This is part II of my interview with the inspirational Nancy Bos. Nancy is an international speaker and clinician on singing and speech, as well as the acclaimed author of a number of best-selling books, including The Teen Girl’s Singing Guide. She is also co-author of the book Singing Through Change: Women’s Voices in Midlife, Menopause, and Beyond which has touched the lives of many female singers who are going through perimenopause and menopause and those of us working with singers during that phase in their lives.

In this episode, Nancy speaks candidly about the changing female voice and the uncertainties women are confronted with physically, hormonally and vocally as they enter perimenopause and menopause. Her attitude is one of preparedness and education in order for women to understand what is about to happen throughout these difficult and unpredictable stages, before they begin to happen.

Nancy also describes the various hormonal changes experienced by women as they enter perimenopause and menopause and the most common challenges female singers will experience during this part of their lives. Nancy shares with us her mission is to encourage and educate women who love to sing that they are not alone.

In this episode

1:09 – Introducing Nancy Bos

5:30 – Singing through change

7:52 – Perimenopause

12:33 – The impact on the vocal folds

19:19 – Menopause

21:14 – Nancy’s Menopause journey

24:57 – Marisa’s Peri-menopause journey

35:38 – The wrap up on menopause

37:28 – Nancy’s future plans & projects

42:50 – Nancy’s advice for women

Find Nancy online

Celebrate Singing is Nancy’s new event company promoting the joy of singing, focusing on women in midlife and beyond.

Singing Through Change is Nancy’s new book that is changing everything around menopause and voice!

All of Nancy’s books and podcast can be found on her publishing company page

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with, you listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers, and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers, our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer, take charge and optimise your instrument now. Remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:08

This is part two of my interview with the inspirational Nancy Boss. Nancy is an international speaker and clinician on singing and speech as well as acclaimed author of a number of best selling books including the teen girls singing guide. She is also co author of the book singing through change women’s voices in midlife menopause and beyond, which has touched the lives of many female singers who are going through perimenopause and menopause. And for those of us working with singers during that phase in their lives. Nancy speaks candidly about the female changing voice and the uncertainties women are confronted with physically hormonal II and vocally as they enter perimenopause and menopause. Her attitude is one of preparedness and education in order for women to understand what is about to happen throughout these difficult and unpredictable stages before they actually begin to happen. Nancy also describes the various hormonal changes experienced by women as they enter perimenopause and menopause and the most common challenges female singers will experience during this part of their lives. Nancy shares with us her mission to encourage and educate women who love to sing that they are not alone. Without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode. We’re now going to segue into talking about men a pause. Because some of your greatest work or what you are most well known for is singing through change. Yeah, and thank you so much for your contribution into that field. As a woman, I truly appreciate it. And but before then you dealt with teenage girls, that was your second book, your first book was singing 101. And then came the book for teenage girls. So you must have felt there was a need for these young girls to be reading something about singing? 

Nancy Bos  03:40

Absolutely. If you’ve if you’ve taught hundreds of teenage girls, like if you realise they’re mostly asking the same questions, you’re year after year, and it’s questions based on insecurity and not knowing where they belong or their personality type, you know, just because Meredith wants to be the lead in the musical should you also want to be the lead? Well, maybe not maybe that you’ve got a different reason for why you sing. So the teen girl scene guide takes four typical personality types based on loosely on the Myers Briggs personality, and they they walk through. You know, what about contests? Should you be singing in idle contests? Should you want to do that? Should you be a music major in college? Should you learn how to play piano first? Or maybe that’s what you actually want to do? And you’re just saying, you know, anyway, it just walks the girl through this whole psychology trip of I’m a singer. Now what? Yeah, so the teen girl singing guide was a way for me to give all of the answers that are given over the decades to hundreds and hundreds of teenagers in one book. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:50

Was it also some of the answers you might, may have wanted to hear when you were a teenager?

Nancy Bos  04:57

There is a whole section on performance anxiety. At that I did not write, I hired or not hired, I asked and she gave Diana Allen is a peak performance coach. There’s actually two women in the United States named Diana Ellen, that are peak performance coaches.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:12

You don’t want to get the wrong one,

Nancy Bos  05:16

Actually they’re both fabulous. They’re both fabulous. But the one that I asked is, is our age, not younger. And she wrote a brilliant chapter about performance anxiety geared specifically at these girls.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:27

Yes. And then we come to your third book, singing through change. And what was the inspiration for that book? Was that your own experiences or the women that were around you?

