I should have been a Spice Girl but now rare condition has left me barely able to speak (although mother-of-two can still SING!)
Rare neurological disorder causes involuntary spasms in the larynx
Singer Lianne Morgan was in the original line-up for the Spice Girls before she was booted out in favour of Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm.
But the mother-of-two has now effectively become Mute Spice, after a rare neurological has left her barely able to speak.
When she was 23 she answered an advert in The Stage looking to create a new girl band and was picked alongside Victoria, Geri, Mel B and Michelle – who would be replaced by Emma.
Wannabe: Lianne today (left) and as an aspiring pop star who impressed during try-outs for the Spice Girls (right)
Just weeks later she was devastated to receive a letter saying she was considered too old for the band, even though she was the same age as Geri.
As she continued a low-key singing career including a stint as lead vocalist on a cruise liner, Lianne had watched in amazement as her former band mates found global success with their own brand of girl power.
‘I’m still flabbergasted that they were picked in the first place when they can’t sing!’ she later told reporters.
After selling more than 70 million records the Spice Girls split in 2001, before reforming in 2007 for a sell-out reunion tour that made them further millions.
Success: The Spice Girls received Brits for best single for ‘Wannabe’ and best video for ‘Say You’ll Be There’ in 1997
Meanwhile Lianne, who was caring for her very ill father, began to display symptoms of a rare neurological condition that has now left her barely able to speak.
She was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia just before Christmas. The condition causes involuntary spasms in the muscles of her larynx when she tries to talk. Amazingly however Lianne is still able to sing.
The 41-year-old, who now works as a singing teacher for children with special needs, said her GP told her it was likely to be stress-related, although a throat specialist said there could be a link to an operation she had on her gall bladder.
‘All the time my voice was getting weaker and weaker,’ she told The Sun.
‘Now it’s jittery and starts and stops. I never know when it might disappear completely.’
Reunion: The Spice Girls earned further millions for a 2007 tour. Meanwhile Lianne began to suffer from a mysterious condition that affected her voice
She said phone conversations could be nightmarish as she is often left moving her lips with no sound coming out.
Mrs Morgan, who lives with her husband Martin, 37, and two sons near Cardiff, doesn’t know if her voice will ever recover. But she hopes to set up a self-help group for fellow sufferers and is also poised to release her first album.
‘Remarkably there’s no trace of it when I sing,’ she said.
Around 70,000 people are estimated to have spasmodic dysphonia in the UK. Faulty signals from the brain cause the vocal muscles to spasm and pull on the body incorrectly strangling the voice.
There is currently no known cure although the NHS reported that 90 per cent are helped by a local injection of botox into the overactive vocal cord muscle. This helps the voice to feel smoother and more fluent for three to five months, although it can cause voice weakness and difficulty swallowing for the first two weeks.
For more information on the condition visit www.dystonia.org.uk