Hi, I am a 35 yr old man and I have always loved singing. I have sang in several school and church choirs, but have been told many times I do not have a solo voice but a nice pleasant to listen to, near operatic, voice. The problem is none of the choirs I sang in were pro, so no voice training was given and I could not afford lessons. Over the years I have had to just go for it especially with the higher notes. Also I am a smoker but want to give up. I have noticed a more gravelly quality to my voice lately and no longer have the range I did 5 years ago and my voice hurts now after singing just a couple of verses. I know I do not have a future singing but as I enjoy it so much, and can just about afford lessons, I wonder if they would help me now or is it too late? They would just be for enjoyment but if my voice is too damaged is there any point?
No, at 35 it is not too late to study voice - especially if you love singing. Certainly you should quit smoking (easier said than done, I know) and your voice should not hurt when you sing. If you could find a good teacher and take some lessons, he/she should be able to show you how to sing correctly.
If you want peace of mind, you might visit an Eye, Nose & Throat specialist to look at your vocal cords and make sure everything is ok. But if the cords look good you just have fine a teacher who can teach you proper technique.
My teacher and mentor, David Jones, has a CD out that gives great exercises for beginning singers. If you'd like to check it out you can go to his website www.voiceteacher.com
I use those exercises myself (as he does in his teaching, of course). The CD might get you started on the right path..
In any case I hope you will keep singing, especially if you enjoy it so much.
All the best,