Nancy Bos  05:42

Yeah, my, I have two co authors and singing through change. And the first time that we met, this is what we discussed. Why are we writing this book? So my co author, Kate Frazier, Neely has had multiple surgeries, she’s had a very challenging physical life, there was no information available to her about the menopausal journey, or how it might impact the surgeries or even why she was having them. And as in the process, her body started to shut down and her voice started to shut down. And she was mad. She was so angry that this happened to her and that ignorant doctors, both medical doctors and naturopaths. And woo doctors were giving sometimes terrible advice that made her even worse or making big mistakes. So she was really just angry. And she wanted to get that in the book. Yes, yeah. Joanne Bozeman was the other author and she has always had a passion for women’s reproductive health and reproductive rights. In fact, she was a she worked in the in the field of birth nut, she was the midwife, but she was in that field. An early in her in her 20s, I believe. And so just caring for women throughout their whole journey has always been a passion for and she loves science and deep research. And then for me, I started writing that book before I got into menopause. And what I saw was that women’s voices tended to go silent. Sometime during midlife, there weren’t very many famous singers who were females, ages 50, 60 and 70. And if they were it was a late comeback, or it was a concessionary comeback, like, yeah, I’m singing the song for the first time in 30 years, but I’ve dropped it by a third. I’m so embarrassed. There’s something you know, and so never, hardly ever, except for Mavis Staples, hardly ever full of joy. And so I didn’t want that to happen to me or any other woman if we could help it. So that was my impetus for working on singing through change.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:42

Yes. And there’s a lot of talk about mesopores. Yeah, it’s true throughout our community. But what about perimenopause was the big surprise. That’s the bit that was my big surprise. I as someone who has been through menopause, that I was really the most emotional that I had ever been in my whole life through that period. And I didn’t know that such a thing as perimenopause even existed while I was in perimenopause. Yes, things started to change. So there was the the emotional, almost instability that I would cry at the drop of the hat. Yes. There was also my voice did start to make some changes. And we talked about this and and we talked about the possibility that some of the intonation issues that I was having at that stage was from there. So what happens to a woman when physically when she’s going through perimenopause, and what are the changes that impact the voice? 

Nancy Bos  08:55

Okay, let’s do this. So the big picture of perimenopause is that it happens some women just two or three years before they hit menopause. Some women it can be 10 or more years of perimenopausal symptoms. Reason, I know 10 to 12 years, I’ve talked to women who are in their mid 30s, who are experiencing these fluctuations. Now one of the what’s going on is that what used to be a regular monthly pattern of oestrogen and progesterone, it was just very predictable, especially if you’re on the pill, you know, every 20 to 28 days, this is how you’re going to feel suddenly is just crazy. Like one day the progesterone will be high and the astronaut will be low and the next day they may swap and the next day may be completely level for a month and then bam, they both drop. And there’s no way for you to know what you’re going to go through the very next day or what you went through the day before. And it Yeah, so it messes with our heads. You can get it A lot of sleep problems and sleep problems can cause brain fog. And sleep problems can cause appetite problems, right? We eat more sweets and sugar. When we’ve not had enough sleep, we start putting on weight. It causes our bodies to maybe be overfilled with fluid which makes us not want to work out right where coffee I don’t want to go running away an extra five pounds, you know. And so it’s just messes with us totally.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:25


