This is a message sent from David’s family to David’s old Official Street Team message board a while back to answer questions from concerned friends and fans as to why David hadn’t ever released a CD after Star Search and also why his performances were limited for an extended period of time from when David was about 13 until he was almost 15 due to the vocal chord problems he was having. Thought some of you might be interested.
When David was on Star Search for a 2nd year in 2004, he arrived in Hollywood at the beginning of the show season with a pretty bad chest cold/bronchitis. He seemed to be getting better though and dealt well with the flem and congestion part of the cold and was able to sing reasonably well for the first 3 weeks he was on the show. However, after the 3rd week or so, the cold symptoms seemed to have cleared up but David was having more and more difficulty hitting higher notes and would fatigue after very short periods of singing.
At first we thought it might just be part of what all young boys go through as they started puberty, but the severity of the symptoms seemed like there was something else wrong. 3 more weeks passed and it was clear that David was having more serious problems now as it was affecting his speaking voice as well. At that point we even considered having David just drop out of the competition as it was now tremendously difficult for him to sing, but he didn’t want to just leave, he wanted to keep trying no matter what.
During the 7th week on the show, we finally went to a highly recommended ENT specialist in Beverly Hills who examined David and said that he didn’t see any flem or cold/bronchitis related side effects, so he would need to do a video scope of David’s vocal chords by running a camera up his nasal cavity and down into his throat so he could see if he could determine further what exactly the problem might be. Once completed, he took everyone into a room to watch the video and sat down with David, his dad and another specialist who he called in due to the unusual findings he noticed in the preview of the video. He commented that the video of the vocal chords definitely showed a physical problem that was not usually seen in young kids. The video was made of the vocal chords vibrating as David spoke as well as briefly singing, and in both instances only one side of David’s vocal chords responded properly. The other side barely moved and when it did, it was not at all in sync with the other one like it was supposed to be. This caused the one side to not have any resistance which made it impossible for the healthy chord to vibrate properly when speaking or sustaining a note when singing. The ENT specialist explained that this was possibly due to a viral infection settling on his chords, and then entered the one side of his chords resulting in “partial paralysis”.
He further explained that this condition is usually only seen in very rare cases, and then usually only in very elderly patients and that he had never seen it before in young kids. Furthermore, he explained that unfortunately there was no medication that he could recommended to help with this problem, that the only solutions were either surgery or possibly “vocal therapy” which means working with a “vocal therapist” doctor and that over time it could hopefully help retrain the problematic vocal chord to help get it to start responding again. This is similar to what happens to a stroke victim when they lose part of their muscle coordination and have to go through therapy to “relearn” how to use their muscles after a stroke attack. There was no guarantee that the vocal therapy would help, but it seemed like the best thing to try at that time in order not to possibly destroy David’s ability to sing in the future.
After serious consideration, we decided to just have faith and try the vocal therapy and hope that it with time would help heal David’s condition. David continued to sing periodically when asked, but had to restrict his singing to only certain songs and usually just performing one song at a time due to the fatigue factor. Over the next year and a half or so, his voice seemed to gradually start working better. About a year ago, David seemed to be regaining his strength and endurance sufficiently that he could start performing again and was able to work up to singing 45-60 minutes at a time without showing any of the prior problems of fatigue or discomfort. At this point, he seems to be feeling great and his voice seems to be better than ever. We feel very fortunate and blessed that David has been able to work through this difficult situation and seems to be ready now to continue sharing his musical talent once again after a difficult last few years.