Jed learns to take it easy

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2015 - 12:00am

What is a singer without his voice? That was the question running through Jed Madela’s head when he came down with a bad case of laryngitis recently. It was so bad that Jed went on complete vocal rest following a check-up with his doctor Wilfred Hernandez — the same one who looks after Lea Salonga and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid — which meant Jed couldn’t talk, much less sing, for weeks.

At a get-together with his fans club Tribe of Jed, the singer spoke at length about his battle with laryngitis. “I’m not completely well but I can feel it getting better. My doctor told me to rest for four more weeks, so probably the entire January wala akong shows. Pero okay lang daw for me to do ASAP kasi hindi naman taxing yung kinakanta ko doon.”

Jed had been so busy over the past couple of months that he forgot to take care of himself and his voice. “Last October and November, I was doing shows left and right. Full concerts, and not just ordinary ones mga two- or three-hour concerts na ako lang mag-isa ang nag-pe-perform, walang guests. May out-of-town shows, may out-of-the-country shows. I thought I could pull it off. Successful naman lahat ng concerts ko but hindi kinaya ng voice ko. Eventually, it gave up.”

His voice had been under considerable strain over the past couple of months but the situation came to a head on Dec. 1, the day he won the highest honor given by the Aliw Awards Foundation. “That was the day na nanalo ako ng Entertainer of the Year,” recalls Jed. “Receiving the award with no voice was depressing. I was able to deliver a speech but I was croaking. My voice was already cracking. The Aliw Awards people asked me to sing and I was able to sing pa naman but nahihirapan na ako noon.”

Jed originally planned to sing the vocally demanding Climb Ev’ry Mountain from The Sound of Music but because of his condition, he had to switch songs. Even then, Jed still found it hard to sing with his voice in such bad shape. He had trouble singing The Past which was one of the first songs he released years ago.

By that time, Jed couldn’t take it anymore. He went in for a check-up and was told that he had acute laryngitis. “Dr. Hernandez told me nung nagpa-check up ako na critical state na, as in any time may ugat na pala sa throat ko na pwedeng pumutok. My entire throat, my vocal cords, everything was swelling up already. The normal color of the throat should be pinkish-white but my throat was blood red already which was a sign of strain. Not only that, there was a virus pa kaya naging acute yung laryngitis.”

So it was for that reason he went on a vocal rest. During the two- to three-week period that he couldn’t sing or talk, Jed was the picture of despair and frustration. But the physical pain didn’t bother him as much as the psychological pain did. “More than the pain in my throat, my problem was the pain in my mind. During that time, I started thinking, ‘What if my voice never comes back?’ I asked myself, ‘Who am I without my voice?’ I started questioning my identity. Iniisip ko kasi noon na walang Jed Madela kung wala akong boses. Panic mode na talaga ako noon.”

Jed was so terrified that he would lose his voice permanently that he started making back-up plans. “I met with my cousins and the rest of my family, and I raised the possibility of retiring kung mawala na talaga yung boses ko. Tinanong ko sila kung mag-ne-negosyo na lang ba kami o ano.”

As of this writing, Jed is no longer on complete vocal rest, although he still has to take it easy until his voice comes back 100 percent. (“Hindi pa ako pwedeng bumirit,” Jed says.) He confesses that this whole ordeal has not only made him more appreciative of his talent, but it helped him realize that he needs to take care of himself, too. “I’ve been giving so much of myself para mapasaya yung ibang tao. Kailangan ko na rin alagaan ang sarili ko para hindi na maulit ito.”

When his voice does come back, Jed is looking forward to touring again, as well as resuming work on his next album for Star Records. “We will do All Requests 4 and then there will be a Philippine tour, followed by a Canadian tour. But I’m excited about the album that’s why I need to recover my voice because the songs I’ll be doing really require the full power of my voice.”

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