Nancy Bos  10:25

But not only are women not talking about it, there is no doctor that specialises in perimenopause. There is no medical expert. Really? Yeah, there’s so in the United States. We have ob gyn so that means obstetrician gynaecologist? Is that what you have there too? Yes, we do. Yep. So the obstetrician is is a specialist in helping women have babies. And the gynaecologist is a specialist in female reproductive health. Nobody is a specialist in female reproductive death. When our ovaries and our uterus are saying we’re done, nobody specialises in that unless they’ve decided as an individual to take extra courses to learn about it. And so you have gynaecologists all over the world, giving uninformed advice, and not realising that a woman who’s 33 could be in perimenopause, a woman who’s 27 could be in perimenopause. And a woman who’s 48 might be done already. You know, and they just don’t even ask, they don’t even think about it. Or they might say, as in my case, well, yeah, this is perimenopause. It’ll be fine. It’ll be over in a couple of years. Well, that doesn’t help. That doesn’t help a bit. And no, it might not be a couple years, it might be 10 or 12 years. So for me in my 40s, I was very ego driven that I wanted to think I was younger than I was right. And I was 45. Somebody said, I seemed like I was 38. I was like, Wait, what? Yes. And totally, I was denying my age. My older sister didn’t hit menopause until she was 56. So say, when I was 45, I’m like, holy cow. That’s a whole decade before I even have to think about it. Which is completely wrong. Because at 45 I was smack dab in the middle of it. And I hit menopause when I was 52. So yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:24

I was done by then. Well, and truly.

Nancy Bos  12:27

Yeah, so you asked, yeah, you were already done by then. You asked about the impact on the vocal folds. Yes. Yeah. So I’m gonna go through a little bit of a list. And this list you can find on the website singing through change, and there’s a tab for articles. And this is the first article on there. Go put on my little old lady reading glasses.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:52

You look really smart.

Nancy Bos  12:54

Oh, I’ve noticed all the young people are copying me. So yeah. So oestrogen is wonderful for the vocal folds, it causes suppleness. It supports the glands that make the mucus on the vocal folds of consistency that our vocal folds like, it helps maintain the tone and the bulk of the vocal folds. And just like it does the skeletal muscles, and it blocks every woman has some testosterone or androgens in her body. And as long as you’ve got oestrogen, then that blocks any impact that testosterone might have. And so your voice is pretty stable. And it also increases oxygen to the vocal folds and improves the blood vessels. And so when that oestrogen starts roller coaster, it’s way down and then finally ends, all those benefits, all those benefits go away. And what that can mean is that suddenly you have dry throat, or the mucus is loopy instead of nice and thin. So you know, or, or your one thing that sneaks up on women is that they get gastric reflux. Yeah, GERD, or other things that, that the, the sphincter here at the top of the stomach isn’t closing like it used to, which also happens to women after they’ve had babies. And so they find morning voice if a woman says, Oh, I can’t sing before 10 or I can’t say before 11 in the morning. Well, that’s probably an acid reflux issue, which could be related to hormones. It might not be that you need to go in and have that cervix or closed. It might just be that you need to take some oestrogen, you know, and so there’s there’s direct effects. And then there’s indirect effects and sleeplessness. Oh, my gosh, you’re not try to teach an eight hour day and then perform an opera in the evening. on four hours of sleep night after night after night. Yeah, that’s gonna take a toll. progesterone also has impacts and then once the oestrogen is gone, and then if a woman has a lot of testosterone in her body, or even a nice balance, some women have very little, they won’t find much change, but other women have more testosterone and they’ll find that their voice gets a little bit lower and A little bit richer. So those are all the incredible things. I would say though for the women in perimenopause, it’s the not knowing from day to day day. Is my voice going to be swollen? Or is it going to be fine? Or is it going to be dry? Am I going to get any sleep tonight? I don’t know. You know, am I going to ask her? I don’t know. So, yeah. And then this is this is another gruesome story. But there’s this terrible thing that many women experience called flooding, which is a menstrual period, at its most intense, like changing your pad every hour going on for days. And yeah, and that happens to many, many women. They don’t talk about it. Because it’s a it’s a battle zone, basically. And if it happens, in the case of one of my friends while she was giving a performance, then how do I get off the stage without people seeing this on my legs? You know? Gosh, yeah, it’s terrible. It’s terrible. So I would say the most important thing is that any woman who’s 40 years old or older, learn about perimenopause. Just pick up pick up singing through change. But pick up any book that will talk about perimenopause, or watch some of the amazing YouTube channels now that are covering this and arm yourself with information. It’s it’s not not every woman is going to have all the symptoms. You don’t have to worry about that. But every every woman will have some. Yeah, yeah. And you need to be ready for what might go wrong. But mostly you need to be ready to educate the people around you on how you’re dealing with it and how they can help.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:44

Yeah, so is this something that can be diagnosed through a blood test?

