When I Sing?

Why do I tear up when I sing? Well, even though the most likely reason is that you have an emotional connection to the song and that the tears are triggered by emotions, there are some physical factors to consider too. Here are the two scientific reasons why your eyes water when you start to sing:

  • Lacrimal glands
  • Contracting facial muscles

Lacrimal Glands

If you are finding that you are tearing up during a song that requires a lot of movement and big notes, then it may be your lacrimal glands. When you open your mouth to stretch to reach the right notes, this could be putting pressure on your lacrimal glands. These would show in the same way that yawning can make you tear up and would only lightly create water in your eyes.

Contracting Facial Muscles

If you are singing and notice that your face muscles are getting tired, especially your cheeks then this could be the reason that you are tearing up while singing. Over-exhausting your facial muscles can lead to yawning which will naturally make your eyes water up. Singing can put a lot of pressure on your facial muscles but with practice and time, you will have more practice in this area and be able to control it more.

Can Crying While Singing Be A Positive Thing?

As discussed earlier in this article, crying while signing can sometimes have a positive impact on your performance as it displays emotion to your audience. When your audience sees that you are emotionally connected to a song, they start to believe in you as an artist and performer. 

As discussed earlier in this article, crying while signing can sometimes have a positive impact on your performance as it displays emotion to your audience. When your audience sees that you are emotionally connected to a song, they start to believe in you as an artist and performer.

Although, there may be some benefits to crying while singing that is not performance-related. Crying on different notes can actually improve your singing and your general tone of voice. Crying while singing can help your vocal sound to sound smooth and richer in tone. 

Crying while singing can always help remove any strain from your voice and even help when hitting a high note. It is best to see if crying while singing works for you in practice before you bring it to a performance.

It Is Most Likely an Emotional Issue?

Crying while singing is very common and is most commonly either used purposely as a performing technique or as an expression of emotion. If you find that these answers do not fit your case and you are still tearing up while singing it may be linked to your facial muscles! All of these issues can be fixed with practice to help you control when you cry while singing. 

Here are more posts on the blog to check out:

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *