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Why Do My Eyes Water When I Sing? (Plus, Preventative Tips!)

There are several reasons why your eyes water when you sing. These are both emotional and physical. For instance, unresolved emotions triggered by song lyrics, perhaps nerves have got the better of you, or the song is simply too hard for you to sing. Or it could simply be down to eye irritation or the air conditioning.

In this article, I’ll investigate some of the possible emotional and physical causes of why the eyes water when people sing.

Emotional Causes Making Your Eyes Water When Signing

Why Do My Eyes Water when I Sing

I attended a concert a few years ago where the singer, Bebel Gilberto, had tears streaming down her face as she sang the Neil Young song, “Harvest Moon.” She’s a very experienced singer, and I was surprised the tears did not affect her singing voice.

The song may have a particular emotional significance for her, such as the memory of a broken relationship, a long-lost love, time, and place.  

It may be that the lyrics connected her to some form of trauma, which may have made her emotional and caused her to shed more than a tear during the performance.

Music can set off emotions so powerful that we are overcome before we realize it. The mind cannot distinguish between the memory of something and reality.

Alternatively, she may have been simply so “in the flow” of the song and channeling her emotions to make her performance more passionate that she just sang through the tears, like a method actor. 

Finally, it’s possible it was just an act for the audience. 

She may have just been appealing to the audience’s emotions and luring them into her emotional world so they could feel more of an empathetic connection to her.

Physical Causes Making Your Eyes Water When Signing

Eye Irritations 

Sometimes, the cause of watery eyes while signing will be caused by physical conditions that cause tears to flow. 

Perhaps the air-conditioning in the performance venue dries your eyes out, causing them to water, or maybe you are suffering from allergies.  

If you suffer from allergies, click here to explain what might be happening to your eyes and how to help the problem. 

Eye Drops For Eye Irritations When Singing

Eye drops can lubricate the eyes, ease the irritation, and get you back to singing, minus the tears.

Do You Have A Cold?

If you have an upper respiratory tract infection, your eyes may be watery and your nose blocked, making singing very difficult.

In this instance, prevention is better than cure. 

Develop a self-care regimen and take vitamins C, D, and zinc to avoid catching a cold and other nasty viruses!

How Do I Stop Crying While Singing?

Breathe

How Do I Stop Crying While Singing

If you are in the middle of singing a song and you begin to cry, you can employ some simple breathing techniques, such as taking even one deep breath and several more if you have the opportunity.  

Try to feel the air being inhaled through your nose and your tummy expanding as you inhale. 

This will center you and bring you back to your body, rather than being stuck in your mind and overcome by your emotions. 

Try and do this until you feel less emotional, and hopefully, you can continue to sing comfortably.

Meditate

Use Meditation To Improve Your Singing Performance

Regular meditation practice is a path to calming both the mind and body. 

Suppose you can meditate daily, especially for 5-10 minutes, as part of your warm-up routine before rehearsals and performances.

In that case, you will most likely feel more centered and calm during your performances and less likely to be overcome by tears.

Prepare

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! 

If you can sing the song enough, hopefully, you can practice your breathing and meditation routine often enough to find yourself in the flow. 

There won’t be a tear in sight! 

Why Do Singers Close Their Eyes When Singing?

Why Do Singers Close Their Eyes When Singing

Singers close their eyes while singing so that they can be entirely in the emotion and the moment of the material they are singing. 

It means they can concentrate solely on what they are singing, especially high notes or difficult passages to sing. 

They can shut out distractions, e.g., making eye contact with the audience, lights, other musicians, etc.

Does Crying Affect The Singing Voice?

Crying does affect the singing voice. 

When the eye waters, it affects the nasal cavity as it may fill with liquid or become blocked, which affects breathing. A nasal spray may help to alleviate this. Compromised breath means compromised singing technique, stifled or out-of-tune notes, or an inability to sing.

Why Do I Sing Better After Crying?

You sing better after crying because once you have shed tears, you will have released and relieved whatever intense emotions you have felt. 

The swelling in your vocal cords reduces, and you will be able to sing more clearly.

A good vocal coach can provide more information about how your voice box works and why this is important to know.

Final Words

So, I have touched on a few of the emotional and physical causes of your eyes watering when you sing. 

This will be different for everyone, be it feeling strong emotions to a song that triggers a particular association with a person, memory, or place. 

Or the causes can also be physical, ranging from allergy, a cold, or eye irritation.  

Most importantly, developing a self-care routine that helps both mind and body before, during, and after singing – meditate, and you will improve the quality of your life and your singing.

For more great tips, check out this guide on how to sing from your chest.