Nancy Bos  16:50

Yeah, there there is. If you get your hormones checked regularly, then a pattern can start to show up. And so right by regularly, I mean every month, two months, three months, you go and have your blood drawn and have these hormone levels taken, then a pattern could could start to be there. And when a woman does enter menopause, there’s a definite like, yep, you’re done. We can see that in your blood test. But it is such a roller coaster. For some women with perimenopause that it’s hard to say, if you’re a person who gets migraines during perimenopause, that might be a very good thing to be able to predict and to know if a hormone treatment will help you, you know, get through that problem.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:29

Yes. And some of those symptoms that you were talking about, they could be attributed to other factors. So women may ignore them. For example, reflux, well, that’s common within our teaching community within the singing community. And then when it comes to being teary and, and emotional, there could be other things that are going on in our lives as much that was happening with me. And, and then lack of sleep if we’re in overwhelm, because we’re busy. So it can be hard to, to self diagnose based on those things, isn’t it?

Nancy Bos  18:10

Yeah, let me give an example of a typical 45 year old Allison Crockett. She spoke it at the singing through charity celebrate singing conference. I believe she’s around 45 I don’t think I’ve asked her. She’s a single mother, with a career as a professor and a career as a recording artist. And, and her her older mother is nearby and needs, rides, places. And so she’s sandwich generation with temperatures and perimenopause all at the same time. Now she could have depression. I don’t know if she does, but she could have depression because she’s not getting enough sleep because she’s got a poor diet because she has a hormone imbalance or maybe it’s a mental depression that will be treated best with depression drugs, impossible to know but important to not ignore that it could be hormones and most of the time by psychologists and medical doctors, perimenopause is not called out as the cause of chronic pain issues, GERD, depression, other things like that. And perimenopause. perimenopause needs to be considered.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:14

Yes. Well, I didn’t know about the good and, yeah. So then we start going through menopause, we transition into menopause. And I understand that everybody’s experience is different. We’re all very unique. When it comes to issues, such as body shape, weight, lifestyle, do they impact on how we go through menopause through that journey?

Nancy Bos  19:47

My understanding is and this is not my area of expertise, but my understanding is that a recent research study came out. That said that women who are heavier have a harder time with the hormone fluctuations through menopause. Yeah. So being lean and fit, and having a very clean diet seems to really pay off through that transition. Yeah. But if you’re in that sandwich generation with to two jobs and two kids, you know, who’s got time to be lean and fit and eat salads all the time?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:19

Yes. Well, I, I am lean. Yes. Bit. And I lead quite a good lifestyle other than some alcohol intake and, and my weaknesses, fries and corn chips. basalt. Yes. But other than that, I, you know, I have a pretty good lifestyle and I take good care of myself. And I didn’t realise that I’ve been through menopause. In all honesty, I await. It was about a year later that I realised I hadn’t had a period for a year. I thought, hmm, I don’t know what the hype was about.

