Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Botox Gave Me Back My Voice; It Has Taken Folk Star Linda Thompson 30 Years to Sing Again, All Thanks to Injections Used for Wrinkles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Botox Gave Me Back My Voice; It Has Taken Folk Star Linda Thompson 30 Years to Sing Again, All Thanks to Injections Used for Wrinkles

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM COOPER

AT the Cambridge Folk Festival on Sunday Linda Thompson will do something she never thought she would do again - sing in front of a live audience. For the past 30 years the London-born folk pioneer has battled with a throat affliction that forced her to retire from recording nearly two decades ago.

Her quest for a cure took her around the world and used up most of her savings. But two years ago, Linda finally found an unlikely remedy - Botox injections directly into her throat. Last year she released an acclaimed comeback album, aptly titled Fashionably Late. And this weekend she returns to the folk festival circuit, aged 55.

Hysterical dysphonia is a stressrelated condition affecting women aged between 30 and 50 that makes it difficult - and sometimes impossible - to sing or even talk because of involuntary muscle spasms that close up the vocal cords.

Most specialists believe the condition is psychosomatic, treatable by psychotherapy. But some American doctors have begun to use Botox injections, which calm the spasms by preventing nerves from communicating with the muscles.

In the early Eighties, when Linda's musician husband Richard Thompson left her only a week after she had given birth to their third child, she was so upset she couldn't speak for an entire year.

At the Chelsea townhouse she shares with her second husband, talent agency owner Steve Kenis, Linda oozes the self-confidence that eluded her for so many years.

"It began in 1973 when I was pregnant with my first child, Muna. I would go to get a note out and there would be a delay: like a constriction. I put it down to pregnancy.

"Then, when Richard left me in 1982, I was literally struck dumb. I had just had a third child, Kamila, a week earlier and I couldn't speak or even make a sound. I later found out Richard was having an affair, too. I had three small children, a new baby, no husband, no voice, no career and I was heartbroken - about Richard, not about the voice really, but I had to stay positive."

Linda went to a psychiatrist, who suggested speech therapy, and also tried psychotherapy, "But neither of them worked for me. …

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