Nancy Bos  21:05

I would say, from what I’ve been hearing the hype is about perimenopause, that for most women, the actual menopause, like whatever. Now, yes. I want to tell my own story, though, about my voice and menopause. But my voice during my 40 so I hit menopause at about 52. And, and by about I mean, like, I think I went seven months without a period. And then I got one. So if that means you have to start the clock over again, stupid. It’s stupid. So anyway, yeah. In my 40s, there were times and you’d alluded to this earlier, when I felt like I couldn’t harmonise anymore. Like I couldn’t find the chord in the in the music that I was hearing. I couldn’t figure out what part I was supposed to sing. And Heaven forbid that it was a really hard harmony. There wasn’t a chance I was going to get it. And I felt like an idiot. I felt like a fraud. Like, have I been a bad singer all along? I’ve I’ve been faking it. Yes, I’ve been faking it. Oh, that that young 16 year old over there is actually way better singer than I am. And I’ve only been doing it for, you know, 40 years. And it turns out that is a common story for women and perimenopause, that they go through a time when they struggle with matching pitch, or they’re chronically flat, or just comes and goes, I should say that’s basically the two they’re either chronically flat, or they have trouble finding the harmonies. And it’ll go on for a month or two or a year. And then it goes away. And I got to say, we have no idea. We have no idea what’s going on there. We’re the first ones to really document that this is happening on a massive scale. Nobody admits it. Right. And so so there we go. That’s the big question mark. But the other thing with my voice besides doing this harmony problem was that in the in the summer in August, I received the auditoria that I was going to be singing for Christmas over a small orchestra with a choir. And I was preparing for it. My voice was doing great. I had never sung better like this is the voice I had always wish for I think I was 50 years old. And it’s like holy cow. This is what a magical This was classical. Right? And it’s just Oh, filling up the church was sound. And my conductor was of course, thrilled. By October, my voice started to decline. By November, my breath capacity had reduced to the point that I had to breathe. Yeah, I probably had to bra 10% more often. I wasn’t as loud, I could no longer project over the pit orchestra. And thankfully, I was writing the book. And so I knew Oh, oh, this is this is hormones. Because my technique hadn’t changed my food engine, nothing had changed. Just my voice was getting smaller. And so I told my very gracious director, he said, no problem. We got you. That’s that encouragement, right? Not judgement, but encouragement. And so that I had a little microphone that was about four feet in front of me. And that projected my sound to the audience over the orchestra. And I felt no shame because I had been graciously received by my conductor. And I knew that this was an oestrogen issue because I had not had my period for four months. So my voice fell off a cliff, just bam, it went from spectacular to she wouldn’t get the solo. Nobody give her a solo, right, just like that. And that was Christmas time. So that was December and within four weeks then I made it into a gynaecologist who prescribed hormone therapy for me. And within a week of taking the hormone therapy, my glorious who even deserves this voice was back, really and that’s all it took for me. So I’m, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a lifer for hormone therapy. I don’t want to go up. Yeah, but my doctor might disagree with me, but I still got three more years before I have to have that fight. So

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:56

Well, I didn’t take any hormone therapy. Yeah. Well, because as I said, By the time it was over, I didn’t realise that was over it was done. But there’s a couple of things that you were talking about that piqued my interest. And I could actually relate to see I’m learning here as we go. That I went to the Conservatorium and started studying vocal pedagogy while I was in going through perimenopause without knowing I was going through perimenopause. And I’ll never forget, bless. Dr. Irene Bartlett was my singing teacher. And we had to do performance. And I’ve had a career that had lasted, like, I was probably into my third decade of my performance career. And I paid off the House side, my child through private school education, like I mean, at one stage, 11 gigs a week, and I was firing. So then I turn up at the con. And we at the first time I sang for Irene, she said, your intonation is flat. And I’ll never forget it.

Nancy Bos  26:15

It must have seemed ridiculous, like, did absolutely. And you’re a fighter. So you’d be like, like, No, no!!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:23

And, and I thought, No, but I actually went into a little bit of an imposter syndrome. Right environment, I thought, when I thought I’ve been singing in front of all these audiences, I’ve never been pitch corrected in a recording studio. told by all the musicians I’ve ever worked with that my pitch was perfect. Why is it that I’m and so then I started to become full of tensions. And I was really uptight in every lesson, because I thought that I was a bad singer. And so then it gets worse and worse and worse. It really knocked my confidence. And that was not Irene spoke. She was telling me the truth. Yeah. And, and so that was one thing was the intonation. But then you talked about vocal fatigue. And that was a thing. I went from being able to do. Five gigs a week, four to five hour calls. A lot of them solo gigs. Wow, you’re struggling through a four hour solo call. That’s a huge drop. Now. Yes. And then you talked about the breadth capacity. And I find that now? Yeah, yeah. And I didn’t know that was a thing.

Nancy Bos  27:41

Doesn’t it make you mad? I don’t know if I want to cry, or I want to yell. But yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:47

I didn’t know this stuff? Like, we know this stuff. Goodness, you’re doing this work? You’re going to save a lot of women? Because, yeah, because the thing is, it’s not just our it’s not just the physical things that we’re going through. But this this stuff messes with our head.

Nancy Bos  28:07

It does. And a lot of women experience brain fog. That seems to be really common. So you’re a professional musician, and you’ve got to you got to memorise your show. And you don’t want to have an iPad in front of you right during your show. But we’ve got really, yeah, can’t remember…

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:22

That’s another thing? Yes. Oh, sorry. There’s another one. Yeah. The one? Yep. 

Nancy Bos  28:29

Not your fault.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:30

No. And then I was scared that I would forget lyrics. So I always had a lyric sheet just to the side, just in case, just in case. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, were 15 years ago. Oh, in denial, I was completely undone. Yeah. And the other interesting thing, and I’m just talking about me here, because if you’re late to your stories, I’m hoping that other women can relate to my stories. You may be able to put some of these pieces together was that I sang in m one. I had a very strong belt voice. I used to because I built it from the time your dinner was the only time I could be loud. It was to belt so keep a primal need. Yes to to use my voice and to be heard. I’ve always Yeah, so I’ve been a belter done it really comfortably my whole life I could belt to it to an E five really easily. And now I find eye fatigue in that register. And and I started when I did go to the con I started to learn to access my M to find I can sing an m two and I’ve gained a whole at least another octave in m two but I don’t fatigue in that. Register. So what’s that about? Is that a hormonal thing?

Nancy Bos  30:04

Yes. Um, the first thing that pops into my mind, is that okay, this Yes, this blew my mind. mucus and saliva are two different things. I kind of always thought they were the same thing. But we have mucus glands. We have saliva glands, right saliva glands are in the mouth mucus is in the throat. If you’ve got women with who the doctors realise that dry mouth, just this tremendously terrible dry Sahara Desert mouth is a menopausal symptom. But we don’t feel dry throat as much right. So if the so the mucus glands definitely produce thicker mucus and less of it as we age. And that’s one of the results of the oestrogen dropping off. And so you literally don’t have enough or the same kind of lubrication on your vocal folds that you had before. So therefore, your vocal folds are working harder and stressing themselves more because they don’t have the grease that they need right. On top of that, once the oestrogen starts to go away, the muscle mass decreases, right? Older women have to lift weights in order to keep that muscle mass, right. And we have to lift weights with our voice. So as as smart as you are about your own voice, my first advice would be to you is get that m one back, and don’t let it go. Because that means that you’re strengthening those muscles. But you might want to use a steamer before you try it. Or you might want to try a product that’s meant to help with that saliva production. You don’t want to just go in and say I’m going to sing and me you know that for a singer. When the voice hurts you don’t do more. Right? You stop. But But yeah, don’t give up on it. It’s a use it or lose it thing. And so unless you want to, it’s not going to come back unless you work on it. Yeah, it might not. Yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:56

yes. And I obviously I don’t do the same amount of singing that I used to as well. It could be a little bit of that. I’ve lost that athleticism.

Nancy Bos  32:05

I’m sure I’m sure the muscle mass is Yeah, changed. And we found that some of our women, their voices got higher as they aged. And we’ve we our theory was that these were women who had demanding talking or m one careers that they retired from, and then that those muscles just got thinner, therefore their voices got higher. And you found that you have more ease in your high range. And we certainly have heard some women talk about that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:37

I’m going to be having classical lessons soon, as part of I’m going to be someone’s guinea pig in their PhD research. So I’m really interested to see how that’s going to go. I’m very excited about it. I’ve never had a classical lesson my whole life. Good. I’m sure it’ll be cool. You’re going to learn your body and new ways. Yeah, yes. Now, another thing that you touched upon was weight gain. Yeah. And there was someone on the news the other day, who was talking about weight gain through menopause. And she was saying it was not a direct hormonal thing. It was something that happened indirectly because of some of the changes that we go through, for example. So if we’re tired, or were highly emotional, that we tend to eat more comfort, comfort food, that or comfort wine. Yes, yeah. Well, they actually said that alcohol was was one of the worst things that we could have. And so what’s your thoughts on that? Do you think that it is a hormonal thing that causes weight gain? Or is everyone different?

Nancy Bos  33:55

It’s it’s very much like what we were talking about with if someone has depression, do they have depression because of sleep? Or a diet or hormones or is it metabolism or what is it is very much the same thing with weight gain. There’s definitely a genetic tendency. Some families of women, you can see that no matter what they are going to grow, and some women genetically, clearly are going to stay lean, doesn’t matter what they they can eat spaghetti, every meal, and they’re going to stay lean. So there is a genetic component. And there is a sleep component and there’s a quality of life component. Can you take the time to eat healthy, but also, there is a hormone component because if that oestrogen is impacting the vocal folds, the way that I’ve talked about then isn’t an impacting the whole body. We have oestrogen receptors in every organ of the body, including our ears, our eyes, our nose, and our guts. And so it when that oestrogen goes away, and the progesterone is wobbling, yeah, it’s gonna change everything.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:57

Yes. So do you know of any body has been through menopause. And their voice has not been impacted at all. I know women who’ve said that, but I don’t have any proof. Okay, so they could be lying. They could be unaware. They could? Yes. Well, there’s a lot of people that live life unaware….

Nancy Bos  35:19

right? For instance, if you’re if you’re a lauretta sweat or somebody who’s just always sung in em on the lower part of the voice, you wouldn’t notice if you lost your C6, right? Because you never knew you had it. And so, yeah, so there’s a lot of women who would just won’t know if their voice has changed.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:38

So is there anything else that you feel that women should know about? Because we’re going to move on to something else? But in wrapping this up? Is there any other message that you would like to share with women? Oh, yeah,

Nancy Bos  35:52

absolutely. You’re not wrong. You didn’t do anything wrong. You haven’t suddenly become a bad singer. There’s answers out there. And it’s worth looking into and start looking into it in your late 30s and early 40s. Before the problems start to hit.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:08

Yes. And also to people stop shaming. Yes. Oh, stop shaming each other. Absolutely. Exactly. And our community is so guilty of that. Not everybody in our singing voice community, but we are very, very shaming

Nancy Bos  36:28

One of the women in the book, she said that when she was a younger singer, she would say, she would think in her head, oh, that woman is awful. Somebody should give her the hook, you know, pull her off the stage. And she was ungenerous, so that when she was in her 60s and 70s, she stopped singing, because she didn’t want to be the woman that should be given a hook. Thankfully, her daughter, yeah, her daughter was a choral director and invited her mom to come on the choir tour. And so her mom started taking voice lessons. And she found that her voice had changed quite a bit, that she was no longer a lyric soprano that she was now a metso soprano, and she could sing torch songs like never before. And so she found a great voice, but it wasn’t the same voice. Yeah. And oh, actually, that’s, that’s the biggest takeaway. We’re all changing, we change. And so the person who thinks that because I was this when I was 18, or 20, somebody told me I was this. We’re going to change, it’s going to it’s going to be different.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:25

Yes. And so what do you up to now see the book and I know that you still continue to talk about the book. And you’re still working with women going through menopause, sharing the message. But what do you is there are a new project that you’re working on?

Nancy Bos  37:45

AbsAbsouletly, thank you for asking. We’re working with my sister, Kathy. And she and I have released a new division of my company called celebrate singing, and celebrate singing started with a conference based on the book in April, that was attended internationally, everybody. And there were people there from New Zealand, to Poland. And they were all learning what we were just talking about, right. And it was so exciting. And and so we’ve turned that into an entire division of the company where we have monthly events, in person retreats, virtual conferences, and we just want to serve these women and help them find their voice and their joy in singing, whether that’s in a small acapella choir or church choir or professional career. We want people to sing and use their voices. So that’s what celebrate singing is all about. So my world just got bigger, because now we’re talking to everyone in the world who sings.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:40

Yes. And that’s where we can thank COVID because we do find all these new ways of reaching people through zoom and through all these different platforms that we probably never thought of before, every week, and we’ve learned that we can do everything virtually. So with with your programme, it does incorporate singing, and it incorporates helping women find their voice.

Nancy Bos  39:06

Yep. We’ll be talking with medical professionals, we’ll be talking with singers. We do things like yoga and meditation and and nutritionist is been involved in our events and, and so it’s it’s lifestyle stuff that empowers women to realise that they’re not at fault, and that there are tools available. So it’s providing that empowerment, providing the community and providing the tools.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:31

Yes. And so I am going to share in the show description, the link to your to your company and everything and anything else that you’d like people to know about will definitely be shared through the show notes. And just wrapping up there’s a couple of things now you have a podcast called every scene. Yes. And and I know that there were 50 episodes in total to 25 episode series. So what was the first series and the second series? And what happened beyond that?

Nancy Bos  40:10

What’s next? Yeah, I’m an admin negligent podcast host. I keep putting out episodes until I’m tired of it. And then I just stopped. But I don’t tell anybody, so shame on me. But the first 25 was me trying to discover why we sing. Why do people feel like they have to sing, and I interviewed guests from everybody from Ingo titsa, who helps people find out more about how we sing and what inspired him, which was fascinating. If you want to know why Ingo Titsa says into singing, that’s a great episode, but to a protest singer to rock and roll singers and opera singers and, and sound engineers and fellow who is in the early days of creating MIDI platforms so that he could help other people sing. And we kind of figured out why people sing. We sing because it’s one of our earliest forms of communication. It happens before speech. It’s how we tell our story. Even without words, we can tell our story through music, right? And people can receive it. And we are built to receive singing. I mean, that’s what Broadway is all about. And so I know why we sing now. So then the second set. Part Two was, why don’t we sing more. And so it’s finding that courage and that reason, it angers me that our culture has become one where only the best are allowed to sing. If you don’t sing like Beyonce just don’t even bother. You know, if that’s where people come in and say, Oh, I can’t sing or I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I hate that phrase. And it comes from comparing themselves to other singers. No, no, no, no, no, no, I live very close to First Peoples Group here in Washington State. And when they get together, everyone sings. And it is not a pretty sound. It’s a community sound. It’s a sound meant to bring them together and to share their pain and their joy. That’s what singing is. Yes. Yeah. So why don’t we do that more? I don’t know. But I’m gonna try to make sure people do.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:13

Maybe your next group of episodes or your next series could be. This is what happens when you do think more.

Nancy Bos  42:23

Talking people into it. That’s what I need. That’s why I’ve quit. It’s like, okay, what’s next? So thank you very much for that

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:28

you could conduct a social experiment. Oh, wait, there you go. I’m liking this. So we come to the last couple of questions. You’ve been very generous with your time. And I think we’re definitely going to split this into two episodes, there’s so much to unpack. What’s the best advice and your greatest piece of advice you would like to share with women today?

Nancy Bos  42:59

Oh, my goodness. That’s it. So this is one where I have to rely on the Spirit to come through me because I haven’t thought about it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:06


Nancy Bos  43:10

Everyone on this planet who’s seeking their purpose, finds that their purpose is to help. Right? And it’s, it’s easy enough to say I want to help other people. But don’t just settle with that. That’ll make you a secretary or a haircut? Or what way are you uniquely empowered to help? Is it to help one person, your role in this life might be to help one person get through this life with more ease? Or maybe it’s to help many, many people like what we’re doing here in this podcast, but look for how you’re here to help what what is your calling?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:53

Well, I just got goose bumps that is so powerful, so so powerful, and so true. So many people waste their gifts.

Nancy Bos  44:05

One person who’s inspired me tremendously is a man who gave his life, career and pastime to another young man who is blind and deaf and has mobility disorders and can’t communicate. And so this, this older gentleman has spent 30 years ushering this other young man through life started with him when he was 10. And now he’s 35. And wow, his his reason for living was to help this other person with ease through their life. And that’s so inspiring to me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:38

That’s incredible. Yeah. So if you could change one thing in the world, Hmm, what would that be? 

Nancy Bos  44:47

Yeah, that would be discrimination. I yes. Yep. Anything, anything where the core of discrimination is judgement. And I wish that there was no such thing as a judgmental person. That was That was just gone.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:02

I have to agree with you there. Yep. Because shaming judging, people don’t realise what they’re doing to other people and how they can destroy lives. Yes, with those two things. Well, Nancy, it’s been such a joy. Oh my gosh. I feel like you’re a sister from another life. 

Nancy Bos  45:24

I agree. If you’ve gotten things out of me that nobody else has, I gotta say. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:30

I’m sorry. What’s the song? Sorry, but not sorry. 

Nancy Bos  45:34

Yeah, sorry, not sorry. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:37

Thank you so much. We wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. I’m sure we’re going to meet so when you are when you do eventually come to Australia. Yes, there’ll be a room at my place. And yes, drink wine on the balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We will definitely do that. And we will share with the listeners everywhere that they can find you and and yes, thank you so so much for your generosity. It’s truly appreciated. 

Nancy Bos  46:07

Thank you. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:09

Take care. Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode have a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow. So you can show up for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this, copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoy listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcasts right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode. And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice. as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time.